Historic Preservation and Heritage Tourism
DOI link for Historic Preservation and Heritage Tourism
Historic Preservation and Heritage Tourism book
Successful downtown redevelopment programs include historic preservation as one key component of the redevelopment strategy. These communities pass ordinances to protect their heritage and use this heritage to market their distinctness to the outside world. In the broadest sense, historic preservation is about preserving, enhancing, and protecting a community’s way of life and history. This includes not only the physical culture of the community such as buildings and artifacts, but also the non-physical elements such as the performing arts. Show me a community with a strong historic preservation ordinance and I will show you a community with a strong cultural heritage! Communities with weak connections to their historic heritage often devolve into generica. Such communities cannot differentiate themselves from others and have no way to market their uniqueness. Because the downtown is where most of a community’s heritage resources are located, attention to protecting and enhancing a community’s heritage translates into a care for the downtown. Resilient downtowns are found in communities that expend significant resources, both human and financial, to protect their heritage. In such communities one typically finds a plethora of public, private, and non-profit organizations that take on the responsibility of heritage protection and ensure the downtown’s health. Such organizations include those formed by the public sector such as landmark and historic preservation commissions, as well as private and non-governmental organizations formed by private citizens that champion heritage preservation as their cause. In resilient downtowns, attention is also given to the symbolic and organizational relationship between heritage preservation organizations and the tourism promotion bodies in the city. Symbolically, the office of the downtown manager, historic preservation, and the convention and visitors’ bureau are located downtown and,
in many cases, in the same building. This facilitates a close, working relationship between the organizations. Organizationally, the downtown development manager, the director of the convention and tourism bureau, the historic preservation officer, officers of nonprofit agencies involved in downtown redevelopment, and heritage preservation staff should all work across organizational borders and serve on one another’s board of directors. This aids in having open communication and information sharing between all organizations. It also ensures that policies and programs reinforce rather than work against each other. Resilient downtowns differ from others in that they follow three fundamental yet profound steps in linking historic preservation to heritage and cultural tourism. The first step is identification and appreciation of their historic and cultural heritage. The value of a historic structure as perceived by these communities goes beyond their market or economic value. It is the intrinsic value of the property that counts. This is in acknowledgement of the fact that using the economic valuation for historic property would render many of them economically indefensible for public investment. As the City of Charlottesville explains with respect to protecting its historic resources:
The value of preservation in Charlottesville can be measured both in qualitative and quantitative terms. Safeguarding the heritage of the City promotes pleasure, education, and a sense of well-being among its citizens. Protecting the city’s unique resources also fosters civic pride, contributes to an understanding of the City’s past, and serves as a guide for future development.