Only when conservation goals become a part of the thinking of each functioning unit within city government will the historic and architectural values of our historic towns be adequately respected. As long as departments concerned with traffic management, for example, may pursue their goals without reference to conservation criteria, then a city's historical and architectural resources will be at risk.

Moving conservation concerns into the decision-making arena within the planning process will usually require a number of parallel or sequential initiatives :

  • public support must be encouraged, and demonstrated, so that heritage issues become an important part of the public agenda;
  • the city's operating master plan and supporting secondary plans should incorporate heritage conservation objectives and goals within their development;
  • the administrative structures of historic cities must do more than admit a heritage conservation function to their activity;
  • they must ensure that each area or department acknowledges conservation as a part of its responsibility;
  • the thrust of conservation policy development should go beyond the boundaries of the "historic district" to look at needs and implications across a city and its surrounding region;
  • an historic city must be prepared to intervene within prevailing market forces to sufficiently defend conservation and other quality of life goals;
  • in this fashion, "appropriate development" - not just "development" - becomes the goal. Public debate in each community may then focus on the criteria which will determine appropriate in its own context.



Effective conservation policies require broad public support. And like any other idea or commodity, the worth of such policies may not be immediately self-evident to all groups without promotional effort. Conservation advocates who wish to see their message achieve higher levels of support may benefit from the analysis that marketing specialists bring to their work : a clear definition of the intended market, and clarification of the intended message.

Whatever our predispositions to the use of marketing techniques to "sell" values, it is evident that marketing specialists have developed a large array of analytical tools and promotional mechanisms to assist them to achieve their goals. These tools may be of great assistance in promoting the heritage message.

Conservation groups, particularly in the western world, have not always managed to imbue their cause with strong appeal. While the environmental cause is couched in a friendly "green", heritage conservation is still perceived by many as a fringe activity. World heritage towns have begun to sell their cause according to sound marketing practices, as a part of the global good, to begin to combat this inadequacy.



Civic governments generally develop internal structures aligned with the particular services they deliver. Department heads, each responsible for a particular set of services, compete with each other for available resources to fulfill their respective mandates. Once heritage conservation is recognized by a civic administration as a legitimate field of endeavour, those responsible are usually housed within a city's planning department, since it is principally through the use of planning mechanisms that cities involve themselves in conservation.

As long as heritage conservation is perceived as a "service", its capacity to influence will be limited by the strength of the particular voices or departments championing its worth in civic debate. Increasing the size of the conservation unit department is therefore not the only means to increase the acceptance of conservation ideas; nor is the creation of special heritage units to co-ordinate conservation activities and goals among departments. Indeed, in the long run, recognizing conservation as a legitimate civic objective, it may be more useful to promote approriate "attitudes" within other departments, as a means of creating a climate in which conservation practices become every-day habits.



Most cities use master plans to suggest the preferred direction of growth and development within a prescribed future time period, and to provide a framework for restricting or channelling development proposals to conform with an overall vision. These are often accompanied by secondary plans which provide greater detail on a sector by sector basis.

But many cities, once having proclaimed their master plans, ignore them in practice. Master plans which provide exemption each time aggressive developments are proposed are of little real value in guiding decision-makers.

Historic cities which take full advantage of the ability of the master plan to guide decisions are likely to accompany such plans with the following :

  • full participation of various interests within a city in development of the master plan;
  • faithful and consistent adherence to the master plan in the face of development review applications;
  • incorporation within the master plan of clearly delineated conservation plans, clarifying zones requiring special treatment, and the nature of that treatment.



Cities do not carry out their functions in isolation. Their working populations are buttressed daily by the influx of those from beyond their borders. Transport, housing, employment - all must be integrated on a local, regional and national basis to ensure adequacy of supply in any one area. Conservation policies are no less in need of integrated approaches to attain their goals.

Cities or towns are generally wary towards the presence of other governments within their boundaries. While appreciating the benefits that come from pooling resources, they are generally reluctant to part with their autonomy. The health of historic quarters in older towns, or in the centres of historic cities is inextricably bound up with policies at all levels of government which may inhibit or support heritage conservation goals.

An example of the need for integrating, rather than opposing, heritage conservation goals is programmes which provide incentives for improving certain aspects of the building stock.Many national governments, for example, attempt to upgrade housing conditions, through preferential interest rates on loans, or direct subsidies. Frequently, it is a community's oldest buildings that may qualify as heritage and be farthest from meeting health and safety standards; without an integrated approach, one or both goals may suffer.

Government policies which support urban heritage conservation are likely to have the following characteristics :

  • a comprehensive approach to land use and development, balancing needs to maintain productive farmland in agricultural use, to accommodate growth in locations which minimize costs of new infrastructure, and to maintain centre city vitality and the value of "sunk" investment in existing buildings and infrastructures;
  • an integrated approach to decision-making, attempting to achieve goals in one area without expense to other areas;
  • support for efficient, convenient and cheap forms of transit which flow workers and consumers to their desired destinations with minimum impact on a city's heritage qualities.



Means to assess appropriate development are not new to planners. For historic towns, the conventional criteria need only be expanded in order to include respect for heritage character, as a key factor in assessing development options. The determination of acceptable options requires assessing their ability to succesfully meet the criteria chosen, and the relative weight assigned each.

The kinds of criteria that planners might include in their analysis would include: permanent jobs created, investment attracted, impact on air quality, infrastructure costs, demonstrated market demand, etc.. A city interested in attracting development appropriate from a heritage conservation perspective will ensure that conservation criteria play an important role in the analysis.