The paper aims at highlighting the new reality of urban and architectural heritage. It maintains that the current public claim for heritage protection radically diverges from the original endeavour of protecting national monuments. The significant expansion of heritage goods and the involvement of citizen movements in the decisions about them are two of the most visible aspects of this change. The paper suggests that a renovated idea of heritage is currently needed. This should take into consideration aspects such as its economic value and its connection to the quality of daily life. Defending that urban preservation has turned to be part of planning, the paper foregrounds some of the problems of keeping it as a separate legal and cultural domain. This is exemplified by Latin American reality and some specific cases from Chile. Finally it highlights the positive role of transformation and adaptation in the preservation of heritage.