Accepted Paper:

The tree, the garden, the heritage - how the restoration of a historical garden reveals the divide between policies and grass roots participation   


Anna Kalina-Gagnelid

Paper short abstract:

Matters of heritage are constantly changed in the field of social discussion. The situation becomes especially expressive when the domains of "historical-", "natural-" and "individually perceived-"heritage clash. What more, the character of discussion becomes very dynamic because of social media.

Paper long abstract:

This particular case shows how matters of heritage are constantly changed through a social discussion. The situation becomes especially expressive when the domains of "historical heritage", "natural heritage" and "individually perceived heritage" clash. One of the historical gardens in Warsaw is going through a process of restoration in the sense of "restoring its original state". Practically it means dramatic changes in all dimensions: including efforts to reconstruct its shape according to XIX century plans, making new features, massive clearings of old trees and most important: changes in peoples minds. The whole situation has evoked stormy debate.

What more, now the character of such discussions has become very dynamic because of use of social media. The dispute left virtual reality and turned to public protests in the park. This example of a restoration of a public space shows different status of "historical heritage" and "natural heritage". Both socially constructed, but representing non equal values. And another phenomenon: "individually perceived heritage" becomes widely recognizable, shared and defended due to fast communication processes. It reinforces the differentiation of instances able to confirm what can be claimed as a heritage.

This is also an occasion to focus on the still unclear status of trees versus "historical heritage" versus monuments. In this case, inspired and financed by the city, changes are leading to revelation of people's strong attachment to the previous state of the park. They openly claim this space as theirs and recognize the trees as more valuable than a historical version of this park.

Panel P32
Theorizing heritage fractures, divides and gaps