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EUROPA NOSTRA FORUM 'SAVING EUROPE'S ENDANGERED HERITAGE' - Hugo O'Neill
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EUROPA NOSTRA FORUM 'SAVING EUROPE'S ENDANGERED HERITAGE' - Hugo O'Neill

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A presentation on the unique features, poor condition, recovery and protection, and need of assistance from European institutions in the aforementioned recovery and protection of Portuguese built ...

A presentation on the unique features, poor condition, recovery and protection, and need of assistance from European institutions in the aforementioned recovery and protection of Portuguese built patrimony.

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EUROPA NOSTRA FORUM 'SAVING EUROPE'S ENDANGERED HERITAGE' - Hugo O'Neill EUROPA NOSTRA FORUM 'SAVING EUROPE'S ENDANGERED HERITAGE' - Hugo O'Neill Presentation Transcript

  • The protection of European built patrimony, the tangible memory of Europe, is a duty of governments, culturalauthorities and of owners, hence, ensuring that our citizens mayexercise the right to a vivid learning of their history and to the enjoyment of its beauty.
  • Portuguese built patrimonyis an exceptional part of European culturalheritage as our architecture displays the intimate vision of life that is unique to our people .
  • This is evident in the harmonic proportions and in the human scale of Portuguese houses
  • It is also clearly present in the serenity of our gardens, (greatly enhancedduring the XVI century with the incorporation in their design of mogul India’s water reflections), like we see in these images of Quinta da Bacalhoa e Torres.
  • And is also present in monumentalarchitecture, like for instance therepresentation of the HolyTrinity by triple entwined pillarssupporting the Church of theConvent of Jesus in Setubal.
  • The Provedoria das Obras Reais a the XVI centuryinstitution put in charge of all the crown buildings developed an urban designing method that gave an undeniable national character to the seaports built by the Portuguese around the world. Lisboa, Setúbal, Salvador da Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Luanda.
  • And at the same time a blueprint for the construction of noble houses that kept their harmonic beauty intact untilthe end of the XVIII century in Portugal and after that in Brazil and Portuguese India
  • Unfortunately, apart from a few monuments, churches and houses, thegeneral condition of the Portuguese patrimony is very bad
  • Unfortunately, apart from a few monuments, churches andhouses, the general condition of the Portuguese patrimony is very bad
  • Unfortunately, apart from a few monuments, churches and houses, thegeneral condition of the Portuguese patrimony is very
  • There are, we believe, thousands of houses in a derelict state, including whole historic centers
  • There are, we believe, thousands of houses in a derelict state,
  • There are, we believe, thousands of houses in a derelict state,
  • There are, we believe, thousands of houses in a derelict state,
  • On top of that, many of the surviving buildings had their beauty andelegance disfigured by new unbecoming constructions that were allowed to grow due to improper protection of the surrounding areas.
  • Many others havesimply been pulleddown and replaced
  • - Portugal classification is a too complex process centralized in an improperly staffed institute- The 760 pending classification requests some for more than 20 years, would normally take about 8 years to be finalized.- This problem is not recognized by the government and tends therefore to get worse.- It was announced that the requests left undecided by the 31st December 2012, will simply be archived, leaving more than 600 buildings unreasonably unprotected.
  • view of culture is underlined by the Prime Minister whoThis austeresays that “ the value of culture cannot be measured by the size offunds allocated in the Government Budget” . No doubt thank God!
  • To put the problem in perspective the Netherlands, being half thesize of Portugal has 30 times more classified buildings and sites. Classified Buildings and Sites -Netherlands vs Portugal April 2012 120.000 Total number of classified buildings 100.000 Number of Classified Buildings Municipal monuments 80.000 Provincial monuments 60.000 Protected town and village conservation areas Buildings of public interest 40.000 Listed buildings (national monuments) incuding country estates 20.000 Archeological sites protected through planning procedures 0 Legally protected Archaeological sites Netherlands Portugal Sources: European Heritage Network; IGESPAR
