How can we view New Town architecture and planning as heritage, and how can we set the research and knowledge agenda for New Town Heritage management in the future? These questions were discussed on the 23rd of March 2018 when the International New Town Institute in Rotterdam hosted the seminar “New Town Heritage: Exploring the Boundaries”.
The seminar brought together an impressive number of Dutch and international experts from the fields of heritage, architecture and project development, who investigated the future of New Towns and New Town history in excursions, panel-discussions and presentations. Teun joined a panel discussion with Anita Blom, expert on Post-war and Post-1965 heritage for the National Heritage Agency, Jouke van der Werf representing the municipal Aesthetics Committee of Almere and Anouk de Wit, director of the Van Eesteren Museum in Amsterdam-West. They discussed the several ways in which people might engage with New Town heritage – for instance by means of events, participatory planning practices or through the use of social media. Heritage management has, as was stated during the panel, developed into a social practice, in which the role of the heritage expert becomes like that of a social worker.
The heritage expert can mediate between what is to be protected and what the public values most. Thus, it is the role of the expert to develop common ground for heritage. The difficult question that remains is how to balance the different roles of experts and authorities with the wishes of different communities and their capacity to value New Town architecture in a historical perspective.
Read the full report of the INTI-conference “New Town Heritage, exploring the boundaries”.