Cultural heritage

Cultural heritage is the reflection of our legacy through physical artifacts and intangible characteristics inherited from our ancestors and passed down from generation to generation. It includes tangible assets like our UNESCO World Heritage Site and intangible resources such as spiritual and culinary customs, traditions and languages.

In order to document and preserve our extensive and significant heritage, we must continue to engage in mapping and identifying sites, customs, languages, traditions, places and people. While this is easily accomplished with tangible sites and landmarks, we must work to strengthen our database of intangible assets.

Historic District Cultural Landscape Inventory: San Francisco, California

The Civic Center Historic District comprises a roughly 58-acre and 15-block part of San Francisco that has multiple historic designations. It was designated locally as a San Francisco Landmark District (1994 SFLD), a National Register of Historic Places (1978 NR) and a National Historic Landmark (1987 NHL). To better understand and assess the site’s history and extant resources the City commissioned a Cultural Landscape Inventory (CLI). A CLI is a versatile document that provides the stewards of the Civic Center Historic District a valuable reference which enriches people’s knowledge of the history of the site, deepens the understanding of surviving features and whether they contribute to the historic character of the district and provides an understanding of the district’s significance. A CLI is a guiding document more than a prescriptive one; it is a resource that directs and manages decisions rather than making them outright. It culls historic and current information, bringing it all together in one place and providing a database, analysis and framework for future decisions affecting the Civic Center Historic District.

By working with our residents we can recognize and protect intangible heritage resources through oral histories and cultural mapping. By creating a cultural map, we can transform our intangible heritage and customs into a physical and visual tool that establishes places in our community where important traditions take place.