What is Shared Built Heritage?
ISC SBH focuses on the shared, or mutual, built evidence from around the world.
Since the beginning of mankind, people have created structures which remain today as markers of their former occupation of a place. Many of these markers form the heritage of those places, and as such help us to understand the history of various occupations and its peoples. Architecture is the most visible part of an occupation history, and in many instances has become an essential part of the urban and rural fabric of places around the world.
Occupation of places change over time as people move in and out for many reasons, such as:
- to hunt and collect, and later to farm for food,
- to conquer areas and countries
- to assert power
- to enlarge their living space
- to trade in natural resources and products
- to promote missionary activities.
Most common factors for movement of people arises due to war, deprivation and other socio-economic reasons. Even when a people have left, there remains a rich built heritage to continue to 'tell the story' of their former habitation, administrations, management regimes and various aspects of daily life. Sometimes, a place may exhibit evidence of successive occupations and layers.
With each successive layer, people exchanged and 'share' their differing cultures, skills and experience to create a built expression that maybe become distinctive to a particular place.
Unfortunately sometimes the 'shared' parts of history and heritage may not receive the necessary appreciation by its current population. Sometimes the build environment is a reminder of eras many seek to forget, erase or acts as a reminder of periods of sorrow or foreign administration. Such a trend may be more connected to a generation who experienced or were affected by former administrations. On such occasions the 'shared' heritage may be threatened with destruction and lost for ever.
As time proceeds and new generations are born, the layers of earlier occupations became an essential part of the history of a country and the identity for its people. These former layers thus become 'shared' between the existing peoples and with the earlier culture that brought about their creation.