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Heritage Is An Asset

Author: Joyce M Bullivant

Many of us value our heritage. It gives individuals and communities a sense of continuity and meaning and it creates threads of identity around which people can build relationships and activities of wider value. Without a sense of our history our world becomes bland and forgettable.

However some places, like the City of Sheffield, in the North of England, do not yet seem to value their heritage enough. Despite its international pedigree as the home of social reform, Stainless Steel and the game of football, there has been a tendency to put the past away and to try and tidy everything up: rebuild, forget and move on. For the people of the City this is harmful and for the economy of Sheffield this is self-defeating. Modern cities are increasingly recognising that Heritage adds value:

  1. Competitive edge - a city's Heritage is a strong selling point. It makes a city distinctive. When there is fierce competition throughout the world a city's uniqueness gives it the edge. Research finds that innovation, new products, new services and new economic growth flourish best in cities possessing a good stock of historic, distinctive buildings.
  2. Green development - restoring an old building has a much lower carbon foot print than demolishing an old building and replacing it with a new one. Re-using built assets and regenerating under-utilised land in central locations is done worldwide.
  3. Adaptable space - older buildings are suitable for a huge variety of business use. They have character and colour, so creating the distinctive leisure quarters of cities and an atmosphere that fosters creativity.
  4. Income generation - across the UK, the businesses based in listed buildings are highly productive and make an estimated annual contribution to UK GDP of £47 billion, employing approximately 1.4 million people. Culture and heritage are the biggest drivers of the UK’s tourism industry, which was estimated to be worth approximately £85.6 billion in 2006, with over 32.6 million overseas visitors in 2007.

This discussion paper will be useful to citizens of Sheffield who want to protect the cultural heritage of the City, but it will also offer ideas and information to anyone around the world who wants to help build on the best of the past - not to just leave it behind.

Read and download the free pdf in your browser here.


The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Heritage Is An Asset © Joyce M Bullivant 2018.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

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