At present we have no councillor who is designated with heritage as their specific responsibility, nor has it been discussed in the recent Sheffield Green Commission. Something that is a little ironic given that the councillor present, Jayne Dunn is a Cabinet Member for Environment and recycling. Recycling isn’t only about glass bottles and newspapers. Buildings can be recycled too.
Our heritage is one of the great assets in our city. It is what makes Sheffield unique. Shiny new buildings may seem the best way to indicate a modern progressive city, but this is an outdated concept. Modern thinking has realised there is an economic advantage in utilising a city historic buildings. Researchers have found that innovation, new products, new services and, new economic growth – flourish best in cities possessing a good stock of historic, distinctive buildings. This is why organisations like the World Bank are encouraging investment in heritage. Sheffield has over 1’000 listed buildings.
People prefer shopping in an area with character. As more shopping is done online and large retailers are finding it hard to be viable on the high street, research indicates that shoppers are seeking a “Grand Day Out” with leisure, catering and retailing found together. Experts agree there needs to be more special retail hubs like the Sharrow Antique Quarter, and the Devonshire Quarter who have a strong historic character and a mix of retail, living accommodation, creative industry and leisure.
Modern conference organisers look for cities with a distinctive character. Universities attract students not purely for their academic status, but also the environment students work and live in. It is surely no coincidence that both Universities own a substantial number of listed buildings?
Sheffield industries no longer trek down to London to Trade Fairs to look for the
big bulk buyers. The Internet has produced a different way of doing business. Companies are getting relatively small orders per customer but from a larger number of customers. The need is to produce a strong creative hub within the city because there is often a wide geographical gap between designers and manufacturers. For Sheffield to compete it needs to create a desirable environment for talented people to select Sheffield as the place to live and work.
Older buildings are greener and adaptable and create an atmosphere that encourages creativity. Businesses based in listed buildings are highly productive and make an estimated annual contribution to UK GDP of £47billion and employ approximately 1.4 million people. Heritage is one of the biggest drivers of the UK’s tourism industry, which has estimated to be approximately £85.6 billion. Rather than being a drag on productivity, listed buildings attract businesses in the most productive sectors of the economy.
In Dublin they found that after refurbishing two historic areas that new Hi tech industries moved in. Research has found that knowledge based industries like working in historic buildings. In Poland the industrial town of Lodz redeveloped an old cotton mill mixing residential, retail, cultural and heritage creating 3,500 jobs. In the UK Glasgow by including historic buildings in their regeneration policies they have significantly improved both their image and their economy.
The Castlegate district could be an exciting change in thinking where heritage and modern development
are seen as complimentary. The green corridor, the castle ruins and park, and the renovation of the Old Town Hall, could create a place where people want to live, work, shop, and spend their leisure time. This is the birthplace of Sheffield, and its buildings tell Sheffield’s story. It is important that the area is developed sensitively. Not lose its heritage amongst high rise buildings.
Sheffield needs to embrace modern thinking, and to form a strong partnership between Business, Council, and Community. The old attitude of measuring progress by demolishing the old and replacing with new in a belief that this makes a city marketable needs to change. At present there is no obvious Council strategy re conservation of heritage and urban re-development. The danger is that we will lose assets we cannot replace, and any marketing advantage we have as a unique historic city.
Worldwide there has become an emphasis on investment in Cultural Heritage UNESCO, The World Bank, and the EU sees heritage investment as part of the agenda for inclusive green growth and sustainable development. Heritage investment promotes an efficient model of built assets and land, maximising the benefits of adaptively reusing assets that could otherwise be neglected or underutilized.
A city’s Heritage is a strong selling point. It makes a city distinctive. When there is fierce competition throughout the world a city’s uniqueness gives it the edge. Research find that innovation, new products, new services and, new economic growth – flourish best in cities possessing a good stock of historic, distinctive buildings
To restore an old building is much lower carbon foot print than demolishing an old building and replacing it with a new one. Reusing built assets and regenerating underutilized land in central locations is very much a worldwide agenda
Older buildings are suitable for a huge variety of business use. They have character and colour, so creating the distinctive leisure quarters of cities and an atmosphere that fosters creativity.
- Generates Income
Across the UK, the businesses based in listed buildings are highly productive and make an estimated annual contribution to UK GDP of £47billion and employ approximately 1.4 million people. Culture and heritage are the biggest drivers of the UK’s tourism industry, which was estimated to be worth approximately £85.6 b in 2006, with over 32.6 m overseas visitors in 2007.
- Good for the Community
Heritage anchors people to their roots builds self-esteem, and restores dignity. Identity matters to all vibrant cities and all people. UNESCO, the World Bank and the EU all believe this is an important factor in making a city livable.
Heritage and Tourism Bibliography
Cultural heritage contributes to sustainable growth through merging modernity and tradition, and through a creative combination of the legacy of the past with innovative ideas aimed at shaping the future. Heritage is thus seen as a resource, which not only preserves historic memory but, if used creatively, can also bring various social and economic benefits to a variety of stakeholders. It raises the profile of places making them more competitive in the contemporary world, and serves as a source of inspiration for the contemporary arts and creative industries
Oxford economics The Economic impact of the UK Heritage Tourism economy by Kareen El Beyrouty Andrew Tessler May 2013
The Contribution of Arts and Culture to the National Economy an analysis of the macroeconomic contribution of the arts and culture and of some of their indirect contributions through spillover effects felt in the wider economy. CEBR making business sense…Report for Arts Council England and the National Museums Director’s Council May 2013
EU Tourism industry sub-sectors Country report United Kingdom March 2014
The Social and economic Value of Cultural Heritage; literature review by Cornelia Dumcke and Mikhail Gnedovsky EENC Paper July 2013
Measuring economic impact of CCls policies How to justify investment in cultural and creative assets April 2012 K A European Affairs EU
Cultural Heritage as a socio-economic development factor Archimedes Action to regenerate cities and help innovative Mediterranean Economic Development Enhancing Sustainability
The Economics of Uniqueness Investing in Historic City Cores and Cultural Heritage assets for sustainable development Edited by Guido Licciardi and Rana Armitahmasebi Urban Development Series, The World Bank
The Changing Face of the High Street : Decline and Revival A review of retail and town centre issues in historic areas June 2013
Beyond Retail Redefining the shape and purpose of town centres. November 2013 Taskforce and Hark Group
Unlocking town centre retail developments GVA May 2012
http://www.accessibletourism.org/?i=enat.en.reports.1662 The Purple Pound. Volume and Value of Accessible Tourism in England 2014
New opportunities for the Tourism Market: Senior Tourism and Accessible Tourism. Elisa Alen, Trinidad Dominguez and Nieves Losada University of Vigo Spain. www.intechopen.com