Is the Conservation of the United Kingdom’s Built Heritage Sustainable?

Is the Conservation of the United Kingdom’s Built Heritage Sustainable?

By Michael Brightman

Reinvention: A Journal of Undergraduate Research, Special Issue: British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) 2012

Abstract: With over 20,000 scheduled monuments, 1600 registered parks and gardens, 28 world heritage sites and almost half a million listed buildings, the UK is awash with built heritage of cultural, religious, archaeological and industrial significance, dating from circa 4000BC to the Industrial Revolution and later. How does one put a price on the priceless? What is the cost of protecting and preserving this multitude of homes, castles, industrial buildings and urban social history and, more importantly, is it sustainable? This article considers the economics of built heritage, analyses some of the numbers and talks about some of the multitude of organisations that take an active part in its preservation. The business models of heritage assets are considered, along with how those that face market failure are assisted, if indeed they are, and by whom. The relative paucity of academic literature and research is noted, with suggestions for further study.

Introduction: The United Kingdom’s built heritage is iconic, unique and abundant; this presents a dilemma of what and how to preserve and conserve. Built heritage consists of all aspects of the man-made historic environment including archaeological sites to post-war buildings including designed landscapes, gardens, historic wreck sites and battlefields. The UK’s built heritage comes in many forms from stately homes to castles, theatres to opera houses and churches to cathedrals with an array of industrial heritage such as bridges, aqueducts and mills.

This article considers this wide range of built heritage throughout the UK. All the information contained within is available in the public domain but the questions asked do not appear to be being openly posed.

Click here to read this article from the University of Warwick

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