Cultural Engineering Group

Services & Ressources en ingénierie culturelle

Património e Território, a study to comprise an analysis and assessment of the state of Portuguese Heritage assets

Patrimonio e territorioThis study aims to « underlie and monitor the measures which came to be outlined for investment in projects with cultural component in the programming of the Structural Funds 2014-2020 », and respecting two basic assumptions that, directly, shape the work to develop and encompass their scope. Primlarily, it tries to give an answer to the questions contained in the specifications: a) identify the lack of intervention in Portuguese Heritage assets under public management; b) Diagnose and appraise the state of Conservation of Portuguese Heritage assets; c) Prioritize the needs for intervention, signalling and valorization; d) Evaluate the importance of the Heritage in job creation and in structuring the Portuguese tourism demand; e) Formulate recommendations of strategic and operational nature intervention on the Patrimony, to implement in the new programming cycle of Structural Funds. Secondly, it is inscribed in the research and the lines of work carried out in Portugal over the last two decades, which has been reflected on the sector of culture and heritage to contribute for monitoring of public policy in this sphere. The proposal invests, thereby, in the mobilization of research experiences and in the capitalization of the heap of knowledge produced upon the cultural sector with a view to better understand their dynamics, mutations and possibilities. To this framework of knowledge, joins the existence of a diverse experience at European level that will serve as a counterpoint and touchstone for the construction of conceptual proposals.

In this field of assumptions, matters to allude, to the instruments of HIA (Heritage Impact Assessment), which has been used in many cases of patrimony dimension, with particular relevance to the cases of classification by UNESCO. This research will seek to adapt to a national and regional reality the methodological principles of HIA, aiming to propose a referential framework of analysis that enables the constant monitoring of the processes of classification, preservation and intervention in heritage. The universe of reference for the study are the 3836[1] Public Heritage assets included in the three existing degrees of the Portuguese classification: National Monument, of Public Interest and of Municipal Interest, regulated, in terms of supervision, accompaniment and intervention by the various state organisms: the four Regional Offices – North, Centre, Alentejo and Algarve – and the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage. The analytical corpus for this study is consisted by the set of support documentation and process collected from the Regional Directions of Culture, Committees for Coordination and Regional Development, General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and private entities, including, among others: a) legislation of reference; b) application documents (forms, decisions of juries, contracts and, when applicable, supplements of contracts – CCDR); c) reports of the state of conservation and registration (DGPC and DRC); d) activity and financial reports, when applicable. To complement the additional encoded information 5 case studies and a seminar were held, for more than inform, to shape this study towards the Portuguese operational reality and the level of current good practices in use in Portugal. Due to the high number of heritage assets that constitute the universe, both the case studies and the information gathered from stakeholders, or the one resulted from the seminar will not be used individually. Similarly, no specific analysis of each case will be made, as this would not be representative for the universe of national heritage, given the disparity of types found in the universe. All information has been treated so as to constitute a global comprehensive analysis of the classified heritage in Portugal.

Not being able to treat the Heritage sector without analysing the legal framework that marks it out and allows it to be put into practice, the Basic Law of Heritage, arising from the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and the successive changes that it has undergone over time, defines a conceptual and institutional framework for the regulation and performance of both private and public entities, to which the management, classification, safeguarding and development concern. The Title II of the same law specifies administrative procedures, rights and duties for private and public entities, as well as its scope of intervention in partnership with the state, to obtain the goals previously cited. The DL (decree-laws) n.º 114/2012 and n.º 115/2012, both from the 25th of May, extinguish the Regional Direction of Culture of Lisbon and Tejo Valley, and redefine the allocation of assets under its management to the General Direction of Cultural Heritage, redefining, also the list of patrimony assets that are under the protection of this organism, as well as the existing Regional Offices – North, Centre, Alentejo and Algarve. Arising from the execution of the decree-laws, as well as the restructuration of the organizations with interests in the area of heritage belonging to the Central State, follows a dual role of the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage: if at a given level it has the same powers and obligations as the Regional Directions of Culture, on the other hand it assumes the role of regulator, or executor, depending on the ownership of the patrimony, the works of intervention in heritage, and evaluator of regional plans for priority intervention, as well as the programs and projects for the conservation, restoration and valorisation, in which has a monitoring role, as in sub-paragraphs d) and c) of the art. n.º 2 of the Decree-Law n º 115/2012. Although the analysis of the specific legislation that regulates the heritage is important per se, it is nonetheless illustrator of multiple layers of skills that organisms occupy, arising from mergers and register changes over the past few years in the organisms of guardianship, which is desirable from this point to build a stable macro structure, to become more efficient, with smaller degrees of overlap.

