Crowdsourcing heritage list, the democratic way

Crowdsourcing heritage list, the democratic way

Citizens identify and compile a comprehensive list of heritage buildings, structures and traditions in every BBMP ward.

The list then gets filtered, analysed and routed to the state government for formulating a planned heritage conservation strategy. This is the big idea behind a new public campaign slowly gaining traction, both offline and online.

Conceptualised as part of the #HeritageBeku campaign, this crowdsourcing initiative is about democratising heritage conservation, a bottom-up approach. "Unless you have lived in a particular place/ward, you will never notice the heritage value of the location.

It could be a building, a tree, a lake or even a location rooted in local history," explains civic activist Priya Chetty-Rajagopal.

Compilation of the heritage list will take two routes: A formal approach that involves the ward corporator, and an informal, participatory route where active citizens are invited to share their list. "The plan is to get citizens who want to be on the ward committees lead this effort. The list could be submitted through informal WhatsApp groups," she adds.  

But the exercise will not be limiting in its definition of heritage.

"Let youngsters talk to their grandparents to discover the historical significance of buildings, traditions and cultures in their locality." This could be a great way for senior citizens and youngsters to build active bonds in collectively rediscovering the local heritage.

Local schools and colleges will be invited to collaborate in the initiative, conjuring up projects with a heritage connect. Getting beyond what remains, the project also wants to list what is lost forever.

Some of the heritage structures listed for conservation in the draft Revised Master Plan (RMP-2031) have already disappeared.

A crowdsourced list is expected to put this in perspective.  

One spillover benefit from this entire exercise could be in documenting the city's endangered oral traditions.

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