Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Director's Notes - June 1014

Monthly update from EWH Director Adam Wilkinson.

Jun 30, 2014

A recent visit to the Porto World Heritage Site – the last in a series organised by the Interamerican Development Bank and the European Commission – proved again how effective a small organisation such as EWH can be, when working with an incredibly well organised local authority. It is more the rule than the exception.

The original intention of these visits was to support our colleagues in medium sized cities in Latin America, but the reality is that we learned an incredible amount from our European partners:

-          In Venice we saw the not only the impact of mass tourism (24 million visitors a year vs Edinburgh’s 3.7 million) but also what happens when Government makes a city a national priority.

-          In La Laguna we saw what happens when a small organisation like ours is given statutory powers (we’re better off without them) and also how a tram system can move people from their cars.

-          In Malaga we learned how European funding can be accessed to the benefit of the city through very proactive planning, based on a thorough understanding of areas, created through an analysis of over 100 indicators.

-          In Porto we saw an extremely well coordinated and efficiently run local authority working closely with the equivalent of EWH to focus on area based regeneration, with inspiring and sympathetic leadership from the mayor.

Our partners tell us that they learned a great deal from Edinburgh about community involvement in conservation and regeneration, about reconciling the competing interests of the historic environment, business, residents and visitor, and about bringing multiple partners together in projects to produce a wide range of results beyond a building restored.

The challenge for us now is how to ensure all that we have learned does not end up gathering dust on a shelf, but is put to good use. We have our work cut out.

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