This research dissertation attempts to provide insight into the ways in which perceptions of social sustainability held by architects and heritage conservationists relate to the evolution of urban form, specifically within the context of urban preservation. Using the case study location of the historic city of Bath in southwest England, formally inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1987 by UNESCO, the intersection of social sustainability and heritage conservation was explored through qualitative research built on a phenomenological epistemological framework, utilising thematic analysis of interviews of individualswith expertise in the built environment of the historic city to derive individual perceptions about the research question. Data was analyzed based from themes revealed within the academic literature surrounding heritage conservation, social sustainability, sense of place, agency, and complexity as they relate to Bath. Participant perceptions were further considered against indicators of social sustainability, including the targets for the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities (“Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable”). The data suggests that although there are potential conflicts within the common indicators of social sustainability as they relate to the practice of heritage conservation, nonetheless the perceptions of these indicators, specifically within the context of Bath, as held by the research participants primarily revealed commonalities along major themes. Furthermore, the data exposed opportunities for additional inquiry into the relationship between the two identified international programs and their impact on urbanism. Participants showed varying levels of engagement with the intersectionality of social sustainability and heritage conservation as they relate to the city of Bath, yet all disclosed professional intent to operationalise their understandings, in response to their individual perceptions of how to best serve the well-being of the historic city and the social relationships therein.
MSc SUSTAINABLE URBAN DEVELOPMENT, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD - MASTER’S DISSERTATION: