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date: 06 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Archaeology is a powerful tool for understanding how heritage, through discourses of modernity, has been scripted into a binary relationship that places it in opposition to progress, change, and development. This has been particularly true in the recent past in debates regarding quality of life issues for urban dwellers, with preservationists and developers representing diametrically opposed visions. This chapter blurs the boundaries between the categories of development and heritage, not only to bring complexity to the histories that are told about the heritage movement, but also to encourage a different perception of the ways that heritage contributes to the quality of life in contemporary cities. The author’s methodological approach for this work is what might best be labelled a documentary contemporary archaeology, not unlike the documentary archaeology approaches she has employed to study sites created in the more remote past. The chapter explores these issues in relation to two cases studies: one showcasing the historical narratives of the preservation movement that focus on the struggle to save Washington Square Park, in New York City; the second, a consideration of the development and use of High Line Park, also in New York.

Keywords: modernity, modernism, heritage, development, change

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