The Production of Heritage

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Urban regeneration is one of the operations through which global cities are tackling the increasing need of housing. Since 2008 redevelopment concentrated on selected urban districts, the reliance on private sector funding favouring 'luxury' developments and a systematic change in property patterns. The most interesting dynamic within this new field of urban exclusivity is the linkage of culture and history to the regeneration process. Heritage is a dominant new rhetoric employed in the marketing of these operations, the use of which engages and usurps political and administrative authorities able to facilitate urban development. The inclusion of the Heritage agenda concerns the restitution of urban legacies, becoming a selective concept which supports exclusive occupation, opening issues of accessibility and spatial democracy. The recurrence and extension of this phenomenon requires us to reflect on political and economic deviations that the promotion of urban legacy generates, both in terms of its spatial consequences but also in the cultural redefinition of who inherits the city. London and Shanghai are observed as case studies of what is now a global phenomenon, and reveal how the ‘production of Heritage’ becomes a regeneration driver supporting the market economy.
heritage, regeneration, neoliberalism, visual rhetoric