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We think Philly’s great, but are we World Heritage City great? p2

7/16/2015 | Real Estate Blog

While Mayor Michael Nutter has been visiting mayors in other countries and pressing the case for Philadelphia’s designation as a World Heritage City, the Philadelphia Business Journal believes the designation is practically a done deal. The designation will not only give the city’s tourism and convention industries, but it will make Philly an international city — as a World Heritage City, Philadelphia will have global recognition.

Being home to a World Heritage site, however, does not automatically confer World Heritage City status. Once the site is added to the list, the city may apply to the Organization of World Heritage Cities for membership. Right now, Philadelphia is an observer member and, as such, may participate in the assemblies but may not vote. About a year ago, Mayor Nutter applied to be a member of the OWHC.

According to the OWHC by-laws, each member city has, first, a World Heritage site that and, so, “is the location of a living urban fabric of historic or contemporary interest [of] outstanding universal value.” Second, the city must embrace the values and mission of the OWHC. Members in good standing — that is, members who are current on their dues — have full voting rights.

The OWHC itself serves as a resource for its members as they work to implement the Convention and the International Charter for the Protection of Historic Cities. OWHC provides guidance, fosters information sharing among members and other organizations, and advocates for the protection and preservation of heritage sites.

For Philadelphia, then, the designation will mean more than a greater global presence, more tourists and a greater demand for conference space and hotel rooms. It should mean that the city has access to more resources to protect the city’s historic buildings and monuments, to preserve the city’s heritage.

Source: Philadelphia Business Journal, “Philadelphia to become first World Heritage City in U.S.,” Kenneth Hilario, July 9, 2015