The legacy of Patrick Geddes in India and conservation of shared Indo-Danish Heritage in Serampore as an example of a current approach

Aalund, Flemming (2018) The legacy of Patrick Geddes in India and conservation of shared Indo-Danish Heritage in Serampore as an example of a current approach. In: ICOMOS 19th General Assembly and Scientific Symposium "Heritage and Democracy", 13-14th December 2017, New Delhi, India. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract (in English)

India’s cultural heritage is so complex and overwhelming that the concern for a timely conservation often concentrates on the historic monuments of outstanding importance, leaving less concern for ordinary heritage that otherwise play a vital role in the immediate environment, where people live and work. Often people get so accustomed to the place they are living, that they hardly notice the qualities in the build environment, and due to the increase of population the sheer pressures for improved housing provide a lucrative market for real estate development. The general attitude is possibly relating to the idea that India is a developing country and people are looking to the future only. In this process of modernization there is an imminent risk that historic buildings and heritage values are being irrevocably lost, even before they have been identified, documented and appreciated. Far ahead of his time the Scottish town planner, Patrick Geddes advocated a ‘conservative surgery’ taking point of departure in a civic survey of the whole set of existing conditions. Engaged with planning of eighteen Indian cities between 1915 and 1919 he left an important legacy that remains an underrated source of inspiration for modern city improvement less expensive and productive of more enjoyment. Serampore, previously a small village on the Hooghly River, was in Danish possession for about 100 years from 1755 to 1845. During this time the place developed as a thriving trading post, and more recently it has become an industrial and commercial town that forms part of the greater Kolkata urban conurbation. In a nutshell the town represents all the problems facing conservation of heritage and urban development in India due to rapid population growth, rising land value, poverty and lack of proper sanitation and infrastructure. For about five years the National Museum of Denmark has been concerned with conservation of the Indo-Danish Heritage working in close cooperation with local partners. This presentation explains the context of work and justifies why conservation of heritage can be of great benefit to all concerned.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Aalund, Flemming
Languages: English
Keywords: Stakeholder; development; cultural heritage; India; built environment; participation; Patrick Geddes; Serampore; indo-danish; Denmark; community
Subjects: D.URBANISM > 02. Urban planning
E.CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 09. Social and economic aspects of conservation
H.HERITAGE TYPOLOGIES > 14. Historic urban landscapes
P. GEOGRAPHIC AREAS > 04. Asia and Pacific islands
National Committee: ICOMOS International
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 19th General Assembly, New Delhi, 2017
Depositing User: intern icomos
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2018 08:52
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2019 11:13
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Bandarin, F. and Van Oers, R. (2012). The Historic Urban Landscape: Managing Heritage in an Urban

Century. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Aalund, F. and Rastén, S., (2010). Indo-Danish Heritage Buildings of Serampore.

web.pdf(online accessed October 2017)

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