In International, European terms, and focusing on cases of England, the UK as a whole has its own systems for each nation, in France, Italy and Spain the legislative system resembles, in terms of organization, to the Portuguese system, where a general legislative document from foundation by the name of « code or act », provides the guiding principles by which state agencies and private organisms should govern themselves. The classification processes range from more complex cases, such as Spain and Italy, and simpler cases, such as France and England, ranging from two to three classification categories. Whilst, in terms of number of assets, are the simplest cases that reveal it progressively more and more standardization and, in a more explicitly way, the role of privates when it comes to management, qualification and heritage conservation. Occurs for the same cases a process of greater transparency, with the data related to heritage listed and classification instruments and management, available for direct consultation and, therefore, not mediated by an organism, Italy being the paradigmatic opposite case where neither the list of assets is public domain – despite being the country with the largest number of UNESCO’s ratings – neither the governing rules for the sector are explicit, presenting a constant overlapping of items and exclusions dependent on technical deliberations of bodies of guardianship or the respective ministries.

In terms of general characterization of the existing Heritage listed – 3836 heritage property, in the continental Portuguese territory – focuses on the percentage of 61% in the North and Lisbon and Tejo Valley, with an impressive range of regional variation, counting North, the highest number, with 1324 assets (35%), and the Algarve, the less representative, with only 149 assets (4%), making a variation of almost 900%. On the set of ratings on a national scale, « National Monument » and « Public Interest », represent about 87% and 76% of those classified as « Public Interest », leaving 13% for the assets classified as « Municipal Interest ». To these must be added 13 monuments or sites (the Alto Douro wine region, Cultural Landscape of Sintra, Border City and Garrison of Elvas and its Fortifications, Historic Centres of Porto, Guimarães and Évora, Coimbra University, Alta and Sofia) with the UNESCO classification has World Heritage Site. This distribution of ratings occurs on Portuguese territory on a semi stable way, with the Centre and Algarve regions registering parities of 84% -16% and Lisbon and Tejo Valley assuming values of 82% -18%, existing a bias in favour of assets classified as national category in the northern regions (93% -7%) and Alentejo (92% – 8%).

Being the classification process an administrative act that empowers certain asset of inestimable cultural value, and being this process the result of an analysis of specific amounts of the characteristics of the heritage properties, it should be noted that 55% of listed heritage is representative of the « modern era », with the « Medieval Islamic and Christian », « contemporary », « prehistory » and « classical antiquity » eras occupying the following positions with 16%, 12%, 8% and 5%, respectively. If the date or era of construction are decisive for the attribution of historical, aesthetic and scientific values, so too is the use, in most cases conditioned by architectural typology, with « civil architecture » to assume greater importance with 44% of expression, followed by « religious architecture » with 32% and with the typologies « archaeology », « military », « industrial » and « mixed » occupying the remaining seats, with 13%, 7%, 1% and 1% of expression, respectively.

