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Place attachment and challenges of historic cities: A qualitative empirical study on heritage values in Cuenca, Ecuador

Gabriela Garcia (Raimond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium) (Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Universidad de Cuenca, Cuenca, Ecuador)
Aziliz Vandesande (Department of Civil Engineering, Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Koenraad van Balen (Civil Engineering, KU Leuven – RLICC, Leuven, Belgium)

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2044-1266

Article publication date: 26 July 2018

Issue publication date: 10 August 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The effect of heritage on place attachment is assessed by understanding how people “value” their heritage environment. In addition, the purpose of this paper is to assess the effects of place attachment on residential and investment trends according to two different social groups: local inhabitants and foreign immigrants.

Design/methodology/approach

A single case study design for Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca including an open-ended survey, combined with Likert-scale analysis. The survey protocol and questions for the respondent groups were structured according to place identity, place dependency and sense of place.

Findings

The analysis bridges the gap between theory and practice and demonstrates interesting similarities as well as differences between both foreign and local respondent groups in terms of the attributes they consider as cultural heritage and their preferences in terms of residential or investment location choice. The research demonstrates that an increased understanding of place attachment as the link between place dependency and sense of place in a specific location can assist in defining effective built heritage policies in favour of local sustainability.

Originality/value

The analysis of place attachment in relation to the origin of respondents revealed different perceptions on the role that a heritage environment might play on attracting or influencing displacement of local inhabitants and foreign immigrants. Based on original empirical data collection in Cuenca, Ecuador, this study identified research lines and actions which should be prioritised for improving management of this World Heritage Site.

Keywords

Citation

Garcia, G., Vandesande, A. and van Balen, K. (2018), "Place attachment and challenges of historic cities: A qualitative empirical study on heritage values in Cuenca, Ecuador", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 387-399. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCHMSD-08-2017-0054

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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