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Worlding Heritage: Historic Urban Landscapes and the Conservation Imaginary


This book examines the conservation imaginary as it relates to cities in a globalizing age.  Grounded in extensive fieldwork, archival research, and site analyses, the project presents six case studies that reveal critical dimensions of heritage planning around architectural and urban forms.  It begins from the premise that conservation is a future-making proposition; implicit in the practice of preserving artifacts is the selection of versions of the world to project forward through time.  At stake are conflicts over narratives of the past, land uses in the present, and the right of people to imagine alternatives for the future.


Worlding Heritage addresses basic questions of conservation planning as conceived, practiced, and applied in the context of historic urban landscapes. What values, beliefs, and commitments frame the development of heritage programs in varied urban contexts? How do ideas about heritage both reflect and shape decisions about what is worth saving in cities?  What interests constellate around historic urban landscapes, and how do these interests articulate the heritage of cities?  In what ways do governments, organizations, and international agencies instrumentalize urban heritage through planning, policy, redevelopment, tourism, and other processes? 


The book explores these questions through richly detailed and grounded studies of heritage artifacts in six historic urban landscapes.   The study places these landscapes in their political, cultural, and geographic contexts, detailing the highly local and specific conceptions surrounding built heritage as well as the national and international instruments of conservation that connect them to the wider world.  


1.     Introduction.  Urbanism as Heritage


2.     Wind.  Townscape and Cosmopolis on the Swahili Coast


3.     Water.  Liquid Peril and Promise in Istanbul


4.     Magic.  Planning, Tourism, and Enchantment in Mexico City


5.     Land.  Subtraction in St. Louis as the Heritage of Capitalism


6.     Color.  The Monohromatic Urbanism of Moroccan Cities


7.     Time.  Acceleration and Deceleration in Paris


8.     Conclusion. Heritage and Cities in a Global Age

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