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US Approach to World Heritage

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Author KSTraveler
Registered
#46 | Posted: 9 Jul 2013 17:43 
I found a couple of interesting documents about the US World Heritage Program that make for a good read

http://www.georgewright.org/us_tentative_list.pdf

http://2001-2009.state.gov/documents/organization/93578.pdf

The article from George Wright states the the US does plan on a multinational nomination with Moravian Bethlehem

Author winterkjm
Registered
#47 | Posted: 10 Jul 2013 04:24 
You can find the Poverty Point nomination file here.

URL

Author winterkjm
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#48 | Posted: 13 Jul 2013 11:12 
Ford's historic Highland Park Plant, possible early stages of consideration for making a world heritage nomination.

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130712/BLOG009/130719919/woodward-group-closer -to-creating-auto-attraction-at-fords-historic#

Author winterkjm
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#49 | Posted: 16 Jul 2013 17:00 
Ford's historic Highland Park Plant, quite a bit of news on the subject. UNESCO designation is a clearly stated goal in the project to transform the historic factory into a "Automobile Heritage Center". Any thoughts?

http://www.tirebusiness.com/article/20130716/NEWS/130719941/historic-ford-plant-close r-to-reopening-as-tourist-attraction

Author winterkjm
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#50 | Posted: 28 Sep 2013 06:49 | Edited by: winterkjm 
*This summarized list is a product of ICOMOS Thematic recommendations, properties that applied in 2007 (properties of future consideration), and the numerous suggestions during the public consultations. The potential nominations very greatly, and while many have little or no chance to be included on the US Tentative list, it is interesting to see the direction the US World Heritage program is headed. I did not include several sites that were extremely national in focus, as well as sites that had no national designation.

Suggestions for the US Tentative List

Properties for Future Consideration

 Gamble House (California)
 Olana State Historic Site (New York)
 Historic Moravian Bethlehem (Pennsylvania)
 Moundville Site (Alabama)
 Eastern State Penitentiary (Pennsylvania)
 Colonial Newport (Connecticut)
 Shaker Sites
 French Creole sites of the Mid-Mississippi Valley
 Underground Railroad Sites

***Suggestions over the last 5 years

Natural

 Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)
 Acadia National Park (Maine)
 Sequoia National Park (California)
 Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument

Native American & Hawaiian

 Navajo Sacred Protective Mountains (New Mexico)
 Sinagua Culture (Arizona)
 Knife River Indian Villages (North Dakota)
 'Iolani Palace (Hawaii)

Colonial

 Castillo de San Marcos National Monument (Florida)
 Danish Colonial properties in the US Virgin Islands
 Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia)
 Colonial Annapolis (Maryland)

Industrial

 Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park (New Jersey)
 Lowell National Historical Park (Michigan)
 Erie Canal (New York)

Historic Core

 Charleston (South Carolina)
 Savannah (Georgia)
 Alexandria (Virginia)
 Santa Fe (New Mexico)
 Miami Art Deco District (Florida)

Science/Innovation & Education

 Thomas Edison Properties (New Jersey)
 Bartram's Garden (Pennsylvania)
 Balboa Park (California)
 Emerald Necklace Parks (Massachusetts)
 Nationality Rooms in Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh

Modern

 First-generation skyscrapers in Chicago (Illinois)
 Golden Gate Bridge (California)
 Chrysler and Empire State Buildings (New York)
 Manhattan Project Sites
 Key works of Mies van der Rohe
 Louis Kahn Buildings
 Louis Sullivan Buildings
 H. H. Richardson Buildings

Cultural Landscape

 Vineyard landscapes: Napa & Sonoma (California)

Author winterkjm
Registered
#51 | Posted: 1 Oct 2013 02:28 
17 UNESCO World Heritage sites (along with 401 total NPS properties) in the US will be closed to ALL visitors indefinitely starting tomorrow. Government shutdown.

Author meltwaterfalls
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#52 | Posted: 1 Oct 2013 10:30 
Government shutdown!

Seems I chose the wrong time to start my road trip. The next 5 days were supposed to be heading to national parks. Looks like a re jig and some more time in Salt Lake City for us then

Author winterkjm
Registered
#53 | Posted: 1 Oct 2013 13:57 | Edited by: winterkjm 
I don't think it will last 5 days, but we will see. Taos Pueblo, Cahokia Mounds, Monticello, and Papahanaumokuakea will not be effected by the shutdown.

Other National Monuments that are run by the BLM or NFS will remain open. Only National Park Service units are closed.

Because closing these 401 NPS units literally costs local communities millions of dollars daily, a government shutdown is unlikely to last long. Some NPS properties may have contingency plans that allow them to be partially open. This means roads within the property could potentially be open, but no visitor centers, trails are closed, and no employees will be available.

Some of the tentative nominations may remain open as well. For example the Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings (at least the majority of the 11 properties) remain open.

Author winterkjm
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#54 | Posted: 27 Oct 2013 16:46 
The United States will likely be given dishonorable discharge from UNESCO in November at the General Conference in Paris. If the membership dues to UNESCO are not paid, the US will take the place Palestine used to inhabit as a nation with observer status.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/27/us-should-pay-its-unesco-dues

Author meltwaterfalls
Registered
#55 | Posted: 28 Oct 2013 06:24 
I particularly like this:

The world's top power is effectively being booted out of the world's top soft power network at a time when soft power is key to global influence in the 21st century....This goes way, way beyond "kumbaya".

