Heritage is strongly linked to the memories, values, beliefs, and traditions that are told through the stories of place, time, people, and community. It is almost impossible to label something “heritage” without first recognizing its human, social connections.
Heritage is our “inheritance” that has been passed along by past generations. It describes the unique identity of a community, differentiating it from neighbouring towns and areas.
Social value includes memories and emotional associations, the identities of distinctive characters, and the connections to places and its people. These strong values of people and place mean heritage is inextricably linked to economic vitality and liveability through the attraction and retention of citizens, businesses, and tourists.
Social value can also relate to social cohesion and inclusion, community empowerment and capacity building, confidence, civic pride and tolerance, and opportunities for learning, and skills development.
Use the intrinsic-instrumental-institutional framework to develop a well-rounded description of the social context of heritage in your community. Here are some suggestions to help you get started. (Read this short introduction to our recommended approach to making a case.)
Social value is well suited to emotional and spiritual qualitative assessment.
Social value largely relies on qualitative assessment and so it can appear to be generally subjective.
In this case, it may be helpful to also think beyond your organization to the broader “institution” of heritage.
The economic value of Heritage by Xavier Greffe University of Paris I (Pantheon- Sorbonne) (source)
The Social and Economic Importance of Heritage Preservation, Town of Essex, Ontario (source)
The Social and Economic Value of Cultural Heritage: a literature review by Cornelia Dümcke and Mikhail Gnedovsky, EENC Paper, July 2013 (source)
Wrestling with the Social Value of Heritage: Problems, Dilemmas and Opportunities, Journal of Community Archaeology & Heritage (source)