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The role of decision makers and of the future generations is crucial to the conservation of cultural heritageIn Sväty Jur, the theme of social training was proposed.
Over the years the perception of heritage has changed considerably. The concept of what should be regarded as heritage and should as a consequence be preserved has been widened: from built historic structures and sites, via urban areas, protected rural vernacular settlements, cultural landscapes and cityscapes, cultural routes, gardens and parks to intangible heritage. The age criterion is less and less an determining factor and so structures that still fulfill their original economic function are considered historic in the sense of being of cultural value. Furthermore the concept of national heritage is subject to change. If various ethnic groups are to be included, there is a need to further the understanding of shared cultural heritage.
This has stimulated the awareness that a big part of our everyday environment can be perceived as our heritage, posing new questions as how to treat this heritage:
Is it feasible to protect all manifestations of heritage?
Should this conservation be the same for all? Or are there reasons to make distinctions in their treatments?
Can this be done within a general conservation framework?
How should social and economic interests be weighed against historic and cultural values?
What does this mean for the conservation in principle as well as in practice?
These are primarily questions of policy to be decided according to the “law of the land”. But they have undeniably consequences for the theory and practice of conservation as well as for its ethics. The number of professions and parties/stakeholders and other persons and institutions that have an interest in conservation and its decision making process has grown considerably as well. Education and training should be focused on them too.
Priority should be given to the sensitization of owners, policymakers and the management of decision making bodies concerned with construction and town and country planning. These developments and especially the ability to communicate with a diversity of partners and to deal with different interests, should also be given due attention in the conservation education on all levels. Last but not least the role of future generations is crucial to the conservation of cultural heritage. Not only as the source of future builders, architects, craftsmen, administrators etc, but also as individuals who will decide upon the cultural heritage conservation.