One of the defining characteristics of cities is their spatial complexity. Whereas a monument can be cordoned off so that one passes through a defined entry to gain entrance, the thresholds of cities are inlaid in the very fabric of the city itself, the borders marking transitions without being separate from the very transition that they denote. We are usually conscious of passing from one zone to another - signaled by gates, bridges, or changes in architectural style - yet these elements are not separate from the neighborhood that they announce. In this way of understanding the space of the heritage city as porous and inhabited, the difference between the objectives of preservation and the objectives of heritage study is revealed. Both address a historic entity. But whereas preservation is specifically action oriented and focuses on a historic object usually defined as a monument or place, heritage study is less concerned with the act of preservation than its outcome with respect to social justice, triad of race/class/gender, economics of preservation management and tourism, and issues of identity and difference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOn Location
Subtitle of host publicationHeritage Cities and Sites
EditorsD. Fairchild Ruggles
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781461411086
ISBN (Print)1461411076, 9781461411079
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012


  • cultural heritage
  • historic fabric
  • urban fabric
  • historic monument
  • historic city

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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