Back to the Future: A Place for Emotional Significance within Urban Conservation? / Oct 31

Join the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design & Planning in discussion with visiting Professor of Urban Studies, Rebecca Madgin, from the University of Glasglow. 

31 October, University of Sydney

The heritage sector has continually evolved its thinking with regards to the value and significance of the historic environment. Largely this has been achieved through seminal interventions such as the Burra Charter which along with international charters such as the Nara Document on Authenticity and the Quebec Declaration and national strategies including Our Place in Time (Scotland, 2014) have shifted thinking around why the past matters.

Within this context, the categories of age, historic, and architectural interest have retained their beacon status of irrefutable objectivity and as such sit at the heart of heritage designation in the UK. These categories have assumed this status as a result of the continual reinforcement of a set of normative values that privilege material fabric. This talk argues that whilst these categories are undeniably central to designation and management strategies we have neglected one of the most powerful and important elements of why the past matters: emotional significance.

Understanding why historic buildings provoke such strong emotional responses and how they are used to sustain and create emotional attachments between people and place is, this talk argues, key to managing the future of the urban past.

This talk will explore two questions: 1. How do people form emotional attachments to historic places? and 2. To what extent can these attachments influence urban planning policies and heritage conservation strategies? To achieve this the talk draws on the findings of a two-year AHRC Leadership Fellows project which examined the type, nature and intensity of emotional attachments to a range of historic urban places across the UK.

Event details:

Date: Thursday 31 October
Time: 6.00pm, refreshments from 5.30pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre 250, Level 2, Wilkinson Building, University of Sydney 2006

About Rebecca Madgin

Rebecca Madgin is Professor of Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow. Rebecca is an urban historian who works broadly on the relationship between heritage and place-making. More specifically, Rebecca’s research examines the emotional and economic values of heritage in the context of urban redevelopment initiatives and she has published work on examples of heritage-led redevelopment initiatives in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries using examples drawn from the UK, Europe and China.

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