SHIFTING CITIES: Urban Heritage in the 21st Century

This international conference will examine the phenomenon of shifting populations and their connections to urban heritage. Hosted by Rutgers’ Program in Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies (CHAPS), this conference will bring together leading scholars and practitioners from around the world to address the complex and interconnected challenges facing cities and their populations. The overarching goal is to identify new approaches towards working effectively with diverse and dynamic populations as part of current efforts to rethink the meaning and practice of heritage conservation within the “shifting cities” that define urbanism in the 21st century. According to the Getty Conservation Institute, conservation of historic cities is “currently one of the most universally urgent and challenging cultural heritage issues.” As populations grow and migrate and our world becomes increasingly urbanized, socio-economic change, environmental stresses, armed conflict, and the difficulties of continuing traditional forms of use threaten the sense of place and identities in urban communities. A critical rethinking of urban heritage conservation is called for at this time.By bringing together heritage practitioners with scholars and organizations engaged in what would not traditionally be considered “heritage” or “conservation” work (such as social services and public health), Shifting Cities will be a critical step in pointing us forward to new directions and approaches. The conference will include session panels and case studies that explore tangible ways in which practitioners and community organizations have been able to address the challenges of heritage conservation in the face of shifting populations. Two Roundtables, one focusing on the city of Camden, New Jersey and another focusing on armed conflict in the Middle East, will bring together diverse sets of professionals working in each city or region to share experiences and expertise.

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