What is heritage? The dilemmas of an urban planner

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Three words: concentration, diversity, centrality are commonly accepted key words defining the city. All the definitions widely discussed in literature elaborate and interpret these three simple words either in the context of physical territory or of social relations and activities. There is, however, one more characteristic of the city significantly present in the definitions, studies and (the most important!) reality, in every day urban life. This is change, transformation, flux. Beaujeu-Garnier and Chabot (1971) note precisely that: „the city is in constant adaptation to the civilizational model; it is in fact a physical expression of this model”. There is therefore no one universal model of the city, there is no one omnipresent urban form. There is a variety of models and forms produced by the different civilizational formations. Metamorphosis of the city can be seen as a process inherently embedded in its very nature. It is evident that constant social transformation has to influence the structure of the city inhabited by this changing society. An important (but not always recognised) fact is that, at least in the long run, nobody can control social evolution. This is why identification and understanding of these powerful developments is so important for urban planners. Technical opportunities are probably amongst the most significant factors determining social change. Both social and technical change are impossible to foresee. Both are impossible to control, regulate or dictate in long periods of time. Both are dynamic. Together they form the foundations of the „civilizational model” described by Beaujeu- Garnier and Chabot.
Sustainability in heritage protected areas : Book of Proceedings of the 5th AESOP European Urban Summer School Tours, France, from 1st – 8th September 2014
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