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Liverpool stripped of UNESCO World Heritage status (bbc.co.uk)
50 points by bananapear 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 41 comments





I'm not a Liverpool resident but I do live in a UNESCO site myself. I'm glad that they are willing to show they have teeth and pull the status from people who are ignoring their guidelines

If we bulldozed the Taj mahal and put a football stadium there, it would rightly be stripped of its status. I don't know why Liverpool thinks they would be special except;

> "I find it incomprehensible that Unesco would rather Bramley Moore Dock remain a derelict wasteland, rather than making a positive contribution to the city's future and that of its residents," she said.

This isn't a binary decision. Instead of leaving a world heritage site to decay to a point where it's the cheapest place in the city to bulldoze and buolda football stadium, investing in maintaining the area would " make a positive contribution to the city's future" to use their words.


> I don't know why Liverpool thinks they would be special

Liverpool culture in general is to see itself as something a bit different to the rest of the UK, and to have a bit of a defiant attitude to authority and what anyone else thinks. There's a lot of historical and political reasons why, some that are still very raw in people's minds.

> Instead of leaving a world heritage site to decay to a point where it's the cheapest place in the city to bulldoze and buolda football stadium

Right - they should have maintained and used the docks in sympathy with their heritage, rather than just erasing them entirely.


That's the whole point. You can repurpose the buildings within reason, that's what they've done in Porto where I've spent some time. Porto used to have lots of derelict buildings in its Heritage area, they've been rebuilt according to strict rules and it's fine.

which means turning them into more expensive flats, which the majority of residents cannot hope to afford. It has been the case for plenty of others parts of the docks, hide new stuff in old buildings. but there comes a point when you dont need more flats/apartments

Nobody is claiming that the only thing to put there is flats or apartments (except you). They also don't need to keep all the existing buildings, they just need to retain the character of the area. You can build a new building there as long as it's in keeping.

Have you been to the docks? They are already filled with bars and restaurants and apartments. Given hospitality as been so badly affected by covid many of those are struggling. They have just recently built Liverpool one for the cities shopping needs. So what else do they out there? Liverpool has few if any skyscrapers, compared to say Manchester. If they want to attract companies the dock buildings don't get them the sort of square footage that a taller building will, so rents have to be higher and are then uncompetitive with e.g Manchester, which is only 25 miles away.

Manchester also has 2 football stadiums but neither of them are easily accessible from the city centre, so for other large sporting and entertainment events a stadium on the dock would be much better than the alternatives in the North West.


Part of the reason why they lost the status was the high-rise glass buildings they built. What's in them? If you took that space and put it in buildings in the docks instead they'd be in a better position.

lol look at what they are building on the site - http://stadiumdb.com/designs/eng/bramley_moore_dock_stadium

Liverpool clearly lost interest in the World Heritage state and decided to go in another direction. Have the cake and eat it too.


The worst part of it all is from your link:

> s. The lower is directly connected to the dockland architecture, its brickwork being inspired directly by the nearby Stanley Dock. Also, the latticework brick facade would be a loose tribute to Archibald Leitch (whose works include Goodison), sometimes called the father of English stadia. In a later iteration the latticework pattern was simplified and strengthened by Pattern Design.

They even made a token effort to be in keeping, and then planned [1] to be the view across the waterfront. Insanity!

[0] http://stadiumdb.com/pic-projects/bramley_moore_dock_stadium... [1] http://stadiumdb.com/pic-projects/bramley_moore_dock_stadium...


Man that looks sooooo out of place in the middle of the docks.

it's a monster, Unesco is absolutely right to say that this is not congruent with a world heritage site.. They were also warned multiple times apparently.

Sounds like the UNESCO was very consistent at least. Telling Liverpool authorities long in advance that the changes would have this impact and then following up on that.

I'm not sure anyone can really be that surprised. Sounds like Liverpool made a very intentional trade off and will have to live with it.


That's my understanding of the process too.

The historic docks are hard to redevelop. The Albert Dock was successfully redeveloped and includes museums and an art gallery, along with various cafes and tourist destinations. That can't be repeated for the whole waterfront.

Although the docks are historically _important_, they're not really that interesting to visit. They are immediately adjacent to both the city centre and light industrial sites further to the north, but don't add any value in their own right. Sympathetic redevelopment might have been possible in some cases, but I think the city would benefit more from development of something of modern relevance. I'm not totally convinced by the Liverpool Waters[1] plans, but they're at least more likely to generate sustainable economic activity.

[1] https://liverpoolwaters.co.uk/


The execution of Liverpool Waters so far is pretty crap. Reading-on-Sea.

> Liverpool has seen more peaks and troughs than most, and it's a city which has changed immeasurably since 2004 when the World Heritage Status was conferred.

> Back then, there was no Liverpool One shopping centre, no hint that Everton would consider building a multi-million pound waterfront stadium and its year as European Capital of Culture hadn't happened. The city has changed.

Who gives a flying toss. Pretty much every city on earth has a ubiquitous monolithic shopping centre. It doesn't mean shit. Nor does a big football stadium (and how does "considering" building a stadium "change" a city?).


They are free to have them of course, nobody ever argued with that. But don't pretend the monolithic shopping centre is "world heritage". It's very simple - it doesn't look anymore like it was 30 years ago when it qualified.

> But don't pretend the monolithic shopping centre is "world heritage"

Nobody's pretending that - you're responding to an imaginary argument.


> Who gives a flying toss. Pretty much every city on earth has a ubiquitous monolithic shopping centre. It doesn't mean shit. Nor does a big football stadium (and how does "considering" building a stadium "change" a city?).

