Book on People-Centred Heritage Conservation

James Lesh and Rebecca Madgin’s co-edited book collection on people-centred heritage is now available in paperback. The collection People-Centred Methodologies for Heritage Conservation: Exploring Emotional Attachments to Historic Urban Places has a total of 20 contributors from 8 countries. The chapters explore 13 different case studies at the scales of cities, neighbourhoods and sites. This is an essential text on how to go about people-centred conservation and social value protection.

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This book presents methodological approaches that can help explore the ways in which people develop emotional attachments to historic urban places.

With a focus on the powerful relations that form between people and places, this book uses people-centred methodologies to examine the ways in which emotional attachments can be accessed, researched, interpreted and documented as part of heritage scholarship and management. It demonstrates how a range of different research methods drawn primarily from disciplines across the arts, humanities and social sciences can be used to better understand the cultural values of heritage places. In so doing, the chapters bring together a series of diverse case studies from both established and early-career scholars in Australia, China, Europe, North America and Central America. These case studies outline methods that have been successfully employed to consider attachments between people and historic places in different contexts.

This book advocates a need to shift to a more nuanced understanding of people’s relations to historic places by situating emotional attachments at the core of urban heritage thinking and practice. It offers a practical guide for both academics and industry professionals towards people-centred methodologies for urban heritage conservation.

Table of Contents

1. Exploring Emotional Attachments to Historic Places: Bridging Concept, Practice and Method

Rebecca Madgin and James Lesh

2. Attachment to Older or Historic Places: Relating What We Know From the Perspectives of Phenomenology and Neuroscience

Jeremy Wells

Part 1: Cities and Towns

3. Longing for the Past: Lost Cities on Social Media

Jenny Gregory and Sarah Chambers

4. Lovability: Getting Emotional About Heritage, 

Ursula de JongCristina Garduño Freeman, Beau Beza, Fiona Gray, and Matt Novacevski

5. Emoji as Method: Accessing Emotional Responses to Changing Historic Places 

Rebecca Madgin

Part 2: Neighbourhoods

6. Narrating Places – Blurring Boundaries: Co-Creating Digital Histories of Place

Sarah A. Dowding

7. Living in and loving Leith: Using Ethnography to Explore Place Attachment and Identity Processes

Hannah Garrow

8. Re-Creating Memories of Gulou: Three Temporalities and Emotion

Florence Graezer Bideau and Haiming Yan

9. Visual Research Methodologies and the Heritage of ‘Everyday’ Places 

Steven Cooke and Kristal Buckley

Part 3: Sites

10. Building EGIS (Emotional GIS): A Spatial Investigation of Place Attachment for Urban Historic Environments in Edinburgh, Scotland

Yang Wang

11. Observing Attachment: Understanding Everyday Life, Urban Heritage and Public Space in the Port of Veracruz, Mexico 

Ilkka Törmä and Fernando Gutiérrez

12. It’s Only a Joke If You Don’t Take the Fitness Industry Seriously: Feeling Through the Archive of People’s Relationship to the Early-Twentieth-Century Gym

Kali Myers

13. Making Visible Attachments: Artists as a Lever for Highlighting a Sense of Place and Emotional Attachments to Heritage. Articulating Public Art and Urban Renovation in Porto-Novo (Benin)

Elizabeth Auclair and Elise Garcia

14. Emotional Attachments to Historic Urban Places: Heart-bombing Heritage 

Thompson M. Mayes


  • “The book begins to address questions about how the cultural heritage sector may become more people-centred and capable of identifying people’s essential needs more quickly and clearly by researching emotional ties to history.” – Alicia Orea-Giner in Journal of Heritage Tourism.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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