This paper focuses on urban heritage meanings, values, and management challenges in postcolonial Algeria, and particularly on the question of exclusivism of non-traditional urban places in heritage discourse. In the process of reconstruction of homogenous national postcolonial cultural identities, local heritage views and perspectives are often ignored. This paper suggests looking simultaneously into national policies and legislative texts on urban heritage, and local stakeholders’ perceptions of what heritage should be, to identify gaps and potentially ways to improve current urban heritage governance. The comparison between both national and local urban heritage indicators helps identify mechanisms and impacts of national exclusivism in the protection of urban heritage. Moreover, the result of focus groups and interviews with Annaba’s citizens, specialists, and officials, has helped unravel the potential of a more place-based approach to heritage management in Algeria. We argue that focusing on the local heritageness of undesignated urban places could pave the way for a more forward-thinking, holistic and inclusive approach to community-based urban heritage management. It is a methodology with wide potential in contemporary North-Africa.