The historic urban landscape. Managing heritage in an urban century

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  • This article was downloaded by: [Northwestern University]On: 20 December 2014, At: 11:17Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office:Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Planning PerspectivesPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscriptioninformation:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rppe20

    The historic urban landscape. Managingheritage in an urban centuryHeleni Porfyriou aa National Research Council of Italy , Institute for the Conservation andEnhancement of Cultural Heritage , Rome , ItalyPublished online: 05 Mar 2013.

    To cite this article: Heleni Porfyriou (2013) The historic urban landscape. Managing heritage in an urbancentury, Planning Perspectives, 28:2, 323-325, DOI: 10.1080/02665433.2013.774559

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02665433.2013.774559

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  • The urban infrastructural engineer Abbott invented, a process specialist with ecological,social, economic, engineering and design skills, comes very close to an ideal planner, architector landscape architect one would find in early 20th century writings. While his might be a newutopian figure, in practice he can be replaced by different people with different titles, and hismere invention by Abbott, as a key figure in a powerful new development model, can bevery productive and inspiring by itself.

    Kristof Van AsscheWageningen University and Bonn University,

    kristof.vanassche@wur.nl# 2013, Kristof Van Assche

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02665433.2013.774558

    The historic urban landscape. Managing heritage in an urban century, by FrancescoBandarin and Ron van Oers, West Sussex, Wiley-Blackwell, 2012, 236 pp., 59.99 (hardcover).

    Urban conservation in Europe has a long tradition but a short history that goes back to its insti-tutionalization in the 1960s. Yet in the last 50 years, an international conservation movementhas managed to gain ground and play an important role, though at times a controversial role incity development worldwide. One book in particular stands out against this background: TheHistoric Urban Landscape (HUL) by Francesco Bandarin and Ron van Oers, who are bothworking with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. It introduces the HUL as a newUNESCO Recommendation and conservation paradigm integrating conservation, planningand development policies and practices while recognizing the dynamic nature of urbanheritage.

    The great popularization and communication skills of the authors is evident in their capacityfor a concise, yet coherent and appropriate, presentation of major stages and players in thehistory of conservation in the Western world and in their engaging representation of the regionaldiversity of urban heritage (ranging from Salvador de Bahia to Zanzibar or Paramaribo) and ofUNESCOs management plans for World Heritage sites. In this sense, the book is at the sametime a manual for planners and urban conservators and a manifesto for the all-encompassingUNESCO recommendation of the HUL. The HUL, retained as a tool to reinterpret the valuesof urban heritage, is not simply the sum of monuments and urban fabric but a comprehensivesystem marked by historical, geo-morphological and social relationships characterized by acomplex layering of meanings resulting from long-term dynamics, where change is still on-going and needs to be managed and understood.

    Almost 50 out of 230 pages consist in a colourful photographic apparatus, which is ofteneclectically juxtaposed to stress regional diversities of cultural heritage, enriched with uniqueinformation from the World Heritage Committee State of Conservation Reports. The bookalso comprises three annexes on the HUL evolution and almost a whole chapter on internationalConventions and Charters.

    Book reviews 323

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  • The book in its first chapters is a concise, yet vivid description of the development of thedisciplinary discourse from the conservation of monumental structures to the preservation ofentire historic city portions, also encompassing the intangible heritage, and outlines the emer-gence of an international conservation movement along with the development of standard-setting instruments for urban conservation. However, as the authors remind us, while the cul-tural heritage preservation movement was breaking new ground, the world was undergoingprofound changes that have significantly impacted on ways and means of conservation.Chapter three identifies these forces of change globalization, exponential urbanization,new environmental threats, market-driven development, tourist industry growth and theinternal disciplinary changes of the system of meanings and values and examines theirrole in transforming the context of urban conservation, giving rise to the well-known conse-quences of commercialization of space, commoditization of culture and Disneyfication ofheritage.

    How can heritage management operate in todays dynamic urban environment and which arethe new players, approaches and tools? Chapter four seeks to answer these questions by outlin-ing the programmes addressing urban issues of key international organizations such as theWorld Bank, etc. The last two chapters are dedicated to introducing and explaining the HULapproach. Chapter five discusses the sturdy toolkit made available by HUL (comprising regulat-ory systems and community engagement tools as well as technical and financial ones) throughthe presentation of a number of case studies (ranging from Liverpool to Kyoto) showing that, inorder to succeed, urban heritage management needs to include simultaneously a series of theinterdisciplinary tools prescribed.

