My book Values in Cities: Urban Heritage in Twentieth-Century Australia has been released.
Examining urban heritage in twentieth-century Australia, James Lesh reveals how evolving ideas of value and significance shaped cities and places. Over decades, a growing number of sites and areas were found to be valuable by communities and professionals. Places perceived to have value were often conserved. Places perceived to lack value became subject to modernisation, redevelopment, and renewal. From the 1970s, alongside strengthened activism and legislation, with the innovative Burra Charter (1979), the values-based model emerged for managing the aesthetic, historic, scientific, and social significance of historic environments. Values thus transitioned from an implicit to an overt component of urban, architectural, and planning conservation. The field of conservation became a noted profession and discipline. Conservation also had a broader role in celebrating the Australian nation and in reconciling settler colonialism for the twentieth century. Integrating urban history and heritage studies, this book provides the first longitudinal study of the twentieth-century Australian heritage movement. It advocates for innovative and reflexive modes of heritage practice responsive to urban, social, and environmental imperatives. As the values-based model continues to shape conservation worldwide, this book is an essential reference for researchers, students, and practitioners concerned with the past and future of cities and heritage.
Table of Contents
2. Settler-Colonial Foundations, 1900s–30s
3. The Establishment of the National Trust, 1940s–60s
4. The Modern Field, 1950s–60s
5. The Heritage Movement, 1960s–70s
6. National Estate Visions, 1970s
7. Professionalisation and the Burra Charter, 1970s
8. Frameworks, Tools, Criteria, 1980s–90s
10. Conclusion: The Past and Future of Conservation
Afterword: Sharon Veale
About the Author
Dr James Lesh is an urban historian and Lecturer in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies. His research explores the theory and practice of heritage conservation in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. He has also published widely in Australian urban history.
- Order the Hardback at a 35% discount from the Royal Historical Society of Victoria bookstore: https://www.historyvictoria.org.au/product/values-in-cities-urban-heritage-in-twentieth-century-australia-by-james-lesh/.
- Order the eBook or Hardback from Routledge: https://www.routledge.com/Values-in-Cities-Urban-Heritage-in-Twentieth-Century-Australia/Lesh/p/book/9780367371050. Use code ‘ADC23’ for a 30% discount.
- Read the open access Foreword and Introduction: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/edit/10.4324/9780429352713/values-cities-james-lesh
- Read an extract on the Heritage Mafia (Chapter 9): http://heritage.city/2022/09/14/establishing-australias-heritage-mafia/
- Watch the book launch discussion panel. Coming soon.
- Contact James Lesh to arrange a media interview or public talk about the book: http://jameslesh.au/contact/.
- Shortlisted for the 2023 National Trust of Australia (NSW) Heritage Awards: Resources and Publications.
- “Values in Cities: Urban Heritage in Twentieth Century Australia is a seriously important work.” – Professor Philip Goad, University of Melbourne.
- “James Lesh has provided us with a deeply researched and critical account of a revolution in popular attitudes and professional thinking about Australia’s urban heritage.” – Emeritus Professor Graeme Davison, Monash University.
- “The book is an enjoyable and refreshing read. Its narrative is rich with interesting examples that bring Lesh’s analysis within mind’s reach.” – Emma Dortins in Historia.
- “The book is not only a comprehensive history of heritage conservation in Australia but also a highly engaging read. It will be the benchmark for years to come. Lesh has succeeded magnificently!” – Fiona Gardiner in Fabrications.
- “Lesh should be commended for his expansive scale and the range of research he brings to the task … a beautifully written and passionately argued book, rich in evidence and illustration.” – Ky Gentry in Australian Historical Studies.
- “With cities now no longer part of the national conversation — apart from the housing crisis and never-ending traffic jams — it is refreshing to find a book that places them centre stage. … One of the great strengths of Lesh’s book is his attention to First Nations issues.” – Peter Spearritt in Inside Story.
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