This paper examines the tensions between modernisation and heritage protection in the Lao capital, Vientiane. Vientiane provides an interesting case study of the dilemmas facing small cities in developing countries as those countries try to manage the pressures that result from greater integration in regional and global processes of economic and cultural change. While modernisation appears to be winning out over heritage protection, the paper concludes that they are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and that heritage protection in Vientiane is largely aimed at reinforcing monumental and nation-building elements, emphasising the development of a contemporary national capital of a modern nation state.
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