Conference paper

Formalising the informal at Flinders Street Station: the tension between heritage and spatial management

Heritage buildings Public spaces Transport infrastructure Melbourne

Governing informal and adaptive cultural and spatial practices that occur within formal spaces and sites comes with a unique set of challenges, especially in mediating competing interests that lay claim to that space. Heritage preservation, particularly via the increasing focus on intangible heritage, is one of the key mechanisms that is designed to intersect this process and represent the informal cultural practices in need of preservation. However, the interdependent relationship that exists between informal socio-spatial practice and formal sites, can be seen as challenging the heritage framework. Using the example of the entrance to Flinders Street Station – and the iconic steps and clocks that serves as a popular gathering point – we can see how the development of an informal cultural practice embedded within the Melbourne imaginary is also challenged by competing policy objectives.

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