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Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage

Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage

Elgar original reference

Edited by Ilde Rizzo and Anna Mignosa

Cultural heritage is a complex and elusive concept, constantly evolving through time, and combining cultural, aesthetic, symbolic, spiritual, historical and economic values. The Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage outlines the contribution of economics to the design and analysis of cultural heritage policies and to addressing issues related to the conservation, management and enhancement of heritage.

Chapter 28: The public sector in the preservation of urban heritage sites: lessons from four cities in Latin America

Eduardo Rojas

Subjects: development studies, tourism, economics and finance, cultural economics, public sector economics, environment, tourism, geography, tourism


Many Latin American cities are endowed with a rich legacy of buildings, public spaces, and urban structure (or combinations thereof), referred to herein as the ‘urban heritage.’ In these cities, pre-Columbian monuments and structures are interspersed with government buildings, churches, convents, hospitals, military installations and defensive walls built during the colonial period that are often refined examples of Baroque or Neoclassical architecture and of the military engineering of the period. Private houses, some of which date from the seventeenth century, surround the monumental structures. The urban heritage in Latin America has been enhanced with the addition of public buildings, houses, and various types of industrial architecture typical of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which are increasingly valued by the communities. According to Hardoy and Gutman (1992) this urban heritage falls into four distinct types: (1) historic centres of metropolitan areas and large cities, as in the cases of the Pelourinho, the historic centre of Salvador de Bahia in Brazil or the historic centre of Quito in Ecuador; (2) neighbourhoods of architectural and urban design interest, such as Urca in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil or Chorillos in Lima, Peru; (3) historic cities such as Ouro Preto in Brazil or Antigua in Guatemala; and (4) historic indigenous communities like Ollantaytambo in Peru or Tlalpujahua in Mexico. The cultural and historic importance of this heritage is widely recognized and 38 historic centres of Latin America are inscribed in the World Heritage List (WHL) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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