Beauty and the beast

Preservation of cultural heritage inscribed in UNESCO

Pedro Daniel Oliveira

Architect Francisco Vizeu Pinheiro gives positive marks to the preservation of cultural heritage inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List, but there is much more to be done. It is for the Government of Macau to implement protectionist measures against the atmospheric pollution and disproportionate building height quota in certain areas of the territory. Another concern to do is to present a credible public consultation on the historical legacies.

“IThe balance is positive in these ten years since the inclusion of the Historic Centre of Macau in the UNESCO World Heritage List, but we should not sit on our laurels because Macau has grown mainly due to the liberalization of the gaming industry. Since then there was a boom in building construction and population growth, which still continues. By 2050, Macau may be close to a million people,” said Vizeu Pinheiro to O CLARIM.

“There are more cars running, but the streets of the city and the historical sites stay the same. Increasing building height cuts the flow of air, and the Historic Centre is now a very polluted area and is bad for the health of residents and visitors,” warned the architect.

In his opinion, “there are solutions.” One of them is “to cut road traffic in the city center, making it more pedestrian, either temporarily or permanently,” because stopping the cars from running gives more room to plant trees and to create shades for children.

Vizeu Pinheiro also criticized “the great concentration of visitors in small areas, such as between the Senado Square and the Ruins of Saint Paul’s, the A-Ma Temple and little more than that.” For this reason, he argued that “there should be more distribution channels because if there is an alternative network, there is no congestion or crowding.”

He argues that there must be “fluid management, not only in the Macau Peninsula, but also the creation of more alternative areas on the islands of Taipa and Coloane, such as the Iec Long Firecracker Factory in the historic center of Taipa Village and also the Coloane coastline, among others.”

“What is really missing is a real public consultation on the master plan of heritage sites, because the one that was held last year on the Law of Protection of Cultural Heritage, which was already defined and approved, was only an exercise to respond to UNESCO requirements. Moreover, no plan was shown, only some basic principles,” described Vizeu Pinheiro, adding that “the questionnaire was biased in order to manipulate the answers of the public.”

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