Author winterkjm
Registered
#56 | Posted: 28 Oct 2013 10:32 
I wonder if the US Congress can be persuaded to act on this issue. I think it will be another last minute deal. The UN is almost a dirty word for Republicans. With 3 nominations planned for the next 2-3 years, it really endangers the work already completed. And as the article states, the San Antonio Missions expect a moderate economic benefit to the park that equates to a large portion of the membership dues anyway. There are NPS employees advocating in Washington on this issue right now. Hopefully, they are successful.

Author Solivagant
Registered
#57 | Posted: 29 Oct 2013 05:43 | Edited by: Solivagant 
winterkjm:
the San Antonio Missions expect a moderate economic benefit to the park

Actually I thought that argument was the weakest part of the piece - "One study suggests that merely adding the San Antonio missions as a site would generate well over one year's annual US Unesco dues more than $100m in economic development.".

It doesn't state over what period this $100 million in economic development would accrue. The implication is that it would occur each and every year so as to match the annula UNESCO amount. If this is so then presumably they assess the number of extra people who would visit the San Antonio area because of the inscription and multiply this by the amount they would spend on average . So - 500 extra people per day is 182500 "people days". If each spends $400 per day on hotels, meals, entrances etc this is approaching $80 million. But that would not be a net gain for the whole of the US since many of those people would presumably have spent their money somewhere else - apart from all those who were going somewhere other than the US for their vacation and only came at all because of the inscription (in which case of course their entire net spend across the US could be counted) but there would not be many of those I would have thought.

If it is a "one off" from extra investment in hotel rooms/restaurants etc to cope with the increased numbers then it is really irrelevant to the annual UNESCO figure.

In any case the issue isn't about money of course - which is why I find such simplistic comments, which at face value seem unarguably to clinch the issue, actually weaken the case being made!

Regarding the "economic benefits" of inscription - I have never yet seen a convincing case made from a "Western country" with an existing well developed existing tourism industry. UK did a reasonably thorough consultancy study and failed to find anything significant. There may be a "substitution effect" versus other destinations in the country but that is still largely a zero sum game.

Author winterkjm
Registered
#58 | Posted: 30 Oct 2013 00:51 | Edited by: winterkjm 
I assume the only potential economic benefit Unesco inscription would have on US sites would hinge on the general awareness of the property. Example, Statue of Liberty - Yellowstone - Grand Canyon are so well-established must-see tourist destinations, that the Unesco label does little too nothing. That might answer why the US Tentative list is made of relatively lesser known sites, and not the Golden Gate Bridge or several more National Parks.

Now if we focus on more obscure sites in the US or Canada, Unesco listing may offer some moderate economic benefits. Taos Pueblo and Chaco Culture for instance, my assumption is fewer foreign tourists would go out of their way to visit these places. In Canada, the newly inscribed Grand Pre or Red Bay Basque Whaling Station. These are not major tourist destinations, but I suspect Unesco inscription has at the very least increased visitor numbers moderately, no? It is very difficult to judge or presume any "substitution effect". I leave that for another debate.

Concerning the San Antonio Missions. The Alamo is well-known and on nearly every American's must-see list if they were to visit San Antonio. Nearly every American knows at least the name of the Alamo and that its location is in Texas. However, the group of missions as a whole are nearly unknown by the general public, despite there more complete and preserved appearance. Furthermore, the Alamo has no importance contextually contrasted in the minds of US citizens and foreigners. I do not think tourists from France or Vietnam are in a rush to make a trip to the Alamo! Inscription would increase the international awareness of the Spanish Missions in San Antonio, and for a very (very) small group of Americans highlight the fact that the Alamo is just one of a series of important sites in San Antonio. I think there actually could be a moderate economic benefit to San Antonio if the missions are inscribed, mostly by international visitors and greater awareness of the chain of Missions beyond the Alamo.

Lastly, the UK and Western Europe are very different than the US, Canada, or even Australia. The United States takes 50-60 hrs to drive across, no high speed rail and barely any budget airlines to speak of. There are numerous very important historical and natural sites that are completely off the tourist radar for virtually all Americans, not to mention foreigners. Many of these sites might be able to argue "outstanding universal value". Cahokia Mounds, maybe 1 in 10,000 (maybe even less?) Americans have heard of this historic site. Are there any UK WHS's that are so unknown to the general population? I suspect not. Unesco inscription offers a bit of recognition for places like Cahokia, at least to our international visitors.

Author Solivagant
Registered
#59 | Posted: 30 Oct 2013 02:34 | Edited by: Solivagant 
winterkjm:
I think there actually could be a moderate economic benefit to San Antonio if the missions are inscribed.


I accept that this could be the case to some degree for San Antonio itself but that is not the same as saying that the US economy would gain by that amount to offset the "costs" of the UNESCO fees - which was the implication of the argument used in the article. It is perfectly valid for San Antonio to try to improve its local economy by gaining inscription (though even there the impact would probably not be that large for the reasons you cite) but that should not be used (as the article does) to argue that this would in some way be "new money" as far as the US economy is concerned since most of San Antonio's "gain" would be somewhere else's "loss" in the US. The vast majority of those who might go to San Antonio because of its inscription would have done something else on that day/those days and would have spent much the same amount of money (a vacation somewhere else, a trip to the movie, ball game or a restaurant) - thus the US economy itself wouldn't have "grown" as a result of the inscription. Increased "sales" by any organisation/location does not convert to overall growth in the economy at a rate of 100%!!

That is what I meant by a "zero sum game" and "substitution effect".

Author winterkjm
Registered
#60 | Posted: 30 Oct 2013 03:58 
Ok, yeah I understand your point. There are often regional or local benefits, but yes the articles fiscal logic is somewhat lacking on this point.

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