I don't think that's what the author really means and I don't know if you're not familiar with Liverpool. 'Changed' doesn't mean 'they just built another shopping centre'. Liverpool before the Duke built Liverpool One was in another bad slump, after many bad slumps for many decades. The change wasn't the new shopping centre, it was generally the start of a bit more confidence and optimism in the whole city. Lots of things came together to make that change, and it's certainly in a better place now. Possibly they think the world heritage status, as well as the Paradise development, were means to ends.


Isn't the point of being a UNESCO WH site that you value preserving and leverage the vestiges of the past to you benefit?

Sounds like this city never managed to leverage the past to their benefit and thus made the right call to move on. Own your decision.


If anyone's curious to see a bird's eye view of the dock: https://www.google.com/maps/@53.4245822,-3.0041219,527m/data...

Wikipedia also has an image of the listed building on the dock (a type of UK protection for historic buildings): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bramley-Moore_Dock

According to the development plan, the listed tower will be re-developed as well.

Currently, the entire site is inaccessible (including the listed building), and sits behind locked gates.


> "Places like Liverpool should not be faced with the binary choice between maintaining heritage status or regenerating left-behind communities and the wealth of jobs and opportunities that come with it," he said.

He seams to not understand what heritage means. Liverpool can renovate as much as they like, they can even tear down the older buildings if they like, but they can’t be a UNESCO heritage site while doing so, and that should be obvious to everyone.


I used to work in Manchester and my commute to work on the tram was pretty bad. A lot of heritage buildings were derelict or they demolish them and build yuppie tenements and fancy lad shit that is tacky and generic like in Salford Quays.

The Irish remdelling in 1996 improved the centre of Manchester. I haven't lived or worked there for a long time, but I was interested to watch Manctopia [0] to see how modern development was effecting the city

[0] https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000lwn1


> The Irish remdelling in 1996 improved the centre of Manchester.

The 'remodelling' missed me by less than an hour.


In case anyone did not get it, "The Irish rem[o]delling in 1996" is referring to an IRA bomb set off in the center of the city: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_Manchester_bombing

> The Irish remdelling in 1996

this is a very callous way to refer to terrorists detonating a 3300lb bomb in the middle of a city centre, which injured 212 people

I don't think Americans would be very pleased if you referred to 9/11 as "Saudi remodelling"


That reminds me of the story (possibly apocryphal) about the American tourists who went to Belfast of all places and asked for an "Irish car bomb" in a pub. I'm fairly sure the second-hand embarrassment is still radiating across the Atlantic.

Given that Americans were the ones paying for the IRA to blow up Manchester and kill kids in Warrington, I'm sure they'd be fine.

The sentiment comes from the Labour MP Terry Rooney ("The best thing that ever happened to Manchester"), although it was widely echoed by many people with similar dry humour.


Winning a premier league title and the scousers go nuts. Maybe being a WHS isn't as financially valuable as having an elite footballing culture that brings in many more millions from around the world.

So UNESCO status means a stagnant city that never changes?

Liverpool is a working city, not a museum. By all means it should be respectful to its heritage, but also respectful to continue the the development that made that city worthy of UNESCO status in the first place, and continue it.

If anything, not developing a progressive industrial city, keeping up with the times, would be worthy of removal of UNESCO status.

The city made the right choice.


I don't think having UNESCO status means that you can do nothing - it's that you have to be careful with what you do if you care about keeping this status. If you look at the main photo on The Guardian's article on this subject (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jul/21/unesco-strip...) you'll see that there's a bunch of generic glass-and-steel buildings that have sprung up around that area. The BBC article went with pictures that do not show this for some reason, and it's easy to come away from that article thinking that Liverpool has been punished for just tidying the place up a little bit, when they've done some pretty substantial development that really changes the character of the area.

As someone who is neither an architect nor personally involved in UNESCO I've no idea what they would have considered acceptable or compatible with World Heritage status, but I am sure that there is some way that land could have been developed in a way that wouldn't have drawn their ire (like not planning a 55000 seat stadium, for example). Whether Liverpool would have considered such a development worth it or not, I don't know.


Pretty sure BBC's tone was clear when they went with the "secret meeting in China" angle

Thanks for sharing that photo from The Guardian. Parent is right, Liverpool isn't a museum, but no point listing it as one in that case


The world heritage status was awarded for specific reasons. If you take them away, you lose the status. Pretty simple. Some world heritage sites are more significant than others and in the grand scheme of things fewer people will lament the loss of Liverpool’s docks than, say, Palmyra. Just don’t whine when deliberate actions result in the loss of status. Plenty of places manage just fine.

Also, the article is quite slanted and plays the usual trope of the plucky English standing up to the evil foreigners. That’s stupid and unnecessarily inflammatory, though unfortunately not unsurprising from the Beeb.


> not developing a progressive industrial city, keeping up with the times, would be worthy of removal of UNESCO status

I don't know if you literally don't know what UNESCO is, but the point is the opposite of promoting 'progressive industrial' development of historical sites.


The irony being Liverpool is not a historical site - it barely existed until the 18th century. It's known for its industrial heritage.

There’s been quite a lot of world history since the 18th century. Think of some of the events seen from these buildings, like the announcement of the sinking of the Titanic - that building was recently restored. And I think Liverpool has some architecture world firsts - first curtain wall I think.

Plus aren’t other major industrial sites heritage sites? Saltaire? So I don’t see the irony that you do.


You can change all you want, but then you will no longer fit the definition of World Heritage site.

Unesco status mean that you preserve the past.

Well, it at least means not bulldozing the historical part and building a football stadium on the rubble.

But why are they whining then?

UNESCO heritage doesn't mean never changing cities but preserving the heritage places to keep their historical value. You can't habe a historical dock and change it so it doesn't look like the original and still want to call this UNESCO heritage.


My initial though was "OMG were the Beatles immigrants?"



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