Ouro Preto was the first Brazilian city to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980. Since the 1930s, the city has been the focus of conservation policies that have largely succeeded in preserving the physical fabric of the historic centre. At the same time, these policies have tended to overlook the city as an evolving, dynamic organism in favour of preserving the landscape as an aesthetic ‘work of art’. Top-down heritage conservation policies have emphasized the city’s colonial heritage core, while neglecting irregular settlements and peripheral neighbourhoods in the surrounding hills that often face precarious conditions and infrastructural problems. Imposed design guidelines for new buildings in Ouro Preto have resulted in contemporary buildings that emulate houses from the eighteenth century. As such, the city has not been given the opportunity of historical continuity, including expressions of contemporary architecture, together with the inclusion of communities that may not live within the delineation of the city centre.
Source: Coimbra University, report for Study Area 8