Traditional continuity

Parallel to the other trends, the definition and regeneration of values have emerged as fundamental issues in relation to the conservation of cultural heritage seen in an ever-expanding perspective. Since the eighteenth century there has been a growing concern to record authentic sources of folk art and creativity as an expression of cultural identity. Consequently, this has resulted in efforts to safeguard traditional areas and communities and, towards the end of the twentieth century, to guarantee cultural diversity and continuity of living cultures. These policies have evolved parallel to global ecological interests and the question of sustainable development, both of which have emerged as priority issues in international policies in the last decades of the twentieth century.

Previously, the main values associated with cultural heritage were cultural and scientific; with the new trends of globalization these are confronted with the social and economic realities, and the policy of environmentally sustainable development. While the care for historic resources was generally aimed at the re-establishment of a status quo, the shift to safeguarding traditional know-how and living cultures requires the acceptance of change as an essential parameter in the process. The purpose is to define the essence of what is maintained, and the criteria for managing change whether dealing with historic gardens, cities, rural villages, or cultural landscapes; all of these are subject to continuous change even if gradual or seasonal. While recognizing some precedents in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, the methodology for the conservation of historic areas has primarily been developed since the 1950s. Potential actions have resulted in guidelines and international recommendations which are expected to be reflected in planning strategies at the local and national levels.

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