Environmental assessment of built heritage areas

O'Sullivan, Robert D. (1995) Environmental assessment of built heritage areas. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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The thesis constructs a spatial method to assess a built heritage area, for conservation and tourism, that weaves environmental and cultural considerations together. The spatial method was constructed in three steps. First, the cultural values that underlay the reasons for conservation and the ideas of quality were identified and named as purpose values and quality values respectively. Reasons associated with traditions were the most common purpose of conservation and the main quality values were story value, authenticity and aesthetics. Second, concepts were formed to categorize data, to assess an area and to assess individual places. Third, a spatial model of environmental assessment was constructed which has two cultural factors of need and knowledge which are brought to the environment by the assessor and two endogenous environmental factors of location and unity. The factor of need implements a purpose value and the factor of knowledge implements those concepts of data and assessment that are relevant to the need. Two sub-models of time and aesthetics were appended to the model to elaborate the factors of location and unity in an assessment for an historical or aesthetic purpose.

The method was used to assess the central commercial area in the historic gold mining city of Charters Towers in north Queensland for two purposes of conservation: a tradition of excellence in achievement and the aesthetic appeal of the outside of the buildings. Next, the model of environmental assessment was used with the contingent valuation survey method in a survey of residents' opinion of the same area and their evaluation of alternative environmental objectives for its conservation. The model's factors provided statistically significant explanations for residents' opinion of the area, their attitude towards a hypothetical heritage authority and their willingness to pay for research and protection of the area. The survey found that residents would pay more for the protection of the area than for the protection of individual buildings they considered important in the area, but the difference was not statistically significant.

The thesis developed four matters of policy to consider after an assessment of an area and before starting an environmental plan for its conservation: the administrative power that is needed to regulate demolition and redevelopment; the administrative principles to use in the preparation of conservation policy; the economic effects of conservation; and design principles for new buildings. The administrative power to conserve a built heritage area was not held by any level of government in Queensland in early 1995. Parts of the research were published in O'Sullivan (1996a, 1996b).

Item ID: 31112
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: built environment; Charters Towers; contingent valuation surveys; cultural values; environmental law; heritage areas; heritage buildings; historic sites
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2014 23:42
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2102 Curatorial and Related Studies > 210202 Heritage and Cultural Conservation @ 20%
12 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 1299 Other Built Environment and Design > 129999 Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified @ 80%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design @ 50%
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