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UTSA architecture professors study economic, cultural effects of S.A. Missions

Sedef Doganer
William Dupont

Sedef Doganer (top) and William Dupont

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(Sept. 11, 2013) -- Sedef Doganer and William Dupont, FAIA, professors in The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Architecture, are studying the economic and cultural effects of the Historic San Antonio Missions campaign to become a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site (WHS). In addition, the pair's research aims to help local business within the missions' surrounding communities flourish in the midst of the campaign.

The San Antonio Missions have been on the tentative list for consideration to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. They are scheduled to undergo review in 2015. If granted, the Missions district would be the first Texas site to attain World Heritage Site status. This status could potentially bring millions of dollars in economic development to the area.

In a study titled "Cultural Heritage Tourism and Authenticity: San Antonio Missions Historic District," Doganer and Dupont propose a model designed to leverage the Missions' local communities to advance the campaign for World Heritage Site status. The study, with input from David Bojanic, Anheuser-Busch Foundation Professor of Tourism in the UTSA College of Business and the San Antonio Small Business Development Center, is published in the conference proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Studies, Repairs and Maintenance of Heritage Architecture.

The proposed model would preserve the authenticity and integrity of the site by recruiting the missions' surrounding communities and tapping into local resources. They researchers suggest that to create an environment conducive to heritage tourism and positive economic development, the existing heritage of the local community would be promoted as a tourism resource.

"The San Antonio Missions are so popular because they give an authentic historical representation of Spanish architecture and the city's heritage," said Doganer, primary investigator for the study. "If the missions were to become a World Heritage Site, millions of dollars would pour into the area. If mismanaged, this might possibly be to the detriment of the authenticity that brought people to it in the first place."

Tourism can bring many benefits to the local economy, but it can also disturb the quality of life of local residents and the cultural authenticity to which tourists are drawn. In 2009, approximately 1.7 million tourists visited either one or all five of the missions. That number is expected to substantially increase if the missions to receive World Heritage Site status.

The study draws upon on existing plans by San Antonio to improve the San Antonio River, along which the missions rest. By educating local residents and business owners and giving them the tools to preserve the authenticity of their community, Doganer and Dupont hope the proposed model will be used to lead to a sustainable, unique cultural site for future generations. If effective, the proposed model will create jobs and direct the economic benefits to local entrepreneurs, thereby keeping the influx of money local where it would be spent and re-spent many times over.

"We could wait several generations to discover what the passage of time will leave behind for us to treasure, or we can proactively pursue the real market value of cultural heritage today," said Dupont, San Antonio Conservation Society Endowed Professor. "San Antonio has huge assets within the cultural heritage resources of our region. Tapping these cultural assets requires a little advance planning and some specialized knowledge of what they are and how to use them most effectively."

The UTSA College of Architecture Center for Cultural Sustainability has submitted a proposal for a community-based cultural heritage project based upon the study's model to the City of San Antonio for consideration.

The Center for Cultural Sustainability is a center for excellence within the UTSA College of Architecture. It provides academic research and services to benefit communities, completes large-scale research projects, provides research and educational opportunities for graduate students and convenes leaders in the field for dialogue on global practices concerning sustainable development and construction.

>> Learn more at the UTSA College of Architecture website and the UTSA College of Architecturs Center for Cultural Sustainability website.

 

 

Events

Thursday, May 5, 5 p.m.

String Project Spring Concert

This end-of-semester concert will feature the 3rd through 8th grade students who have participated in the UTSA String Project this year. The event is free and open to the public.
Buena Vista Theater, Downtown Campus

Friday, May 6, 8 p.m.

First Friday Stargazing

The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy, Curtis Vaughan Observatory invites everyone to join them for their monthly stargazing event on top of the Flawn Science Building.
Curtis Vaughan Observatory, Main Campus

Sunday, May 8, 1 p.m.

Accordions Across Culture

May’s Free Second Sunday at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures features "Accordions Across Cultures," with performances of Mexican, German and Czech accordion music, a documentary screening and crafts for the kids.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures

Monday, May 9, 8 a.m.

The Honeynet Project Workshop

This three-day event will focus on the tools, tactics and motives involved in computer and network attacks. Attendees from around the world will take part in world-class hands-on trainings and technical discussions.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom, Main Campus

Thursday, May 12, 4 p.m.

Master of Public Administration Open House

Visit with faculty, alumni and students to discuss the benefits of and requirements for a Master Degree in Public Administration and/or the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration & Leadership.
Meeting Assembly Room (BVB 1.338), Downtown Campus

Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m.

UTSA Spring Commencement: Ceremony One

UTSA Spring Commencement ceremony for the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Sciences.
Alamodome

Saturday, May 14, 4 p.m.

UTSA Spring Commencement: Ceremony Two

UTSA Spring Commencement ceremony for the College of Business, the College of Public Policy and University College.
Alamodome

Sunday, May 15, 2 p.m.

UTSA Spring Commencement: Ceremony Three

UTSA Spring Commencement ceremony for the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal and Fine Arts.
Alamodome

Wednesday, May 18, 3 p.m.

The Great Staff Appreciation Event

The UTSA community is invited to honor the roughly 2,600 UTSA staff members who contribute to the success of the university and its students.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom, Main Campus

Thursday, May 19, 6 p.m.

Superintendent Certification Program Information Session

Join UTSA faculty and staff, current students, and area central office administrators/program alumni to learn about this exciting accelerated and web-enhanced program leading to Texas Superintendent Certification. The event is free and open to the public.
BVB 1.322, Downtown Campus


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