    Thirty-five years after the adoption of the last UNESCO Recommendation concerning theSafeguarding and Contemporary Role of Historic Areas (passed in Nairobi in 1976), the HULis presented in the last chapter as a tool capable of responding to contemporary changing con-ditions and disciplinary needs. Yet, the HUL is more than this. Through a gradual block-by-block building method, the book aims (and manages) to bridge and reassess the historicaldivide between conservation and development, while recognizing the dynamic nature ofurban heritage and cultural diversity. On these grounds, the book presents the HUL as an inno-vative tool that approaches conservation as management of change. The authors thus sub-stantially (although not explicitly) oppose the classical urban conservation approach, whichthey describe as utopian, with a new conservation paradigm whose aim is to be operationaland multidisciplinary; they contrast the traditional Eurocentric view with the broadly recog-nized regional cultural diversity; the static conservationist understanding of heritage (oftenobscured by debates on authenticity) with the dynamic nature of the urban heritage; theconcept of Historic Area almost exclusively interpreted as the built architectural heritage with the concept of Historic Landscape integrating the built, social and geographicalcontext and layering of meanings. The HUL is presented therefore as the answer thatbridges all these polarities, the synthesis and the solution bringing together urban conservationand the management of the urban process.

    The next decades will show to what extent this new operational tool is in fact a new conser-vation paradigm for an Urban Century (as the title suggests) and to what extent HUL is capableof managing urban preservation and change altogether. But for the time being, we can dispas-sionately recommend that this book becomes the manual not only of professional planners, con-servation officers and managers of heritage sites worldwide, but also of academics and students,

    324 Book reviews

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  • of landscape designers, architects and engineers and of everyone involved in urban conservationand management, because there is no target audience for a book that is at the same time militantand historical.

    Heleni PorfyriouNational Research Council of Italy, Institute for the Conservation and Enhancement of

    Cultural Heritage, Rome, Italyhelpor1@yahoo.it

    # 2013, Heleni Porfyriouhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02665433.2013.774559

    Turkey: modern architectures in history, by Sibel Bozdogan and Esra Akcan, London, Reak-tion Books, 2012, 344 pp., 226 illustrations, 16.95 (paperback)

    Sibel Bozdogan, Professor of Architectural History at Istanbul Bilgi University, and Esra Akcan,Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, have collaborated on this fifth edition of theseries Modern Architectures in History covering Turkey from ca. 1930 to the present. In ninechapters, which are in part thematic and in part chronologic, they aim to cover the major devel-opments in the field. While discussing the case of Turkey, the authors stress that the countryshould not be seen as a closed box, but as part of a global, yet diverse evolution of modern archi-tecture (810). Nonetheless, they also highlight the fact that the country throughout the periodunder study was under pressure to define its identity, and often chose the West as something tomimic or distance oneself from in the process, a dilemma that had its impact on architecture(10, 11).

    In the first chapter, Bozdogan and Akcan state that the rise of modern architecture coincidedwith the founding of the Turkish Republic. Thus, the new elites considered modern architectureas the ideal form to convey the futurist, utopian ideals of the state ideology, Kemalism, i.e. todemonstrate its break with tradition. Once it had pushed aside the Ottoman legacy, i.e. theauto-Orientalist First National Style, the republic embraced modernism in the form ofHerman Jansens zoning plan for Ankara as well as factories, train stations, and dams thatwere to familiarize the Anatolian population with modernity.

    The dilemma of producing internationally recognized architecture and a national sense ofself simultaneously became more acute for buildings closely associated with the state such asgovernment offices and research and education institutions. In the initial phase of the early1930s, Turkey relied mostly on German and Austrian architects, including Ernst Egli,Clemens Holzmeister and Bruno Taut, to produce such ambitious works. Turkish architectsreacted with in part nationalist rhetoric in order to secure their share, resulting in the AnkaraExhibition Hall (19331934) being commissioned to Sevki Balmumcu as the first project ofnational importance designed by a Turk.

    While the authors consider all these projects from the early 1930s as innovative designsreflecting the contemporary state-of-the-art, they deplore the fact that Turkey took a decisiveturn to classicist monumentalism later. Bozdogan and Akcan identify Paul Bonatz as the key

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