This House Believes Heritage Should Not Last Forever.

Restoration and Urban Renewal


Winter, 06 December 2007.

Britains cities have benefited hugely from the adaptation of historic buildings to form the basis of wide-ranging cultural regeneration strategies. Preservation and innovative re-use can often define the reputation of an enlightened civic authority and its public image, which can promote economic development and create a sense of place. Historic buildings too have the capacity to stimulate land values both by their retention and their demolition.

But what is heritage and who is keen to keep it standing or pull it down? How much of our resources should go into their preservation in an era of promoting sustainable and efficient new building forms? Shouldn’t each generation build their own city based on their values and priorities? What is the economic cost of rehabilitating historic buildings? Are we in danger of making heritage from anything and nothing in order to define one development from another? Are we overlooking our recent architectural heritage in order to suit a popularly defined notion of historic buildings; one dominated by Victorian and Georgian motifs. Is this adversely influencing attitudes towards new developments in existing built up areas and stifling a new urbanism?


Supporting: Finn Williams and Peter Stewart.
Opposing: Rick Mather and Adam Wilkinson.