What is Heritage?



According to Robert Hewison (1987, 32), heritage can mean anything you want – it can mean everything or nothing. However, UNESCO (please visit this site) define it as:

Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.

Among natural features counted as World Heritage, the Great Barrier Reef off Eastern Australia, the Amazonian rainforests, and human artefacts like the Great Wall of China and the Egyptian pyramids fall into this category; but of course there are many other famous sites in the world that do not quite match these in scale or perhaps even in importance. This raises immediate issues: how is inclusion determined, and who decides what’s in and what’s out? Who maintains and promotes such places, landscapes or cultures, and to what political, social, environmental and economic ends? What impact do World Heritage inscriptions and related developments have on communities, on regions, nations, or indeed on the actual heritage that is at the focus of the inscriptions?

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