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Planning for public realm conservation: the case of Portugal’s World Heritage Cities

Cidre, EMP; (2010) Planning for public realm conservation: the case of Portugal’s World Heritage Cities. Doctoral thesis , University of London.

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Abstract

This research aims to understand the relation between urban conservation planning and urban design with particular reference to the public spaces of ‘World Heritage' Cities (WHC) in Portugal. It is concerned with investigating the effectiveness of national conservation policies in Portugal in their ability to conserve and enhance the public realm, whilst making use of a combination of research methods customized to each stage and objective of the research. In order to provide a solid theoretical background for the study of planning for public realm conservation in WHC in Portugal, it was necessary to look into the epistemology of conservation and the construction and development of the heritage concept by reviewing international scholarly debates on conservation, and on public spaces and urban design. This research explores the gradual development of a ‘heritage debate’ at the international level and how a succession of events, charters and recommendations feed into theoretical and public debates to guide the development of the heritage conservation framework in Portugal. To identify and assess the effectiveness of conservation planning on the public realm, it enquired into the role of urban design within the urban conservation planning framework, as space, usually public space, is the object of study of urban design (Cohen, 1999). It became clear that effective legislation, technical organization and national planning (ICOMOS, 1967) are fundamental prerequisites to any official strategy of heritage conservation – something which Portugal lacked for a long time. As in other European cities, the trend has been to focus on public spaces renewal as the 'representation of the process of urban regeneration' (Hubbard, 1996: 1442), and whether this representation reflects the quality of the public realm achieved through urban heritage conservation is a matter for the analytical evaluation undertaken in a selected number of public spaces in Évora, Porto and Guimarães, the three illustrative case study cities of this research. The normative goal of the thesis is, ultimately, to contribute to making recommendations in order to improve the local implementation of national conservation policies, in particular through urban design guidelines that could guide local authorities in planning for the public realm conservation of their historic centres.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Planning for public realm conservation: the case of Portugal’s World Heritage Cities
Event: University of London
Keywords: urban conservation, public space, public realm, world heritage cities
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Planning
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1412637
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