  • - To quantify the problem and find possible solutions, we need urgently a full inventory of classifiable buildings to avoid further irreparable damage done to this imperiled patrimony.- Our association identified 2600 houses that ought to be classified, and estimates that the full inventory of classifiable houses, would count about 15000 others.- A rough estimation tells us that the present cost of recovering the 17000 houses would be around €2.400 million and create 53.000 jobs.- Knowing how successful Netherlands was in developing cultural tourism using its well preserved patrimony, we tried to estimate the impact in Portugal if those classifiable houses were recovered and put to use to develop a Dutch-like cultural tourism activity.
  • Applying to Portugal the Dutch ratios for nights spent by foreign cultural tourists and itsimpact on the balance of payments, we estimate that by implementing, seriously, acultural tourism activity Portugal could generate an extra 3.3 millionnights spent by inbound tourists and benefit from an increase intourism income of roughly €1,200 million. Potential of Cultural Tourism in Portugal 4.000 3.500 3.000 2.500 2.000 1.500 Potential 1.000 Actual 500 0 Thousand Nights Million Euros Cultural tourists (Nights spent) Expenditure (Credit side Balance of Payments) Sources: Eurostat;European Heritage Network; APCA
  • And as mentioned before an overall increase of about 98.000 newjobs:- 45.000 in direct tourism activities;- 53.000 in construction related activities; Job creations estimation 120.000 100.000 80.000 Nr of Jobs 60.000 Tourism employment (Annual) Recovery works 40.000 20.000 0 Total employemnt Sources: Eurostat; APCA
  • We can therefore conclude that the recovery and protection of Portuguesebuilt patrimony is not only of paramount importance for theenhancement of European cultural heritage, but is also an activitythat can seriously contribute to the improvement of the Portugueseeconomic situation.
  • Yet, given the lack of financial resources available at this time in Portugal,the rescue of this unique patrimony can only be achievedwith financial support from European institutions and theactive involvement of Portuguese central and localGovernments, to improve civil services efficiency and to encourage privateowners to classify and preserve their patrimony.As an example of local authorities support I wish to praisedevotion dedicated by the Setubal Municipality to therecovery of its Historical Center. It may in time turn aderelict and nearly empty medieval town into delightfulliving quarters for a young new population, keeping itsancestral charm intact.
  • We suggest that the required financial support should consist of acombination of three alternatives:1. The access by owners of private houses to ERDF funds deployed in Portugal through QREN (the Portuguese acronym for National Strategic Reference Framework),2. An increase in the weight given to built patrimony’s requirements on the various programs coordinated by the Commission for Education Culture, giving precedence in the allocation of funds to the needs of countries with the largest unrepaired classified patrimony;3. Granting long term loans, like the JESSICA initiative, to finance projects that can generate income and be self sustainable in the long run.4. These funds should be run by a committee composed by government and private owners’ representatives operating along guide lines
  • To encourage private owners to classify their housesand open them to the public, we propose that theGovernment considers:1. Allowing the owners of such houses to deduct the costs of maintenance and repairs in their income tax filings,2. Accept the adoption of a reduced VAT rate on the purchase of materials and services needed to maintain those houses.
  • I realize of course that what we are proposing will not be verypopular with our government who is trying hard to get the fiscalbalance under control.Yet, the initial loss of tax income will be amply compensated by VATcharged on the subsequent growth of economic activity and byPrivate Income Tax on new jobs’ and Corporate Tax on newbusinesses.These are anyway urgently needed steps to avoid further irreparable damage done to thisimportant part of European cultural heritage, which have the added merit of contributing, in a selfsustaining way, to our country’s economic growth and employment.
  • I hope to count with the support of Europa Nostra to help us voice these matters through to the decision makers at the European Commission and the Council of Europe Cultural Heritage.