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An urbanising world

Urbanisation opens up numerous opportunities and dilemmas for the protection and promotion of cultural heritage in urban centres.
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Today we will look into the challenges and opportunities that urbanisation poses to cultural heritage. First of all, it is important to note that over the last 70 years, the pace of urbanisation has rapidly accelerated alongside a significant growth in world population. In 1950, approximately 30% of the world’s population lived in urban areas. In 2014, the percentage has risen to 54, and it is estimated that by 2050, 2/3 of the planet’s population will be urban dwellers. North America is the most urbanised region in the world with 82% of the population living in urban areas, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean, and by Europe.
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But much of the expected urban growth will take place in countries of the developing regions, particularly Africa. Not all urban dwellers live in large metropoles, but one in eight people live in one of the 28 megacities of the planet with more than 10 million inhabitants. It is clear that managing urban areas is one of the most important development challenges of the 21st century, more so as large agglomerations will be situated mainly in low middle-income countries. Urbanisation will surely pose challenges to environmental sustainability and quality of life. Will cities be able to offer their growing populations safe water and sanitation? Will they be able to offer affordable food, housing, transport, work, and education?
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This could also endanger both tangible and intangible heritage. Think of works of art or historical buildings that may be bulldozed to make space for new real housing or office projects. Think of everyday rituals that rural people may abandon when moving to urban areas, as well as the many traditions, clothing, dialects that may be lost to adopt uniformed and standardised codes of dress or ways of speaking. Reinventing heritage in the city or inventing a city heritage can represent a development factor as well as an important way to build a new sense of community. Heritage can, in fact, be a factor of economic growth.
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It can attract tourists, make a city a desirable place to live, because of the services and attractions it offers. The challenges, opportunities and dilemmas that open up for the protection and promotion of cultural heritage in urban centres are numerous. We will delve into some of these challenges, highlighting best practises and posing dilemmas. Stay tuned.

In this video, we look into the challenges and opportunities that urbanization poses to cultural heritage. Learn about the current trends and projections on urbanization around the world and about the issues that it represents for contemporary societies.

Reinventing heritage in the city or inventing a city heritage can represent a development factor as well as an important way to build a new sense of community. The challenges, opportunities, and dilemmas that open up for the protection and promotion of cultural heritage in urban centres are numerous.

In the following steps, we will delve into some of these challenges, highlighting best practices and posing dilemmas.

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Cultural Heritage and the City

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