Approaches to sustaining people–place bonds in conservation planning: from value-based, living heritage, to the glocal community

Yueyi Chen, Yi Wen Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This review paper explores approaches to sustaining the enduring connection between communities and heritage places in conservation planning. Amidst global overtourism, the gradual outmigration and sudden displacement of local communities from heritage places disrupt not only physical ties between people and places but also shared traditions, memories and emotional bonds. These intangible qualities constitute the social dimension of heritage and are pivotal to its cultural significance. However, existing conservation approaches to safeguarding this social dimension often rely on the continued presence of local communities, which may yield limited effectiveness in restoring people–place bonds amidst challenges posed by overtourism and displacement. This review unpacks the term ‘social value’ within the framework of value-based assessment and progresses towards a dynamic conception of ‘sense of place’. In response to the changing social composition of ‘local communities’ at heritage places, this review examines approaches for conserving the social dimension of heritage, aiming to sustain the enduring continuity of people–place bonding. It proposes a broader definition of ‘sense of place’ that transcends the preconceived notion of stakeholder groups as a geographically defined community and suggests leveraging digital social platforms to re-establish these bonds. The review concludes by advocating for the ‘glocal community’ approach, acknowledging the personal emotional connections that individuals form with a heritage place regardless of their places of residence. This approach has the potential to complement existing methods, such as value-based assessment and the living heritage approach, which are commonly practised in contemporary conservation efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
JournalBuilt Heritage
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • community
  • conservation area
  • continuity
  • sense of place
  • social value
  • urban conservation


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