Despite increasing efforts to protect cultural built heritage, destruction continues and impediments to effective heritage management remain. One solution calls for drawing on a broader stakeholder base to minimise barriers to better built heritage conservation. Whilst much remains to be done, there is evidence of enhanced stakeholder co-operation for reforms that could bring broader insights to this discourse.
The objective of this paper is to qualify a new analytical concept entitled community heritage discourse (CHD), as identified in a recent study by Amar (2017). Reflecting on the structures, meanings and processes for consensus, expectations and collective action, the paper addresses theoretical and empirical questions of what is built heritage, which values are significant, who is a stakeholder and their interrelationship with the conservation process.
Employing an empirical approach including a literature review, focus groups and interviews from Australia and Tanzania, this study reveals that built heritage conservation exhibits a complementary dependence on changing landscape and collective memory plus individual attitudes and value systems. This understanding offers a more inclusive framework for the strategic development of heritage conservation plans across various jurisdictions thus generating a new approach to understanding the complex relationship between built heritage and stakeholder perceptions in heritage conservation.
Keywords: Community heritage discourse (CHD), Conservation process, Cultural built heritage, Decision-making, Heritage discourse, Heritage stakeholders