The ancient city of Vigan (Philippines) is renowned for its well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture and planning and its fusion with Asian building design and construction. These distinct attributes contributed to the inscription of the property Historic City of Vigan on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999.
Central to the sustainability of the property is the engagement and involvement of the local community in the conservation and management of the property. By empowering the owners of the heritage houses, teaching institutions, artists, craftspeople, and business owners, the local community has become the primary stakeholder of the tangible and intangible heritage of the property.
Over the past few decades, the local government has focused on leading development through engaging all stakeholders in conservation-based policies. Heritage education is incorporated in the formal education system, and local organizations, such as homeowners’ associations, are supported through training initiatives in the low-cost restoration of their houses. Similarly, revenue generated from local cultural products and tourism is used to fund the ongoing maintenance of historic buildings, thus contributing to ensuring a self- sustaining city. Such strategies have demonstrated that empowering the community and local stakeholders in safeguarding heritage are key to ensuring sustainable urban development.
Prepared by UNESCO