Priceless or Bankrupt: Problems and Prospects from a Built Heritage Conservation Perceptive

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Heritage conservation today is recognised one of the oldest philosophies in the field of built environment aimed at creating a sustainable management system for historic buildings, sites and monuments. At the root of its theory, policies and practices lies the belief that cultural built heritage is a priceless asset. Unfortunately, some argue it is a bankrupt metaphor. The concept of pricelessness has failed persistently to protect places with important historical and cultural values from being demolished by way of neglect. Built assets may frequently receive appropriate listing or other statutory protection until such time as a conflict arises with what are considered the more mainstream values of capitalist societies, generating a tension often relieved, by the desecration and loss of the heritage asset. From this perspective, this paper explores the term priceless in relation to (i) its influence on heritage conservation and changing built environment (ii) how the concept can be employed more synergistically with the behemoth of economic development to achieve a more positive outcome for the community. A critical review of the literature and an empirical analysis of data collected from focus group studies conducted in Australia and Tanzania. It was found that heritage sector stands to lose far more without a paradigm shift that generates a balance between justifying new development at the expense of priceless, irreplaceable built heritage. The paper suggests that heritage practitioners need to more effective methods for assessing the values of cultural built heritage. The originality in this paper is its new perspective on pricelessness in light of understanding the impacts on sustainability in built heritage conservation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationATINER Conference Paper Series
Place of PublicationAthens
PublisherAthens Institute for Education and Research
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)2241-2891
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2019
Event3rd Annual International Symposium on Culture and Civilization - Athens, Greece
Duration: 11 Jun 201814 Jun 2018
Conference number: 3rd (Program) (Abstract Book) (Conference website)


Conference3rd Annual International Symposium on Culture and Civilization
Abbreviated titleATINER
OtherThe Arts & Culture Unit of ATINER is organizing the 3rd Annual International Symposium on Culture and Civilization, 11-14 June 2018, Athens, Greece. This year the symposium will be centered around the themes of History, Conservation, Economics and Tourism. Those four terms, tough they exist in their own right, they are nevertheless inextricably connected by the word culture. Thus, the primary aim of this conference highlights this particular aspect, as it provides a platform for academics, experts, educators and interested public who wish to present their innovative ideas relating to the core theme of culture, but at the same time encompass the most wide-ranging disciplines in the academic world. They include history, cultural heritage, humanities, philosophy, economics, law, sociology, chemistry, biology, architecture, engineering, education, information technology, and the various streams of the performing arts: music, cinema, theatre, books, archives and others connected to the topics in the Symposium title. The Symposium is therefore an interdisciplinary opportunity for everyone to scientifically share and exchange, and consider and compare, their ideas.
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