Understanding character

Flint

Flint

Historic character lies at the heart of local distinctiveness and sense of place. No two places share a history, so every place has a unique historic character, which is a powerful asset in regeneration. Understanding that character and how it was formed is the foundation for planning, design and management that sustains local distinctiveness.

We can capture local distinctiveness through characterisation –  identifying how places have been shaped over time and what makes them special. We find historic character in patterns of space and connection, as well as in traditions of building.  These are the ingredients of unique identity, and we can use them to ensure that as places continue to change, they also keep hold of what makes them special.

Cadw has been looking at a series of towns across Wales, each one of which has its own special character.  The studies set out a definition of local character which can inform the management of change.