World Heritage and Regional Development Lead
City of Ballarat, Australia
dimension 3: Co-creation in heritage practices
Valuing Ballarat: Implementing HUL approach community engagement tools in practice.
Ballarat’s local government authority, the City of Ballarat (Australia), began piloting UNESCO’s Historic Urban Landscape approach (the HUL) in 2012. By 2015 Ballarat’s political leaders had committed to adopting the HUL as the guiding approach for managing change in their historic city to the year 2040.
This journey included an extensive period of participatory engagement with local citizens and stakeholders to identify the city’s diverse tangible and intangible social and cultural values. The tool was developed by local practitioners and called ‘Ballarat Imagine’. Through Ballarat Imagine the community’s shared vision was positioned to guide the management of future change through an overarching and organisation-wide strategy called Today, Tomorrow, Together: The Ballarat Strategy.
The process of designing and implementing this extensive program to integrate the HUL approach, combined with what has occurred since, has enabled a new way of working to come to the fore – one that is collaborative, integrated and place-based. It has led to increased community pride in their heritage and city, new partnerships, inclusion, surprising opportunities, and the development of innovative tools.
Ballarat’s HUL approach is now being applied across 13 local government areas in Australia’s Central Victorian Goldfields as part of a World Heritage bid. The bid is focused on regenerating a region of nearly 40,000 km2 with over half a million people by applying the HUL, UNESCO’s Sustainable Tourism framework and the UN SDGs. Working with Planet Happiness, Ballarat Imagine has been integrated into the OECD recognised Happiness Index Survey, which measures community wellbeing and quality of life. It’s been rolled out across the entire region, reaching a broader and more diverse audience.
Focusing on the practical application of the HUL approach, this presentation will highlight what can happen when you apply new thinking in and from the context of a local authority in Australia and through a World Heritage bid from the outset. It will reveal a different role for heritage practitioners being demonstrated in a number of cities implementing the HUL approach around the world.
Susan has been coordinating the City of Ballarat’s heritage programs since 2009 and a decade later began co-coordinating the roll out of the Central Victorian Goldfields World Heritage Bid program for 13 local government partners. The bid is focused on regenerating a region of nearly 40,000 km2 with over half a million people by applying UNESCO’s Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) and Sustainable Tourism Toolkit and the UN SDGs. Since 2012, Susan has led the implementation of HUL at the City of Ballarat as part of the UNESCO-WHITRAP international pilot program, helping to centralise heritage, culture, and local people’s values in the city’s future economic development. Susan is an active member of the global HUL program, contributing both internationally and in Australia. She lectures on HUL and coordinated & co-authored The HUL Guidebook – a practical guide for managing heritage in dynamic and constantly changing environments - with WHITRAP, China. Susan is a full international member of Australia ICOMOS, member of the ICOMOS international Sustainable Development Goals Working Group and World Heritage and SDGs Task Team, until recently was the Co-Convenor of the Australia ICOMOS National Scientific Committee for Cultural Landscapes and Cultural Routes and is a member of the Heritage Asia-Pacific Network.