Protecting life: The common goals of nature reserves and architectural heritage sites


Medio ambiente
Totalidad Architecture


This study addresses the general protection of sites through the idea of preserving the “environment” as a functional whole. Within this broad framework, the text focuses on the meaning and goal of the so-called conservation areas. The first part examines how and when a holistic concept of protection emerged. The second part reviews the current state of affairs, while the third section develops an argument in favor of a holistic understanding of the environment based on interdisciplinary research and complex adaptive systems. The study emphasizes the pioneering impulses from 19th-century Central Europe for the protection of the style and “memory” of historical cities, the creation of nature reserves, the protection of landscape character, the democratization of conservationist initiatives, and the discussion about these initiatives’ motivations. It further argues that traditional environments, today preserved in conservation areas, differ starkly from unprotected areas in terms of these environments’ systemic qualities. Traditional environments have the natural qualities of living structures, which explains their attractiveness, making “preservation of life” the common goal of the entire conservation movement.


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