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Current Challenges and Risks for Preservation of the Historic Center of Salvador

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World Heritage Patinas

Part of the book series: The Latin American Studies Book Series ((LASBS))


Since the listing of the first churches and convents located in the Historic Center of Salvador (CHS), in 1938, a few months after the creation of IPHAN, the tutelage of the federal preservation agency over the area has progressively expanded. Today, the architectural, urban and landscape complexes of the Historic Center of Salvador and Lower Town, contiguous and protected by IPHAN, cover an area of more than 80 hectares, containing tens of thousands of properties. Although, over the past 80 years, there has been a progressive expansion of the legally protected areas in the CHS, it is not possible to say that the area is in a better state of conservation or with greater vitality than at the beginning of this process. This situation arises from several processes, which include, since the creation of a new urban centrality, in the 1970s, a few kilometers east of the founding city, to the adoption of requalification programs that proved to be wrong, and also by the weak articulation between the various spheres of government in the management process and in the planning of interventions carried out in the area.

Nivaldo Vieira de Andrade Junior—Professor at the Faculty of Architecture of the Federal University of Bahia (FAUFBA), Postgraduate Program in Architecture and Urbanism (PPGAU/UFBA) and the Professional Master’s Degree in Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Historical Centers of the same institution (MP-CECRE/UFBA).

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  1. 1.

    It should be noted that, through Decree-Law No. 55, of November 18, 1966, the national tourism policy, the Brazilian Tourism Company (EMBRATUR) and the National Tourism Council were created at the same time.

  2. 2.

    The Agreement was signed as a consequence of the International Project Seminar: Urban Rehabilitation and City Culture, promoted in 2001 at Faufba, with the participation of professors and students from Brazilian, Italian and Chilean universities and sponsored by Conder, with the area between the streets of Pilar and Julião and Avenida Jequitaia as an intervention area. From the signing of the agreement, in 2003, the Pilar Urban Requalification Laboratory (RUP) was created, within the scope of Faufba, to elaborate the aforementioned plan and a series of architectural projects for the area. Both the seminar and the RUP were conceived and coordinated by Profa. Esterzilda Berenstein de Azevedo; the author of this article participated in the aforementioned seminar, still as a student of the undergraduate course in architecture and urbanism at Ufba, and, between 2003 and 2006, integrated, as an architect and master's student in the Graduate Program in Architecture and Urbanism at Ufba, the RUP technical team, co-authoring many of the projects developed for the area.

  3. 3.

    For more information on the Pilar Urban Rehabilitation Plan and the architectural projects developed within the scope of the RUP/Faufba, as well as the Brasil Arquitetura project for Vila Nova Esperança and other social housing projects developed for CHS in the last decades, cf. Andrade Junior (2015).

  4. 4.

    The apartments at Trapiche Adelaide Residencial, for example, had, at the time of their construction, in 2009, the most expensive square meter in the real estate market in Salvador, in the order of R$ 10,000 (Grupo …, 2009). Today, after more than ten years, they have grown even more: a one-bedroom apartment in Porto Trapiche Residence, with 95 m² of private area, is currently being sold for between R$ 1.25 million and R$ 2.1 million - a value between R$ 13,000 and R$ 22,000 per square meter. (source: Research conducted on the website on June 3, 2020).

  5. 5.

    The Institute of Architects of Brazil - Department of Bahia (IAB-BA), the Council of Architecture and Urbanism of Bahia (CAU-BA) and the Union of Architects and Urban Planners of the State of Bahia (Sinarq-BA) have forwarded it to the Unesco's World Heritage Committee in Paris, on June 30, 2015, a document denouncing the state of abandonment of the CHS and, “in view of the seriousness of the situation and the imminence of new demolitions”, they asked that Committee “ send, with urgency, a monitoring mission with the objective of assessing the ruin situation of the Historic Center of Salvador and its possible declaration as a World Heritage in Danger site”(Instituto … 2015, p. 4). Although the entities received, on August 4, 2015, a letter from the UNESCO World Heritage Center acknowledging receipt of the complaint and committing themselves to take the appropriate measures (UNESCO 2015), until now, after five years, there is no news of any action in this regard.

  6. 6.

    The Metropolitan Region of Salvador (RMS) has a population of 3,9 million inhabitants and consists of 13 Municipalities.

  7. 7.

    "soteropolitano" is the person born in Salvador


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Correspondence to Nivaldo Vieira de Andrade Junior .

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de Andrade Junior, N.V. (2021). Current Challenges and Risks for Preservation of the Historic Center of Salvador. In: Christofoletti, R., Olender, M. (eds) World Heritage Patinas. The Latin American Studies Book Series. Springer, Cham.

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