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Planning For The Past

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Presented at the Bournemouth University conference on Sustainability, September 2009

Presented at the Bournemouth University conference on Sustainability, September 2009


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  • 1. Sustainable Conservation: The Role of Heritage in Sustainable Development Kae Neustadt, BA, MA Centre for Archaeology, Anthropology and Heritage School of Conservation Sciences Bournemouth University
  • 2. Heritage, History and Archaeology
    • Different meaning to different people, linked by a concern for the past.
    • Little understanding of the differences between preservation, conservation and management.
    • Training in ‘Heritage’ often focuses on museum studies and tourism.
    • Diversity of needs requires both generic and specific skills.
  • 3. Who works in Heritage?
    • Archaeologists
    • Architectural Historians/ Historic Architects
    • Landscape Architects
    • Planners
    • Curators
    • Museum and Tourism specialists
  • 4. What does Heritage have to do with Sustainability?
    • “ Delivering Sustainable Communities by Putting the Historic Environment at the Heart of an Effective Planning System”*
    • Focus for regeneration and economic development
    • Maintenance of local distinctiveness and a sense of place.
    * From Heritage Protections for the 21 st Century (DCMS)
  • 5. Archaeology: Learning and Doing
    • Learning Archaeology
      • Archaeology as Science
        • GIS
        • Chemical analysis
        • Artefact analysis
        • Conservation
      • Archaeology as a Humanity
        • Anthropological archaeology
        • Culture and geography
        • Theory and perception
        • Law, policy and guidance
  • 6. What is Archaeology? Learning and Doing
    • Doing Archaeology
      • Desk-based assessment
      • Geophysical surveys
      • Report writing
      • Planning and management advice
      • Budgets and contracts
      • Communication with non-archaeologists
  • 7. Archaeological Qualifications: Job skills training or liberal education?
    • Most individuals gaining degree qualifications in archaeology will not make a career in the field.
    • “ There is no common or core group of competencies that could be said to be essential for everyone entering the profession”*
    • Should archaeology teach about the past or the present?
    From Archaeology Labour Market Intelligence: Profiling the Profession 2007-2008
  • 8. Heritage: Museums, Art and Artefact
    • Most training in “Heritage” focuses on museum studies, tourism or conservation of materials.
    • Training and coursework in planning limited to those seeking qualifications as ‘planners’
    • Greater need for interdisciplinary approaches to heritage and planning.
  • 9. Conservation and Heritage Planning
    • New PPS15 focuses on plan-making and the incorporation of historic environment evidence within the planning system.
    • Requires a greater understanding of the planning system by heritage professionals and of heritage by planning professionals.
  • 10. Key Issues: Significance
    • PPS15 has “at heart…policies that protect the significance of heritage assets. A clear understanding of significance is therefore central to good decision-making.”*
    • English Heritage’s Conservation Principles provide detail on the concept of significance and its component values.
    • However, significance is also seen as an issue of degree, based on the individual judgement of the person perceiving a particular place.
    • CONFLICT: How to assess and assign significance if it is always subjective and individual?
    *PPS15, 1.6
  • 11. Key Issues: Assessing Impact
    • Impact cannot be assessed without understanding the significance of the heritage asset.
    • Impacts may be positive, negative or neutral.
    • CONFLICTS: Whose ideas of significance get promoted? Who decides what is negative, positive or neutral? How to prevent an all-or-nothing approach?
  • 12. Making Decisions about the Historic Environment
    • Planners who make decisions regarding impacts to the historic environment need an understanding of how heritage assets are evaluated for significance and how impacts can be assessed.
    • Archaeologists and heritage professionals who provide information to planners must understand the types of decisions required and how their expertise will be used to inform those decisions.
    • We can’t leave the decision-making to someone else and expect mutually acceptable solutions.
  • 13. Making it Work
    • Develop processes for identifying significant characteristics of heritage assets and ways in which to evaluate proposed impacts and change.
    • Work together to cross-train for better understanding of both heritage and planning issues.
    • Teach critical thinking, decision-making and communication alongside traditional subjects.
    • Complex resources require complex thinking!
  • 14. THANK YOU