Heritage as Intervention

How can heritage be intervention?

  • What makes heritage a possible form of control/intervention by the government in terms of the physical environment?
  • Self-referential nature of heritage (AHD) which legitimizes heritage buildings.
  • Are there ways to legitimize the existence of migrants in the urban village using heritage buildings?
    • Are there things that they own that can become self-referential and act as a form of control that comes from the migranta community themselves?
  • But does it mean that it also makes necessary the control from the government? Do we want this or do we want things to be not controlled?

The goal:

  • Use heritage to carve out spaces for migrants
  • The final aim is to carve out spaces for migrants and prevent gentrification, not the preservation of heritage buildings for themselves

How do we achieve this goal?

  • It is not about the programme – the programme can be anything. But it is the way that heritage is defined. Can it be defined in a way that focuses heritage on not ownership but on occupation of buildings? Is there to redefine value in heritage? We need to understand that this definition is arbitrary. Then can anything be defined as heritage?
  • What if we define heritage as the present? If the AHD definition of heritage (through material) is a necessary product of the ‘going back to the past’ mentality (think heritage with its roots in the industrialisation and desire for stability amid rapid change), then what kind of mentality could allow for redefinition of heritage as something of the present? What kind of mentality could allow for redefinition of heritage as something that is changing? Then this is a mentality that want changes, a mentality where people would want changes.
  • What is the middle income trap? Does it trap changes too?
    • Graph
    • Can China Avoid the Middle Income Trap?

    • TIMES article
    • So this talks about the widening of the rich and poor income gap and that middle income countries are stuck, literally in the middle. When that happens, does that mean that people would want changes? That people would want to look back at a time when things are changing rapidly, there are opportunities everywhere? (isn’t this the Trump administration?)
  • Does heritage always has to be something that goes back to the past? That there is a sense of nostalgia to heritage? Yes. If it doesn’t look back to the past then it is not heritage? Then there is a separation between material culture and heritage, because really, heritage always has a connotation towards the past, not the present, or the future.
    • Is this definition changeable? Is it really arbitrary?
  • Alternatively, can heritage be something that is continuous? I think that is the question that the author of Uses of Heritage is trying to answer. Is there a way to recognise heritage that is continuous. But about transferring heritage and making that legitimate – all you need is a legitimization?
    • But is an essence of heritage the ownership of heritage – that it is always someone’s heritage. But the definition of that someone is not exclusive. It could belong to a lot of groups of people. (world, nation, city, community, individual). These groups are not exclusive.
  • Then is it about including migrants in urban residents and therefore within the category of the city/community? How do we do that through redefining heritage? Redefining heritage in a way that it belongs to the city. But right now the city does not include migrants. So you cannot really do that.
  • But distributing power to migrants – can  you simply transfer the ownership of heritage to them?
    • Can ownership of heritage be shared?
    • Does ownership = control/power?
  • Very simply the villagers have ownership but do not have power in regards to heritage. Value of heritage is given through ‘experts’ in the field. With this process, villagers are not stakeholders. They are participating in the procedure of heritage management as subjects (either beneficiaries or the controlled).
    • Why do villagers do not have much say in this, even though it is their heritage? They are generally inviting of experts on historical environments, they are proud that their buildings attract attention (self-feeding loop). So in a sense they are giving away control.
  • And that is a method that gathers control in the physical fabric of the urban village.
  • Can we replicate this process with the urban migrants?