A New Perspective on the Production and Evolution of Cultures
Edited by Enrico Bertacchini, Giangiacomo Bravo, Massimo Marrelli and Walter Santagata
Chapter 8: Towards an Institutional Approach of Self-governance on Cultural Heritage
8. Heritage as cultural commons: towards an institutional approach of self-governance Yan Zhang INTRODUCTION 1 World Heritage is a treasured memory for humanity. Their material and cultural value is irreplaceable and irretrievable. For a nation and a people, natural and cultural heritage primarily serves as testimony to a history. Yasuyuki Aoshima1 Cultural heritage helps us to define who we are, building up our cultural identity with both old and new values and interests, by shaping the way we see ourselves and the way others interpret us. Unlike antiquities that are characterized by high mobility, built cultural heritage as historical buildings, monuments and sites has been seriously compromised to symbolize political and social change before the nineteenth century, ranging from a total demolition and rebuilding program in the Chinese capital following a dynasty change, to Le Corbusier’s “Plan Voisin” for the redevelopment of Paris in 1925.2 International consensus on the recognition of cultural heritage was achieved in the Athens Charter, produced by the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) in 1933. Since then, people have begun to appreciate the tremendous importance of heritage to nation-state identity and sense of belonging. After the Second World War, a heated debate about whether to build a new city of Warsaw or reconstruct the old one ended with support for the latter option, and this decision immediately attracted 300 000 citizens back to their city to restore their churches and palaces, inspired by a nationwide wave of patriotism (Diefendorf 1990). Today’s studies on cultural heritage...
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