San Antonio to Host Fall 'Living Heritage' Symposium

Academics, financiers, and sustainability strategists from  across the United States and abroad later this year will meet in San  Antonio to discuss ways to preserve and promote the area's culturally  important places and practices, WOAI News reports.

The city's three-day "Second Annual Living Heritage Symposium" is  set for September 5-7 at the Bexar County Courthouse and will focus on  how to promote "culturally significant properties," such as family-owned  businesses that safeguard production or craftsmanship methods  associated with San Antonio's ethnic fabric.

Shannon Miller with the city's Office of Historic Preservation says  this year's gathering will feature a culinary theme and tour that will  expose participants to the city's foods and chefs.

Miller says living heritage describes local traditions that have  survived the decades or, in come case, centuries, such as "building  trades, or cooking techniques, or games that kids play, or things like  that.

"It's parts of our culture that also deserve preservation," Miller says.

She says so-called "heritage businesses" are an important part of the living heritage concept.

Heritage business criteria are defined by the United Nations.

"You have to have been in the same family for a number of years,  been in operation for at least 20 or more, maybe located in an historic  landmark; there are a number of ways to qualify," says Miller.

Miller says San Antonio currently is considering adopting elements of San Francisco's "legacy business" living heritage model, tailored  to save usually small commercial operators that are closely identified  with a neighborhood or community and threatened with displacement or  closure by larger or chain competitors.

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