Pier Head group of buildings that form one of the most recognizable waterfront ensembles in the world. In June 2012, the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, placed Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger. This first step could lead to the site being removed from the World Heritage List at a future session of the Committee, as with the precedent of Dresden Elbe Valley: inscribed in 2004, placed on the ‘in danger’ list in 2006, and de-listed in 2009. The June 2012 decision followed Liverpool City Council’s granting of outline
planning consent for a major new development- (known as Liverpool Waters) within and contiguous to the World Heritage Site; and the conclusion reached by the joint UNESCO- ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission in November 2011 that the proposed development would irreversibly damage the outstanding universal value of the UNESCO site (UNESCO, 2011a). The previous UNESCO-ICOMOS mission in October 2006 had concluded that developments already completed since World Heritage inscription in 2004, together with others agreed at the planning stage, would not have an adverse effect on the site’s outstanding universal value (UNESCO, 2006). In the debate that preceded the in-danger listing in 2012, the mayor of Liverpool described the UNESCO status as a ‘plaque on the wall’ (as cited in Bartlett, 2012), one that was dispensable if it interfered with economic development objectives for the city. The mayor is also on the board of directors of Liverpool Vision, an economic development company within the city. This debate has polarized heritage and development objectives for the city, undermining more than a decade of efforts to harness them to common purpose. This paper addresses three questions: • Does this signal an intractable conflict between the two objectives, or a specific failure in this instance? • Where are the interests of heritage protection and contemporary architecture positioned in this dialogue, and has UNESCO illuminated or confused this discourse? • How can the gap be bridged? This paper explores these questions against the complex background of historical and present-day events and influences. Liverpool: The rise and fall of a great port city Liverpool ascendant Liverpool’s development as one of the great port cities of the world began in the second half of the seventeenth century, with the import of cargoes of tobacco and sugar from the colonies in America and the West Indies, and the reciprocal export of manufactured wares from industries in the Midlands and North of England (Sharples, 2004). Through the eighteenth century, Liverpool developed as a major port of exchange in the slave trade between West Africa and the Americas. This trade was abolished in 1807. Throughout the nineteenth and into the twentieth centuries Liverpool prospered as Britain and northern Europe’s foremost trans-Atlantic port for the import of produce and raw materials, export of manufactured goods, and the migration of people to the New World. In its heyday, Liverpool deferred only
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- Summer '20
- Dr joseph
- cultural heritage, World Heritage Site, UNESCO, Liverpool, Liverpool City Council