Globalisation and Heritage Conservation

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Nowadays, people are awared of the importance of saving and protecting cultural monuments throughout the world, or architectural heritage in other words.

Conserving historic architecture and sites is the only way of making valuable benefits of the built environment which draws attention of architects, landscape architects as well as urban planners, and other cultivations that depend on the protection of heritage, for example of archaeologists and artists. Therefore, safeguarding of human made heritage and uncounted actions taken place each day to achieve the accomplishment of conservation are the global involvement that stand for social and cultural values in our living time.

It is hard to imagine the diference of lives of world’s population if there are no historic sites or buildings exist today. What if the Pompeii, Chichen itza, or Notre Dame no longer standed? Think about Athens without Parthenon, Istanbul without Hagia Sophia, and Jerusalem had no Wailing Wall. What if Egypt had no Pyramids? What if China had no Forbidden city and Great Wall? Or Vatican city had no St. Peter’s Cathedral? Beside these famous historic buildings and places, what if the more natural historic buildings that come across into our daily lives are also vanished? It is hard to believe that if everything was new and ordinary by the time change, in consequenses there is nothing we knew about the built environment came before us. So what would be different between past and today?

The answer of these questions is obviously same; the civilisation that we live in today would not exist. Local cultures that inherited these historic monuments therefore would lack of their uniqueness and a sense of achievement. The sense of it’s natural position and region in time is mostly based on historic places, even if they are single buildings, cities or whole countries according to where they are situated. For example of the historic sites and cultures of Rome, Egypt and China helps each itself to understand the local position in time and space.

This dissertation focus on the conservation of siheyuan to ensure for the future of the historic circuitous hutong alleys and siheyuan houses which symbolise the way of life of residents and a real urban status of Beijing. The remaining bits of historic Beijing are extensive value together with an urgency of the protection has been widely admitted. However, there are many challenges toward conservation projects with regard to the detainment of the unique historic urban character while achieving necessary rebirth of an old city. The content will evaluate recent form and legislation that is identifying the old city without give and take the modernity of hastening capital.

Globalisation and heritage conservation

Globalisation is basically an economic process engaged by political and technological change and characterised by increasing international trade and harmonising world finicial systems.

A social theory of globalisation offers a broader definition, suggesting this concept “refers both to the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole.

Roland Robertson

The internationalisation of the world economy has meant that developing countries are both posiively and negatively affected by the involvement of foreign governemnts, transnational coporations and major international financial institutions. These major international financial institutions regulate world trade and promote global economic development, include the World Trading Organisaion, the World Bank and many more. Funds have been channeled into local communities and the living conditions of local populations have been improved, but simultaneously the self-sufficiency of local economies has been challenged and local sociocultural patterns have been changed. Examples in the case of agricultural industry in China, caused deep impacts after become a membership country of WTO; the advantage of low price farming products may lose competitive power for the rise of the prime costs, therefore in some area of the domestic agricutural industry would be suffered by the imports of lower price of foreign products.

Skeptics, however, counter that it is a self serving process orchestrated by the parties who benefit disproportionately from it. Pessimistic views of globalisation see it as uncontrolled modernisation causing massive, dehumanising change along with disorientation and disruption. The more specific of these views is exemplified by American political scientist and professor Samuel P. Huntington in “The Clash of Civilisations?” in which he writes that current economic and political processes are leading the world head into global conflict along cultural fault lines.*

Globalisation and encroachment of Western culture and values have created a threat, both real and perceived, to communities that feel their artistic and cultural traditions are at risk, even though these changes are more often embraced voluntarily than as the result of forced acculturation.* The concern is not just that traditional ways and customs, ranging from agricultural practise and regional cuisines to traditional music and manners of dress will change; the values, lifestyles and histories they represent will be lost or obliterated. For example of the opening Starbucks Café in the Forbidden City, which was famously the most inaccessible place in the world a century ago.

At the same time the globalisation has standardised certain lifestyle elements among many of the world populations, it has also led to an increased awareness of the multiplicity of cultures worldwide and helped individual cultures to recognise their own uniqueness. Result in a better understanding of the culture and heritage of others. This is supported by the British political scientist Mary Kaldor advises,” Globalisation conceals a complex, contradictory process that actually involves both globalisation and localisation, integration and framentation, homogenisation and differentiation.*

What is Architectural Conservation

Aside from the effects of land cultivation, the built environment is the most visible expression of man’s presence on earth. But conceptualising this legacy at a discernible scale is at once both simple and difficult. Although the evidence of constantly changing cultural heritage for conservation and interpretation purposes is a complicated task. Each artifact, building, town, and cultural landscape has a unique story, character and significance that reflect the culture that created it, the time of its birth, and its subsequent history. Correspondingly, each architectural heritage site has its particular conservation challenges.

Conservation of cultural property has been defined as all actions aimed at safeguarding cultural property for the future in oder to study, record, retain, and restore the culturally significant qualities of the object, site, or building with the least possible intervation. Thus, architectural conservation constitutes actions and interests that address the repair, restoration, maintainance, and display of historic buildings and sites as well as their associated accoutrements, such as furnishings and fittings.

Architectural conservation is widely regarded as the predominant activity within the larger and more diverse field of cultural heritage conservation. This field concerned with the documentation and preservation of all forms of human culture, including tangible artifacts such as architecture, archaeological sites, cultural landscapes, art and crafts. In addition, cultural heritage conservation addresses intangible manifestations of human activity, including manners and customs, spiritual practises; musical, crafts,

Preservation means maintaining the fabric of a place in its existing state and regarding deterioration.

Restoration means returning the existing fabric of a place to a known earlier state by removing accretions or by reassembling existing components without the introduction of new material.

Conservation means all the processes of looking after a place so as to retain its cultural significance.

Heritage as a phenomenon

Our built heritage is kept as a wish and became political issues in the later twentieth century. This fundamental roots in UK started in the nineteenth century. And spread over to worldwide in strength after Second World War.

It was an significant counterbalance to the cult of modernism between mid to late twentieth century.

Culture Heritage

In UK, the word “heritage” mostly stands for the aspects of man-made structures, inclusive of buildings and landscape, which have significant history. In other countries this is often named as “cultural heritage”, and it goes far beyond archaeology and historic monuments.

From the process of discovering history has come the realization that the past is only precedes us but also surrounds and shapes us. Across the globe, various social taditions are successful incorporated into modern life and help to shape national identities. On the other field, had also become more broadly inclusive of the earlier years drafted charters, such as the Athens Charter (1931) and the Venice Charter (1964), are being augmented by layers of new text that broaden the framework of professional practice, to include non-Western concepts of living heritages. For example, the Burra Charter and the China Principles.

In East Asia, the spiritual traditions of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and other general respect for ancestors have long fostered an ethic of cultural heritage protection, which has extened the life of the sites. Most of the Eastern cultures have a long history of maintaining and perpetuating memory and traditions associated with historic places, it has been threatened throughout the region as the transformation takes place from traditional forms into modernised building. China is expecting in some respects and the new approaches that work in cultural heritage management have also started to show their results on global heritage conservation.