Historic Preservation in Southeast Asia: The Role of Public-Private Partnerships

By Stough, Patrick | Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, May 2006 | Go to article overview

Historic Preservation in Southeast Asia: The Role of Public-Private Partnerships


Stough, Patrick, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


ABSTRACT

The role of globalization in the rapid economic success of Southeast Asia is exemplified by the growing westernization of the region's cities. While globalization has its benefits, such as encouraging investment and global connectivity, it also threatens the cultural heritage of a given area by encouraging a sort of homogeneity that makes modern cities all look alike. In particular, the goal of economic development often stands at odds with the preservation of structures and properties that reflect the cultural heritage of the region. Furthermore, many of the countries of the region are under pressure to better protect property rights, another policy that can run counter to the goals of historic preservation. In this Note, the Author looks at the state of property rights, urban development, and historic preservation in four Southeast Asian countries and proposes a solution that is able to balance the competing goals of historic preservation, globalization, and economic development. This solution, which has been employed in parts of South America, involves public-private partnerships that incorporate historic preservation into general urban planning and encourage private involvement and investment.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  I. INTRODUCTION
 II. BACKGROUND
     A. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
        1. Property Rights in Cambodia
        2. Urban Land-Use Planning in Cambodia
        3. Historic Preservation in Cambodia
     B. Singapore
        1. Property Rights in Singapore
        2. Urban Land-Use Planning in Singapore
        3. Historic Preservation in Singapore
     C. Manila, Philippines
        1. Property Rights in the Philippines
        2. Urban Land-Use Planning in the
           Philippines
        3. Historic Preservation in the Philippines
     D. Semarang, Indonesia
        1. Property Rights in Indonesia
        2. Urban Land-Use Planning in Indonesia
        3. Historic Preservation in Indonesia
III. ANALYSIS: METHODS OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION
     A. Ownership and Operation
     B. Regulation
     C. Incentives (and Disincentives)
     D. Reformulation of Property Rights
     E. Information
 IV. SOLUTION: PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS
     A. Partnerships in Action: Quito, Ecuador
     B. Adapting the Quito Project to Southeast Asia
     C. Criticism of Historic Preservation as a Goal
        1. Historic Preservation Stands in the
           Way of Economic Development
        2. Historic Preservation Reinforces
           Colonial Legacies
        3. Historic Preservation Burdens Property
           Rights
  V. CONCLUSION

I. INTRODUCTION

In today's world of rapid globalization and urbanization, many have become concerned about the apparent homogeneity of modern cities. While economic globalization is seen as a positive force for bringing developing countries to a better economic state, it is often feared because it is perceived as undermining cultural identities and differences. As an example, critics point to cities in such rapid-growth areas as Southeast Asia and note how similar they now seem to Western cities. (1) While these critics are right to fear cultural globalization and its effect on cultural identity, there is still room for economic globalization and the celebration of cultural heritage to exist side by side. A closer look at these cities will reveal that a wealth of historically and culturally important structures still exists. Many of these sites, however, are in great danger of destruction or misuse; thus it is necessary for governments to take action in protecting them. Historic preservation has long been accepted and promoted in the United States and other Western countries, but it has been sorely neglected in developing and transitional countries. (2)

It is true that many of these countries lack the resources needed to successfully promote historic preservation. Many developing countries are also more concerned right now with promoting economic development, (3) a goal that may seem incompatible with historic preservation. …

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