This Masterclass is a follow-up of the Course on Urban Heritage Strategies for World Heritage Cities, as conducted in 2020 and 2021 in the Netherlands. That training through the Urban Heritage Strategies course included Curacao professionals who had an enthusiastic reaction to the course. Stichting Monumentenfonds, a Curaçao NGO, on the occasion of their 30th anniversary, is hosting and coordinating the Masterclass.
Curaçao is rightfully proud of its UNESCO 25 years’ listed World Heritage Site of the Historic Area of Willemstad Inner City, and Harbour. There is a strong commitment by the public, private, and NGO communities in Curaçao to seeing that these heritage areas are as economically, socially, and culturally vibrant as possible. To explore approaches to historic area revitalization, the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency and IHS, a Rotterdam-based urban management and housing institute, have teamed up with the US firm Heritage Strategies International (HSI) to provide a week-long Masterclass called World Heritage meets Main Street, held from Tuesday 18 until Friday 21 October 2022.
Main Street is a program originally created by the US National Trust for Historic Preservation and provides a framework for economic development within the context of heritage resources. It is a comprehensive, incremental approach to heritage-based economic development through the “Four Points” of Organization, Design, Promotions, and Economic Vitality. Main Street has been called the most cost-effective approach to economic development of any type that exists in the United States and has a 40-year success story with participation of more than 2500 communities. This Masterclass will be the first time ever that the Main Street Approach has been presented in the context of a World Heritage Site.
The Masterclass will be very interactive, with the participants ultimately identifying both challenges and recommendations for commercial areas within the World Heritage Site. Faculty for the Masterclass will include Donovan Rypkema, President of Heritage Strategies International along with HSI colleagues Rodney Swink, Senior Associate for Planning and Development, and Katlyn Cotton, the firm’s Director of Communication and Design. They will be joined by Nanette de Jong, architectural consultant at the Dutch Heritage Agency, and Remco Vermeulen, Course coordinator for the Urban Heritage Strategies program at IHS. Presentations will also be made by Curaçao experts to provide the local context for the Main Street approach.
Almost forty local professionals and students are anticipated to participate in this intensive, interactive masterclass. By the end of the week, they will have developed recommendations for the designated areas for the immediate, short-term, and medium-term actions which will be presented on Friday, October 21st.