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WH Site Ownership

 
 
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Author Solivagant
Partaker
#1 | Posted: 21 Mar 2009 04:25 | Edited by: Solivagant 
My post about models for operating WHS has led me to consider the issue of who owns them (not always the same).

In particular could I think of any owned by a single "private" individual? The likelihood of this has diminished over the years as sites have tended to get larger and contain more "serial" parts. Also UNESCO (and governments?) are probably not that sympathetic to going to all the bother of inscribing a site which is so owned! Whilst individuals themselves are unlikely to want to face the hassle of UNESCO "compliance" requirements. I suspect that there is even a reluctance by owners to include them as a significant element of a larger inscribed site - I think of a number of examples of modern architecture especially in USA still in the hands of private individuals which i suspect will not get included if/when "their subject" gets inscribed.

There is also the issue of sites owned by Monarchs. In UK at least a fine distinction is maintained between sites owned by the monarch qua monarch and those owned personally. So the Tower of London as a Royal Palace is in theory owned by "The Queen" but I think can reasonably be taken as being owned by "the State".

So - I have only been able to identify Blenheim Palace. This site is owned in total by the Duke of Marlborough. Can this really be the only site of all 878 which is "individually owned"? Are there any other suggestions? If I am correct and such single ownership is quite rare we could perhaps look for 3 to make a Connection?

Other possible ownerhip models I have identified include
a. "The State" - whether National, Provincial or Local - very common
b. "Mixed" - varied individuals, corporations and state bodies - very common and applies to most inscribed towns/cities. Depending on the national approach of the State Party "National Parks" are likely to fit into this or the above category (in UK NPs are not "owned" by the state)
c. Religious bodies - The Catholic Church etc - very common. I am not sure who in practice "owns" Mosques. Can they even be "owned"?
d. Charitable Trusts - These may have been set up specifically to own the site or have a wider "heritage" purpose - e.g. The National Trust in England. I think this is quite common around the world?
d. "Traditional" e.g sites such as Kuk and Richtersveld which are "owned" by the community rather than by a "recognised" constitutional element. Though such elements can receive quasi governmental status i guess - I think of Uluru?
e. "Commercial Corporation". In theory there should be some (and are of course within e.g "Mixed") but I can't think of any site which is owned by a commercial organisation whose prime purpose lies beyond running the site as a "heritage unit". Certainly some potential sites relating to e.g. Scientific developments are so owned and this presentation
http://www.unesco.org.uk/UserFiles/File/Science%20Heritage%2008/Final%20papers/Physic al%20Sciences%20-%20Ellin.pdf
to a UNESCO working party recognized the disincentives faced by commercial organisations in allowing their properties to go forward for inscription.

Any other models???

Author EnsignYoshi
Partaker
#2 | Posted: 21 Mar 2009 16:46 
I could be mistaken, but I believe some of the major townhouses of Victor Horta are in private hands.

Stoclet palace on the tentative list is in hands of the family stoclet.

Author m_m
Partaker
#3 | Posted: 21 Mar 2009 22:59 
i remember that east rennell's inscription on the whs had some issues due to private ownership of some portion of the site.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 22 Mar 2009 10:05 | Edited by: Solivagant 
The East Rennel issue concerned the "Customary Ownership" of the land (What I called, perhaps misleadingly, above :- "Traditional") rather than private ownership issues.
I believe it was the first (1998) site to be inscribed with such ownership because of problems it causes (in some constitutions at least) over what the "State Party" (i.e. the Central government which contracts with UNESCO to abide by the requirements imposed by Inscription) can actually impose upon the site. The Inscription documentation puts the issue succinctly :- "land in Rennell is owned under the traditional customary system. This situation makes it difficult (but not impossible) for national government legislation to be effective in terms of management"
There was indeed a minor revolt in the WHC
"The Delegate of Thailand stated that although he had no doubt about the World Heritage values of the site, he could not support the nomination at this stage, as it did not comply with the requirements of the Operational Guidelines. He noted that customary land tenure does not automatically guarantee effective customary management and that there are no legislative provisions to protect the site from rapid changes such as tourism, which may affect it. He therefore dissociated himself from the Committee's decision."

There was also an associated issue in that ideally the entire island ecosystem would have been inscribed, but the documentation noted that "the local communities in west Rennel are not favourable to being included in the nomination at this time"
Matters were made potentially even worse since "The role of the Provincial Governments within the Solomon islands is unresolved at this time because the Provincial Government Act was repealed by the National Government in 1996".
The documentation pointed out, possibly correctly, that there could actually be good reason to hope that environmental protection of a site might be better ensured by concerned local people than by a far away central government!
This all provides quite a nice insight into the difficulties of pursuing inscription in countries whose constitutions and governmental realities are not those around which UNESCO rules were framed. It also touches on another issue we have recently discussed - the "bullying" of "Western democracies" whilst allowing far more worrying failures in other countries to go unsanctioned. The former is much easier to do!

