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Inicio  /  Urban Science  /  Vol: 7 Par: 4 (2023)  /  Artículo

Community Perceptions of the Importance of Heritage Protection Relative to Other Local Government Council Operations

Dirk H. R. Spennemann    


Cultural heritage management at the local government level relies on community participation, mainly interested stakeholders, in the identification, nomination and, in some jurisdictions, the co-evaluation of heritage assets. These are then ?listed,? i.e., included in planning schemes and other development controls. Such inclusion in planning schemes is predicated on the assumption that the local community values its heritage, appreciates its protection and supports local council investment and actions in the matter. This assumption is treated as axiomatic but only very rarely formally tested. Drawing on a community heritage survey in Albury, a regional service center in southern New South Wales (Australia), this paper discusses the perceptions held by the community on the relative importance of heritage protection when compared with the other services offered by council. The findings show that the community ranked cultural and natural heritage places higher than cultural institutions (museums, libraries and theatres). The findings also showed that the community valued cultural and natural heritage more than traditional engineering services, such as roads/footpaths, rubbish removal and even sporting facilities. The survey highlighted intergenerational differences, with cultural heritage places and cultural institutions ranking high only among Generation X and the generations prior (Builders and Baby Boomers). This has clear implications for the present provisioning of heritage services and community education. The paper concludes with an exploration of the long-term implications of the observed intergenerational differences for local government authorities and community development in general.

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