The papers in this panel present an ethnographically-based analysis of particular neighbourhoods, buildings, planning initiatives and urban mobilizations, different cases that have in common heritage as field where an encounter between past in future is enacted and negotiated.
The neoliberal condition affects urban policies and the lives of city inhabitants and city usersall over the world. Renovation, regeneration or redevelopment projects bring about a redefinition of urban spaces that that can act as source of cooperation, conflict or resistance from different social groups related to those urban spaces. Heritage is often a central tool in these urban renewal projects. But because heritage is a construction of the past by the present with a view to a desired future, diverse stakeholder such as neighbors, experts, civil organizations, local authorities and corporate entities collide in their efforts to imagine a future through destroying, forgetting or hiding elements of the past. The panel gathers papers that while presenting cases of heritage-based urban renewal projects, also discuss the several ripples that these projects create: the increasing opposition by some local inhabitants to tourism as an economic resource for cities economies; the heritagization of previously marginalized urban areas as a tool to imagine better futures away from economic recession and/or social tension and conflict; the role played by preservation of traditional and historical assets in the insertion of cities in globalized networks of symbolic economy; the ability heritage has in creating a sense of place - these are all topics to be addressed by the papers in the panel that have as common ground a take on heritage-led urban renewal and development projects that focuses on heritage as field where an encounter between past in future is enacted and negotiated.