The purpose of this paper is to initiate a new approach to cultural heritage value through the highly revealing example of Chefchaouen city, Morocco. This study relates to approaching the valuation of cultural heritage per se. It does not evaluate or assess the economic value or the economic impacts of the cultural heritage. It tries to assess and measure the “culturality” of heritage based on local population opinion about urban heritage of the medina. This paper aims at obtaining information about their feeling and perceptions in respect of this heritage which may be useful for people democratic participation in decision making about heritage.
A survey using direct interviews with a sample of lower middle-class citizens coupled with direct administration of a questionnaire is carried out. The medina (but not the city) of Chefchaouen is the basis of the surveys conducted recently. The interviews are centered on the idea of preservation and participation instead of any monetized valuation.
The study has shown that there is a strong commitment of social category to participate in any type of activity leading to preserve the medina because it is their source of living and a source of profound affection. Therefore, this “willingness to preserve” may be seen as a key to define a new variable or attribute to measure the intrinsic value of heritage assets and justify the introduction in the national and international heritage list.
This study should have been achieved with much larger target population and preferably through a funded project destined to preserve work and training. Funding for better experiences is severely lacking.
Local authorities may use this research and be inspired by it new and open dimensions. Serious collaboration between authorities and people should have the most promising results.
Local authorities are more sensitive to population; therefore, they may include them in preservation planning and create employment by using the available funding.
This paper tries to enhance heritage study field at methodological level. It suggests a parameter shift to a more simple approach based on the local population opinion toward their heritage. Decision making about heritage should include people opinions and not people’s wishes.
Boujdad Mkadem, A., Zakriti, A. and Nieuwenhuysen, P. (2018), "Pay or preserve: a new approach to valuing cultural heritage", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 2-16. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCHMSD-11-2014-0040Download as .RIS
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