What is it about?

This paper is grounded in a rancorous debate in built-heritage studies concerning heritage policies and the disputes associated with them. Despite the seeming dominance of architectural considerations in decision-making about heritage protection, factual evidence from previous studies shows that not one, but five factors are involved, in differing doses, in the decisionsmade by planning bodies: architecture and design, city-planning, social considerations, economics, and property-related considerations. This paper categorizes each of these elements and frames them in a new conceptual framework. . The framework analyses the five factors from the perspectives of two prisms: support or opposition to heritage protection policies. Through a prominent case-example of Tel Aviv’s conservation plan, we then demonstrate that the new conceptual framework can be utilized to better understand the multifaceted debates – overt or covert – surrounding heritage protection. The case study and the conceptual framework suggest that although urban form and design issues are quite dominant, other non-physical considerations shape the dynamics of conflicts, practices, and policies surrounding heritage protection.

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Why is it important?

The essay flags a variety of issues that come to the fore in heritage disputes. It then moves on to discuss how these issues materialize in real-life conflicts. The conceptual framework developed herein can help preservationists, heritage scholars, and policy-makers to better-understand the root causes of heritage conflicts and to address them.


The essay is part of a larger research project which focuses on heritage disputes in Oregon, Israel, and England. Although the statutory and policy frameworks in these jurisdictions are different, the conflicts pegged to heritage are similar in many jurisdictions around the globe. Therefore, by mapping these conflicts it becomes easier to judge the impact of historic preservation measures and to assess their long-term effect on people, on government, and on the built environment.

Nir Mualam

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Architecture is not everything: a multi-faceted conceptual framework for evaluating heritage protection policies and disputes, International Journal of Cultural Policy, September 2018, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/10286632.2018.1518978.
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