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Olivier Sykes and Carol Ludwig


The period since the 1960s has been characterised by growing societal concern with urban heritage protection and the development of legislative, fiscal and urban planning instruments that seek to ensure the protection and enhancement of historic buildings and environments. International organisations such as UNESCO and European level documents such as the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) have stressed the cultural and economic value of the ‘wise management of natural and cultural heritage’. Since the 1970s many cities have sought to redefine and regenerate themselves through a revalorisation of their past and the protection and enhancement of their historic urban landscapes. Urban heritage has thus often come to be seen as a component of the territorial capital of places, and often had a symbiotic relationship with the objective of urban regeneration. However, urban heritage is not a static concept and ideas about what constitutes heritage, the value of different historic urban environments, and the contribution they can make to city development and regeneration continue to evolve. This paper reflects on this evolution in the context of the English planning system and illustrates some key trends and issues surrounding urban heritage through a consideration of recent and ongoing heritage related planning episodes in the northern English city of Liverpool.