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Connecting Concepts of Cultural Landscape and Historic Urban Landscape: The Politics of Similarity

Abstract

This paper projects the concept of cultural landscapes into the realm of urban conservation in the context of the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) paradigm. To do this I take an historical overview of how, during the latter half of the 1980s and early 1990s, academic and professional interest in heritage studies started to embrace the cultural landscape construct. This movement continued through the 2000s with increasing links between theory and practice on urban conservation concerns and the concept of cities as cultural landscapes. In this connection the move in 2011 by UNESCO with the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape is particularly notable. Coincidental were two significant movements. First was increasing questioning of heritage as focusing narrowly on the monuments and sites mentality. Second has been the growing appreciation that urban conservation locking onto separate historic towns or specific parts of cities is counter-productive; it ignores towns and cities as holistic entities isolating historic areas virtually as museum pieces separate from the rest of the urban fabric and lacking sustainability. In contrast HUL with its landscape approach is a process1 that embraces—city-wide—cultural, natural, tangible and intangible, social, economic, visual and experiential aspects of the physical morphology of the city and the image of the city; it underpins the fundamental concept of urban areas as a series of layers through time that link past, present and future as in the construct of cultural landscape.

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Correspondence to Ken Taylor.

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Taylor, K. Connecting Concepts of Cultural Landscape and Historic Urban Landscape: The Politics of Similarity. Built Heritage 2, 53–67 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03545710

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Keywords

  • cultural landscape
  • urban conservation
  • historic urban landscape
  • heritagisation
  • charters
  • values
  • communities