There have been problems with other Pacific sites re "Customary ownership"
a. Kuk see my review http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/kuk.html for some background on this
b. Chief Roi Mata's Domain - ICOMOS wanted this site deferred for (inter alia) legal protection reasons surrounding the customary ownership - but was overruled

Re other ownership matters
a. Horta Town Houses - yes 3 of the 4 are privately owned - only the "Maison and Atelier Horta" is owned by the Commune in which it stands - so Blenheim palace still remains the only fully privately owned site!
b. Berlin Modernism Housing estates - I checked to see if these were in the hands of property companies (my "Commercial Corporation" example). It appears that 2 of the estates are cooperatively owned whilst the others are/were owned by "companies" (One example is "BauBeCon Immobilien GmbH" - Business Week describes this as "a holding company operating nationwide. It offers property management, construction and building, real estate trading, and urban regeneration services...." - so yes it is a "Commercial Corporation") but these are being "privatised" which I take to mean being sold to owner occupiers.

Author Assif
Partaker
#5 | Posted: 20 Aug 2016 21:15 
As Nan Madol too is under custromary ownership perhaps it is time for us to establish this long awaiting connection. How about:
Kuk, Roi Mata, Nan Madol, Taos Pueblo and East Rennell? Sgaang Gwaii? Any African sites?

Author elsslots
Admin
#6 | Posted: 21 Aug 2016 06:01 
Assif:
connection

I've started it here: http://www.worldheritagesite.org/tags/tag.php?id=1283

Richtersveld is another one.

Author elsslots
Admin
#7 | Posted: 21 Aug 2016 06:11 | Edited by: elsslots 
Here's an interesting study about the ownership of the Canadian WHS with tribal connections (Sgaang Gwaay & Head-Smashed-In)

http://www.kanada-studien.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/03_Susemihl-oe.pdf

Conclusion of this study:
"SGang Gwaay is a remotely located village that is co-managed by the Council of the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada [who is the disputed legal owner] and challenged by access, funding and the decay of the remaining totem poles. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is a popular tourist attraction along the Cowboy Trail of Southern Alberta, visited by thousands of visitors each year, and owned and managed by the Government of Alberta."

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#8 | Posted: 21 Aug 2016 07:58 
Fagus, Corvey and Van Nelle come to mind re private ownership.

Author elsslots
Admin
#9 | Posted: 21 Aug 2016 08:21 
See http://www.worldheritagesite.org/tags/tag.php?id=482 for those we have In Private Ownership.
A few can be moved to Communal Ownership (thinking Fujian Tulou)

Author elsslots
Admin
#10 | Posted: 21 Aug 2016 08:25 
nfmungard:
Corvey

This is mostly owned by the church.

"The ownership is mixed. The westwork, the church, the
forecourt and the graveyard to the south of the church is
owned by the Parish of St Stephanus and Vitus. The area
included in the former monastery district and the buffer
zone belong to the Duke of Ratibor and Prince of Corvey.
The harbour and related buildings are owned by the
Federal Republic of Germany, the railway lines belong to
German Rail, whilst the roads belong to the municipality or
the district authorities"

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#11 | Posted: 21 Aug 2016 08:41 
Forgot We had a connection. Speicherstadt should be included.

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#12 | Posted: 21 Aug 2016 11:23 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Assif:
Taos Pueblo

I do not think Taos Pueblo qualifies since its owned and managed by tribal government, not a private individual or company. Honestly, I think its really not accurate to include any Native/First Nation sites in this connection.

Author elsslots
Admin
#13 | Posted: 21 Aug 2016 11:30 
winterkjm:
Taos Pueblo

We have it under Communal Ownership, I guess that's right?

Individual components of the Pueblo structures may be owned by or assigned to families or individuals but in its entirety, is owned by the community as a whole. ... As such, management is under the Pueblo's governing body that includes the Tribal Council. (see link provided at the connection);

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#14 | Posted: 21 Aug 2016 13:01 | Edited by: winterkjm 
elsslots:
We have it under Communal Ownership, I guess that's right?

Yes, I think this is accurate. I was partially confused by the discussion.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#15 | Posted: 24 Aug 2016 15:16 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Verla Board Mill is owned by the Finnish forest industry company UPM-Kymmene Corporation. See - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UPM_(company)

I have tried to find a "logic" for splitting out joint stock companies (whether private or public) from true "Private" ownership but, as in the case of Stoclet some of these appear to be created for the purpose of tax or inheritance and the number of companies publicly traded on the stock exchange seems quite small (Only UPM??) so, I guess, we leave them all under "Private ownership" for the moment

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