Heritage on the side: Post-conflict cities and violence against architecture as an ‘organic’ place brand

Jovic, M. 2019. Heritage on the side: Post-conflict cities and violence against architecture as an ‘organic’ place brand. AESOP Annual Congress Venice 2019. IUAV Venice, Italy 09 - 13 Jul 2019 Universita IUAV di Venezia.

TitleHeritage on the side: Post-conflict cities and violence against architecture as an ‘organic’ place brand
AuthorsJovic, M.
TypeConference paper

Heritage sites and urban benchmarks convey a mythical discourse or the signs of nationhood to domestic and international visitors, contributing to a sense of national identity and belonging. Selective recollections of past events and place identity create communal narratives. These emerge around specific sites, buildings or monuments, often becoming integral to the successful management of a city brand and a coherent identity. However, problems arise when deciding which buildings get selected and which overlooked. Further problems appear when the vision of a future project is in conflict with the residents’ associations of a place.When the ‘post’ in ‘post- conflict’ is still debatable, the everyday and institutionalized violence and corruption tell a proportionally bigger story about a place than its architecture. The decisions behind investments in the built environment and the way narratives around heritage buildings are constructed become an ‘organic’ brand of a city already struggling to position itself on a map – violence takes center stage, with heritage on the side. The paper looks at Army Generalstaff building and BelgradeWaterfront in Belgrade, Serbia. They ‘use’ history, either in a way that attempts to produce historical continuity or dissociation from the past deemed problematic, but do so by undemocratic means. In a post- conflict environment, this is particularly complex, as these sites remain contested and associated with painful or celebrated memories. These projects also use the promise of international tourist interest as justification. The paper is anchored by four fields: tourism, conflict, place marketing and architecture. The primary research includes interviews with key experts in these fields, as well as a Critical Discourse Analysis of relevant policies and published media. The paper argues that the violence employed in (re)creation of these sites leads to a creation of a new cultural narrative – the one where violence becomes embedded in the city’s 'brand'.

Keywordsheritage sites, urbicide, place branding, architecture, post-conflict, identity
ConferenceAESOP Annual Congress Venice 2019
PublisherUniversita IUAV di Venezia
Publication dates
PublishedJul 2019

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