Regards to the monuments directly affected to central government organisms, these are distributed, as mentioned above, by the four Regional Offices of Culture and the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage[2] .The General Directorate of Cultural Heritage tutors 41 heritage assets, of which 1 of them does not have national classification and 2 are transferred to other entities, and therefore not affect, and corresponding to the classification of World Heritage of UNESCO, of which 22 recorded conditional entries. Of the 40 monuments classified as national scale, 28 are classified as « National Monument » and 12 as « Public Interest ». The number of visitors to the monuments with entry control reaches to, approximately, 2,920 million people, with the monuments located in Lisbon and Tejo Valley accounting for 2.286 million of entries. To these entries corresponds a revenue – including ticketing, gift shop income and space rental – close to 8 million euros, being the Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower together responsible for 47% of this value. In terms of net income[3] the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage presents, to the monuments with a conditional entry, a positive income in the order of 1.1 million euros, of which the quoted records set a value of 3.3 million euros of positive income. The values, substantially higher than all other directions, find a bias for classification with 4 monuments of UNESCO affected to this direction, all with surplus, balancing the insignificant or negative results of the other affected monuments. Regarding the Algarve reality, the Regional Direction of Culture of the Algarve is responsible for 8 monuments, of which only 5 are under the exclusive management of the organism, with the other 3 having a shared management with the local authority where they are situated. Of the 8 monuments 6 are classified as « National Monument » and 2 as « Public Interest ». The entries recorded to these monuments reach the value of 280 thousand persons, corresponding to a recipe – which includes other incomes such as stores and rental from spaces – of around 620 000 euros, being the Fortress of Sagres responsible for 93% of this value. The monuments provide, a net income of, approximately, negative 50 thousand euros, and the Fortress de Sagres is the only monument with a positive income, around 15 thousand euros. In the Centre region it states that the Regional Direction of Cultural of the Centre is in charge of 33 heritage assets, which 2 of them have no classification nationwide, and only 8 register conditioned entries. From the 31 buildings affected with the national order classification, 22 of them are registered as « National Monument » and 9 as « Public Interest ». In buildings with conditioned entrance, there were 130,000 visitors, representing total revenue of 190 000 euros, rummaging the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha as the most significant, with about 45% of this value. In terms of net income it is impossible for us to present any results for the 8 assets here quoted, since the charges of 7 of them were supported by the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage. To the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha the net income will be negative in approximately 137 000 euros. Regard to the Alentejo region, the Regional Direction of Culture of Alentejo has 41 heritage assets under its responsibility, 31 of them corresponding to the classification of « National Monument » and 7 to « Public Interest ». In the 16 monuments with controlled entry there were 60 000 visitors to the base year, corresponding to a revenue value of around 72 000 euros, with the Museum of Évora being responsible for 40% of this value. The net income in the case of this region is more difficult to assess, since only 7 of the 16 monuments with conditioned entry present values of costs, being incomplete, it is possible to infer a negative net income of around 32 000 euros per monument. The northern region that has the largest number of public heritage assets, 61, being 1 of them not listed, 40 classified as « National Monument » and 20 has « Public Interest ». In the 27 monuments with controlled entry, including 6 museums, the number of entries for 2012 was 1.5 million, with Paço dos Duques de Bragança being responsible for 1/3 of that number. This number of entries was reflected in a total revenue of, approximately, 1 million and 190 thousand euros, with a contribution of the museums near to 1 million, being Paço dos Duques de Bragança responsible for 88% of this value, and showing a net income, together with Museu Alberto Sampaio, of 300 000 euros. In spite of this value, the net income for the region, on average, and disregarding the museums, is, approximately, 31 000 euros negative per ward’s monument..

From the perspective of human resources employed in the heritage sector these are characterized by a specialization in technical areas related to the heritage tout court, lacking the professionals referents sector to other areas, such as management and communication, which leads to a multifaceted employment with skilled resources, since these, either by position or by practical knowledge, have to overcome the technical functions missing. On a medium and long term dimension, the heritage sector may struggle with the phenomenon of emptying the specific knowledge of each heritage asset, due to the hiring freeze in the public sector that makes it more difficult to pass along tacit knowledge. At the private level, and excluding individual cases, the economic size of holding an heritage asset does not allow to establish a well balanced team of human resources containing all the necessary areas to its fully profitability at medium-term, to which the choice between hiring resources with specific patrimonial knowledge and resources with knowledge of management and communication jeopardizes the average duration of the projects, thus, increasing the widespread perception that the heritage cannot have a private operating and that the private have no interest in doing so.

