“Heritage is currently exploited for many purposes, not only by tourism. Two of its features offer many interesting space management possibilities. Firstly, heritage is a form of communication, and not only between different epochs. This communication usually takes place between those who govern and those who are governed, although it is not always easy to determine who is communicating with whom. Secondly, the content of this communication concerns identity in both senses of the word, i.e. shaping the unique character of a given place, distinguishing it from others, but also identifying with other people. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that heritage is perhaps the most important, and certainly the most widely used tool in creating places.”
In his book, Gregory Ashworth looks for a definition of heritage and heritology, but answers the question of how heritage should be managed in order to achieve given goals. The essence of heritage is the use of the past for contemporary purposes – including political and social ones. Moreover, it has a direct and indirect impact on economic development in specific places. Nevertheless, despite numerous attempts, no single universal model has been developed to guarantee the success of such an action, and no extraordinary benefits can be expected, as they always go hand in hand with the costs that must be borne. However, lessons must be learned from practice, lessons from careful management, not automatic imitation.
Gregory Ashworth is one of the pioneers of new thinking about heritage and its relationship with economics. An expert on the issues of planning and management of historic cities, specialist in the field of cultural tourism and heritage marketing. He was educated at the universities of Cambridge and Reading and at the University of London (where he obtained his doctorate in 1974). He has lectured at the University of Wales and the University of Portsmouth, and since 1979 he has been working at the University of Groningen (the Netherlands). Since 1994, he has lectured on heritage management and urban tourism at the Department of Planning, Faculty of Spatial Sciences at the University of Groningen. Starting with Managing historic cities. The case of Central Europe conference, organised in 1991, he has been a permanent collaborator of the International Cultural Centre in Krakow.