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By Marta de la Torre

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Although full sustainability remains an ideal, sustainability principles have, in practice, been merged with extensive experiences in cultivating public participation. The result is a growing body of practical lessons drawn from the use of sustainability principles. The use of sustainability principles for guiding such complex decisions is the state of the art in the environmental conservation field. There are many parallels between heritage planning/management decisions and environmental decisions: comparable complexities in the systems and processes being managed, diversity and incommensurability of values attributed to the resources being conserved, and political difficulties and power differences among stakeholders, to name a few.

ANALYSIS Interview data are organized by coding all responses, and then content is analyzed by cultural or ethnic group and study question. Transect walks, tours, and interviews are used to produce cultural resource maps for each group. Focus groups determine the extent of cultural knowledge in the community, and they can identify the areas of conflict and disagreement within the community. Mapping, transect walks, individual and expert interviews, and focus groups provide independent bodies of data that can be compared and contrasted, thus improving the validity and reliability of data collected from a relatively small sample.

The operational, applied context of this research is the model process for conservation planning used by the Getty Conservation Institute (see Figure ). This model, which is similar to others employed around the world by conservation agencies and professionals, draws on a collective body of knowledge and experience accumulated over decades of application. . “Value-based management” is the coordinated and structured operation of a heritage site with the primary purpose of protecting the significance of the place as defined by government authorities or other owners, experts, and other citizens or groups with a legitimate interest in the place.

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Assessing the Values of Cultural Heritage by Marta de la Torre


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