Infill projects and sustainable land use in heritage zones: how to reconcile competing interest sets

Ewa Stachura

Abstract

Sustainability and heritage are inextricably linked. Heritage conservation helps to build and maintain cultural identity and social cohesion of the city community, especially amongst indigenous residents. Heritage zones in European cities and towns over time have suffered destruction and undesirable urban transitions that alter or remove heritage urban fabric. While architecture and urban heritage aims are generally to promote infill development that retains the integrity of the original structure, communities tend to argue for social values that emphasise the retention of vacant land even if it was originally part of the heritage-built form. Hence, the aim of this paper is to identify city residents’ aspirations in relation to such vacant land and spaces. The paper will investigate the case of Raciborz, a medium-sized city in Southern Poland. It will seek to answer the following questions: 1) Are heritage urban composition and principles of its protection antagonistic to the residents’ aspirations? 2) What are the criteria for classifying and valorising vacant land within a heritage city centre? 3) What is the most appropriate way for city administrations to engage with communities to reconcile competing interest sets? What might be possible educational actions addressed to the communities? In the paper the procedure of identifying and evaluating empty sites in the heritage city centre will be presented as well as the results of survey presenting residents’ ideas of optimal way of use of empty city spaces.


Keywords

infill projects; land use; heritage zones; sustainability; Raciborz

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