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Faced with fewer public financial resources, governments around the world look for ways to lighten their curatorial burdens by exploring new options for preserving their artistic, architectural, and cultural heritage. Traditional preservation approaches are inadequate, particularly in the emerging democracies of Central and Eastern Europe. Informed by a seminar of world leaders on the topic, M.I.T. scholars J. Mark Schuster and John de Monchaux, joined by seven other preservation scholars and practitioners, explore the tools of government action: direct governmental involvement, regulation of preservation efforts, redefinition of property rights, provision of incentives, and the creation and dissemination of information. They then go on to consider conflicts of public and private interests and innovative forms of curatorial partnerships. The perspectives are international and broad-ranging, from economists, lawyers, architects, city planners, public policy analysts, and preservation administrators.
While the authors acknowledge the importance of government intervention, Schuster advises governments to "act more adroitly, both in the selective use of their own resources, and in drawing upon the full range of their abilities to engage the much greater resource of private and institutional action in the preservation of the built heritage."
The Tools of Government Action
Partnerships for Action