Blog: The Future is Bright

Policy Blog - Heritage Debate 2022

Blog from Jonathan Goode, Director of Le Lay Architects on the future of heritage.

Shared in the lead-up to The Heritage Alliance’s Heritage Debate 2022: Heritage in 20 years.

Heritage in 20 Years: what will matter most?

20 years ago, I was a newly qualified architect. I was aware of climate change and the need to move away from fossil fuels. Change in these 20 years has been slow with commitments kick down the road. Will more be done in the next 20 years? I believe so, for the emergency is here, the effects of climate change are present. Pressure to change is greater, pushed by those who will be affected the most by that change and who will be left to pick up where we fail. In those 20 years I have learned that sustainability is more than carbon reduction, more than just targets. It is about respect for the environment and respect for the lives of individuals, all individuals regardless of their birth and circumstance. Through this understanding I see the future, 20 years from now. Somethings will be worse, we are too late to turn back previous actions, but others will be better. A better understanding about our impact and more choice in what we do, what we say, and where we go.

The current lack of funding in heritage buildings and the effects of a tough environment will take a toll on our heritage assets.  Our at-risk registers will get longer. To counter this are the values we better understand – the part historic buildings, parks, and our coastline plays in our mental, physical health and well-being and social care. In the race to cut carbon re-use has an advantage over newbuild, and historic buildings are well placed to benefit from this. Access to historic buildings will widen and diversify so that more of society will benefit from and enjoys these special places. The history we tell will become richer and engage us in fascinating forms taking full advantage of the technologies we develop. Understanding our diverseness and uniqueness will enrich society. The changing climate will be tough for our saved heritage, and we will need to find resources when those same resources must go further. But on balance the future of our historic places is bright, they will have a more central place in our daily lives, with greater richness and social engagement.

– Jonathan Goode (Director, Le Lay Architects [Alliance member])

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Explore other perspectives on ‘Heritage in 20 Years: what will matter most’ over on our event page for Heritage Debate 2022.