State-of-the-practice: Assessing community participation within Chinese cultural World Heritage properties

Ji Li (Corresponding author), Sukanya Krishnamurthy, Ana Pereira Roders, Pieter J.V. van Wesemael

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Community participation is a key part of heritage management. However, in practice, unlike natural heritage, the nature of community participation within cultural heritage is seldom assessed, nor are there theoretical frameworks developed to baseline such assessments. To fill this knowledge gap, this paper developed and tested an assessment framework, to assess community participation within cultural heritage. Based on the conceptualisation of community participation from heritage management policies, a literature review was conducted to develop an assessment framework, including four criteria and 23 indicators. This assessment framework was tested on the management practices of 36 Chinese cultural heritage properties inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List from 1987 to 2018. Using content analysis as a method, this research applied this assessment framework to UNESCO documents, reporting on the state-of-the-practice of heritage management as applied to Chinese World Heritage. The results provide an overview of the current situation on how community participation is positioned within World Heritage management in China. Several World Heritage properties in China have reported relatively high community participation in examples such as Honghe Hani Rice Terraces and Kulangsu. However, most of them demonstrate minimal community participation, such as the Yungang Grottoes and Lushan National Park. Moreover, the assessment framework of community participation in heritage management has been extended and improved, which is relevant to heritage management practices worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102107
Number of pages11
JournalHabitat International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


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