THE VENICE CHARTER AND CULTURAL LANDSCAPES: Evolution of Heritage Concepts and Conservation Over Time | CARI GOETCHEUS AND NORA MITCHELL
Adopted in 1964, the Venice Charter is considered the philosophical foundation for the field of heritage preservation. Revered, discussed, criticized, and lamented, it, along with its predecessor—the 1931 Athens Charter—has simultaneously influenced national heritage standards around the world and stimulated rich discourse regarding their strengths and their inadequacies. Reflecting on these foundational documents, what cannot be debated is that over time, these charters and associated discussions have inspired heritage preservation specialists worldwide to continually evolve heritage principles. As a result, these standards have become more inclusive of a broader range of cultural values, thus extending the definition of cultural heritage.
This paper provides insights regarding the influence of the Venice Charter, as well as other guidance documents, on the field of cultural landscapes since the late nineteenth century. The discussion highlights contextual events and figures that have influenced values over time, such that the field of cultural heritage has become more broadly inclusive. These influences since the 1964 Venice Charter represent important shifts in heritage concepts and preservation theory, from monument-specific sites to larger landscapes, from local to regional and national scales, and from static fabric to dynamic processes. This evolution has led to both opportunities and challenges for cultural landscape preservation today.
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