The Heritage Index reveals a wealth of data about heritage in England, Scotland and Wales.
While the best way to explore the data is through interactive online maps, this short report focuses on seven themes of analysis. The rich understanding generated can help forge a stronger link between heritage and the identity of residents in a place. This can help a place achieve its aspirations to grow and prosper, socially and economically.
After crunching together over 100 datasets it is clear there are some star performers, beyond the predictable list of well-preserved historic cities and pristine landscapes. Heritage is as much about the scale and intensity of activities that bring history to life, as it is about traditional buildings and sites with protected status.
The data allows several common myths about heritage to be shattered: local areas rich in heritage exist in both the wealthiest and most deprived corners of Britain. Benefiting from a local focus, the Index shows heritage is as strong in rural areas as in urban areas, and any concerns about a north-south divide are misplaced. While London has boroughs with among the highest heritage scores, Liverpool outperforms all other major cities across England. And as a clear reminder of our identity as island nations, we also find that coastal areas perform particularly well in our Index, with extensive natural heritage assets.
We compare the Heritage Index results with what we already know about the benefits of heritage to citizens. Analysis shows that places with high levels of heritage activity are positively correlated with places with high well-being among residents Comparing heritage assets with heritage activities allows us to shortlist places with the greatest opportunity to increase the involvement of people with heritage.
We conclude by considering how people could work to build upon this first Heritage Index. This includes improving the data they collect, celebrating the intangible heritage of local places, and taking action to ensure that heritage is accessible to local people and an active part of local identity. A stronger understanding of local heritage can help ensure that what is considered important is taken into account by those who influence how a place develops.
Communities Minister Marcus Jones said:
Britain has a history envied across the world and it’s great to see that – through the Heritage Index – communities can now discover how to make the most of that history to drive growth in their local area.
What’s more, I would encourage local people to use the protections provided by community rights to list their local heritage assets and ensure that the next generation can continue to enjoy our past.
We conclude by considering how people could work to build upon this first Heritage Index. This includes improving the data they collect, celebrating the intangible heritage of local places, and taking action to ensure that
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