Heritage Heroes - 6x22 min & 1x47 min debate - English

July 2010

“Heritage Heroes” sees us scour the world for the people and organisations who are rescuing, safeguarding and reviving our built inheritance. “If a nation loses its memory, it loses everything.”
From princes to prime ministers, archivists to anarchists, our 18 heroes take us across the world, to Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Australia. Whether restoring ancestral homes in China, revitalising a derelict railway line in New York or renovating colonial seafront buildings in Zanzibar, these individuals reveal how the positive effects of urban preservation transcend national borders. All of them demonstrate how heritage conservation can not only contribute to the sense of cultural identity and well-being of a region, but also help bolster trade by creating jobs and attracting tourists.
Full information about the series can be found on the dedicated Heritage Heroes Website

Part 1: Australia / Bahrain / Cuba
In the first programme of the series, Heritage Heroes meets Jack Mundey, an Australian trade unionist who created an unlikely coalition between labourers and students in Sydney; Sheikha Mai, a government minister who established Bahrain’s first World Heritage Site; and Eusebio Leal Spengler, the inspiration behind the restoration of over 300 landmark buildings in Old Havana, Cuba.

Part 2: Beirut / New York / India
In the second programme of the series, Heritage Heroes meets Joshua David and Robert Hammond, who campaigned for over a decade to transform a 15-kilometre elevated railway line in New York City into a green public walkway; Rafiq Hariri, the slain Lebanese prime minister whose ambitious post-civil war regeneration projects in the 1990s received worldwide acclaim; and Karan Grover, who won a 22-year battle to protect the ancient pre-Mughal Islamic architecture in Champaner-Pavagadh, India, from gravel dynamiting and redevelopment.

Part 3: Zanzibar / Norway / China
In the third programme of the series, Heritage Heroes meets Yuai Mtumwa, who employs a team of women plasterers in Zanzibar to restore Stone Town’s dilapidated architecture; one of the many beneficiaries of a 20-year investment by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture; academic Dag Nilsen, student Kjell Jacobsen and museum director Hans Pederson, who spearheaded a campaign to save Norway’s longest terrace of 19th century wooden buildings from becoming a car park; and a trio of Chinese heroes ; Zheng Liqun, Huang Yung Sung and Ji Ping; who via the Cichen Development Corporation prevented the 2,400-year-old town from being swallowed by factories and apartment blocks.

Part 4: Nepal / New Orleans / Saudi Arabia
In the fourth programme of the series, Heritage Heroes features Rohit Ranjitkar, Eduard Sekler and Erich Theophile, who have helped to save over 50 buildings in the temple complex of Kathmandu’s Durbar Square through the founding of the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust; New Orleans activist Patricia Gay, who has assisted over 500 families to rebuild their homes and neighbourhoods in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; and Mohamed Turshi Al Soghayer, of Rejal Almaa in Saudi Arabia, who inspired his neighbours not to move to breeze bloc homes with their ‘mod cons’ but to stay put and renovate their five-storey stone traditional dwellings.

Part 5: Morocco / UK / Argentina
In the fifth programme of the series, Heritage Heroes features Moroccan architect Abdel-Latif El Hajjami, who employed top craftsmen to refurbish the ancient medina of Fez and save its mosques and ancient buildings from redevelopment; Britain Prince’s Regeneration Trust, founded by Prince Charles, which saved one of the first industrial outposts in Cornwall; and Santiago Pusso, a music teacher-turned-activist who created a grassroots movement to stop the demolition of some of the finest buildings in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Part 6: Ladakh / Beijing / Turkey
In this installment, Heritage Heroes meets Andre Alexander, who used indigenous labour to restore 178 mud and timber buildings in Ladakh, India; He Shuzhong, who took on the powers-that-be to prevent the demolition of 2,000-year-old courtyards in Beijing; and professor Yen, thrice elected mayor of Eskisehir in central Turkey, who inspired the revival of his town, including the complete rehabilitation of the old Ottoman heart of the city.



  • Continent(s):
    Europe / Africa / Middle East / Asia Pacific / North America / Central America / South America /
  • Topic(s):
    Conservation / Culture / Development / Education / Economics / Post-conflict / Politics /
  • Audio:
  • Duration:
    6x22' and 1x47'
  • Location(s):
    Australia, Bahrain, Cuba, USA, Lebanon, India, Tanzania, Norway, China, Nepal, Saudi, Morocco, UK, Argentina, Ladakh, Turkey