Cuenca is revising rules to protect historic buildings and will have a new comprehensive plan in place by summer 2010, according to officials.
Mayor Paul Granda says that because of weak and poorly enforced ordinances, a number of buildings that should have been protected have been demolished in recent years. “The ordinances that maintain the city’s architectural heritage were developed in 1983 and, except for some revisions in 1999, have remained mostly unchanged,” he says. “We are working on new rules to make sure this doesn’t happen in the future.”
Interest in protecting Cuenca’s heritage is not simply a matter of local interest, Granda says. The city’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site depends on adherence to an agreement to protect and promote local patrimony. Joaquin Moscoso, director of the National Institute of Cultural Patrimony, says that it is time to reevaluate and strengthen ordinances to protect Cuenca’s history. “UNESCO requires it but, more important, it is in the interest of the country and the city to preserve its heritage for future generations.”
The new plan involves revising the inventory of historic buildings as well applying more stringent requirements for architectural alterations. The city has imposed a moratorium on new projects involving historic structures until the revised plan is in place.
Photo caption: Officials are strengthening protection for historic buildings like this one.