Regarding the dimension of the analysis of the state of heritage conservation in Portugal, there is a lack of systemic and structured data, tool enshrined in the legislation – Regional Plans of Priority Intervention (RPPI) – without which it becomes difficult to go beyond the sensory dimension about the same. However, not forgetting the programmatic interventions undertaken by the Estado Novo (dictatorial regime) and later, the arising of a new impetus given by the functions of the regime that succeeded it, the situation concerning the state of conservation of listed properties, although far from ideal, notes some significant changes. The allocation of EU funds for restoration works on monuments – even under the framework « tourism and culture » and although they hold a minority or, have been determined without any heritage policy framework consistently – allowed the opening of a new horizon and a more responsible, participatory and effective posture. Although it seems that the condition, in general form and according to the testimonies collected from players in the sector, it is admittedly fragile and the heritage affected to the State is relatively better, it becomes extremely onerous, if not impossible, wanting to generalize or particularize. At this level, we must offer expedited evaluation methodologies, such as the Evaluation Method of the State of Conservation, presented under the New Legal Regime of Urban Lease Law n.º 31/2012, of August 14th, method that could be introduced, albeit in processed form, in the analysis of the state of conservation of heritage, as well as the methodologies of the HIA. In an attempt to operationalize these methods, and including other contributions, we propose a frame of a methodology of evaluation and monitoring that could serve as a working basis for future field implementation of a new model which informs the RPPI’s and is able to provide an updated and reliable source of data. After analysing the only complete existing RPPI, of the Algarve, we note that from 67 assets that are registered, 46 are in need of intervention, of greater or less depth, 33 of which are public, with a budget of intervention of around 17 million euros. It is not for us, here, to extrapolate from these data a projection for the 3836 heritage assets listed of classified monuments, presenting the Algarve example only as an illustrator pointing scenario of what might be the national reality.

From an economic standpoint the Heritage is an absolute competitive advantage, for its difficulty to be replicated in another region with the same attributes, and as such is an important ally in regional development strategies, and its effect may be felt in multiple sectors, from tourism to contemporary creation, passing through Architecture and Cinema. We wonder if, without the rich heritage bequeathed by our ancestors and policies of conservation, would be possible for a country the size of Portugal to have two Pritzker awards, namely, aren’t the Portuguese architectural styles in some way dependent on the heritage that Portugal holds? In terms of measuring the economic dimension of heritage a calculation for the 3836 monuments is impossible for us to provide, due to the lack of data for all elements, or for a representative set of these that could allow an estimate that is not empty. Internationally, the value generated by the heritage sector lies in a duplicity that only between 10% and 30% of this value is directly related, worn or produced in the sector itself, the rest staying, between 90% and 70% of the value, in the adjacent or related sectors. For Portugal, we estimate that this value is situated on an equitable division, 50% – 50%, through the various state sectors of maturity, both from heritage as well from the sectors which are normally included in these categories of value appropriation. As an example, see the poor utilization of heritage assets to create products (tourist or not) and, almost, the absence of exploitation of the benefits that this can bring to corporate images. This division, in which a high percentage is not suitable for heritage, makes clear the need for State intervention, since the social optimum, which is always greater than these values generated, will only be achieved with adequate investment and, the private, for not being able to take ownership of most of the generated income, have a lower incentive to achieve this level of investment. To this factor joins the dimension of public heritage, non-exclusive and non-rival, and its inter-generational feature, which recommends its revenues and costs to be shared over time, something that a private body doesn’t have the possibility of doing. In terms of estimated value we can say that the state monuments, which provide elements of financial flow, may have an annual economic impact in a range between 18 and 108 million euros, and that the Internal Return Rate of a structured investment in a heritage asset with national public importance lies between the values of 10 and 16% for the appropriated income and between 15.5 and 26.9% for the overall value generated.

From the social point of view, the role of interposition between the present and the past, between history and heritage, it is undeniable, establishing itself as an important asset in forming a Portuguese identity and the construction of the European project that cannot, and should not, be straying from the specificities of the people who constitute it. On top of this, the training potential, of transmission of knowledge and culture, in short citizenship training, emanating from the legacy that constitutes the heritage assets.

As conclusion allow us to strengthen the urgent need for a reliable, systematic and systematized production of data in all of the dimensions addressed, as well as to improve the mechanisms of internal and external communication, which will value the central dimension of the heritage guaranteed authenticity and thus ensures a differentiator and active central factor in economic growth , in the context of a peer strategy as the European reality shows us nowadays.

[1] Date of consult of the database of the Directorate General of Cultural Heritage: 23/12/2013

[2] All data presented comprises the year 2012, except when a different year is refereed, and are approximate figures, many of them derived from financial calculation assumptions.

[3] Here, Net Income is equivalent to the Operating Income, by similarity of values and specificities of affected monuments.

Filed under: Expériences, Outils, Politiques culturelles, Ressources

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