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Resolving conflict and building consensus in World Heritage Cities

conference contribution
posted on 2016-10-07, 00:00 authored by Chris Johnston
Tensions between local and global values increasingly confront the managers of many heritage places across our diverse region - Asia and the Pacific – and beyond. And cities, as one of the most complex and pressured environments globally, face some of the greatest challenges in integrating complex and layered values into practical heritage and place management strategies.

As cities continue to grow, their cultural and social complexity will inevitably expand, increasing the likelihood of conflict rather than consensus. This paper considers the nature of cities and heritage, the concepts that underpin consensus building and relates them to heritage practice, considering both the tangible and intangible expressions of cultural heritage at both the local or community level and globally. The paper includes consideration of heritage values, the meaning of heritage in the everyday life of individuals and communities, and the importance of heritage as part of ‘future-making’ activity.

A short case study looks at the city of Yangon, Myanmar, where an active heritage dialogue has recently emerged as part of urban planning initiatives designed to address the long-standing decline of the city, its buildings, infrastructure and urban systems. This heritage dialogue appears to counterpoint the grand colonial architecture and cityscape with the importance of importance of neighbourhood and street life, and offers an opportunity to consider how these two distinct strands of heritage concern can be drawn together through participatory processes.

The paper also references another initiative on engaging communities in protected area management and World Heritage stewardship, and concludes with some suggested elements of a collaborative approach, and posing several questions for discussion.



Organization of World Heritage Cities for Asia and the Pacific. Congress (2nd : 2016 : Gyeongju, Republic of Korea)


215 - 226


Organization of World Heritage Cities for Asia and the Pacific


Gyeongju, Republic of Korea

Place of publication

Gyeongju-si, Korea

Start date


End date




Publication classification

EN Other conference paper

Copyright notice

[2016, OWHC-AP]



Title of proceedings

OWHC 2016 : Heritage and community: tools to engage the local communities : Proceedings of the 2nd OWHC Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting of World Heritage Cities Conference Program

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