What is a buffer? Is it a control zone? Or is it rather a transition space, a blurred boundary? Since "buffer zones" were introduced in the late 1970s as a complementary protection layer to World Heritage sites, the dimensions of heritage have changed significantly; from physical to intangible, from defined to diffused. Now, buffers can present all these different characters, even at the same time.
Using buffers as the main connection thread, this book is a collection of complementary studies that explore the contemporary challenges in heritage definition and management. With a focus on European and Asian historical territories, this book tracks umbrella terms, from their genesis inside international discussions and cultural exchanges, to their specific interpretation in top-down on-site strategies. Then, it originally complements and verifies these official management models with the study of local realities and parallel bottom-up actions that have emerged to fill major gaps in this system. With this, the book underlines the negative impacts of isolated biased strategies, and addresses the call of local intermediate groups and communities for integrated efforts.
Finally, buffers are presented as an intermediate heritage management model that could help integrate both, protection and development, territorial and community scales.