16 October 2017
How can we balance World Heritage Site protection with the demands of a living, breathing city – or are the two hopelessly incompatible? Is World Heritage status an essential brake on steroidal development, or is it, in the words of the mayor of Liverpool, “just a certificate on the wall”? Variously attacked for leading to the “museumification” of sites, the mass influx of tourists, the displacement of local residents, and for being toothless to enforce protection anyhow, is UNESCO listing fit for purpose, or is it an outmoded hangover from another age?
Oliver Wainwright is the architecture and design critic of the Guardian. Trained as an architect at the University of Cambridge and the Royal College of Art, he worked for a number of practices, including OMA in Rotterdam and muf in London, as well as in strategic urban planning for the mayor of London’s Architecture and Urbanism Unit. He has written extensively on architecture and design for a wide range of publications and is a regular visiting critic and lecturer at architecture schools internationally.