Theses Master's

"Behind the Ecce Homo," Rural Development Policy and the Effects of Depopulation on the Preservation of Spanish Heritage

Sanchez-Sanchez, Alberto

The ongoing process of rural depopulation that Europe has experienced during the 20th century has had a considerably negative effect on the conservation of vernacular and historic buildings located in rural areas. Although this is a continental phenomenon, it seems to be especially prevalent in Southern Europe, and particularly in Spain. Taking the infamous restoration of the "Ecce Homo" fresco in the town of Borja (Zaragoza) as a starting point, this thesis aims to examine this problem, explore its magnitude, and identify challenges and opportunities to incorporate historic preservation into existing policies for rural development.

The primary aim of this thesis is to build more knowledge and understanding about this issue, which has been the focus of very limited scholarly research. Therefore, this thesis includes a detailed description of depopulation and rural heritage in the European and Spanish context, based on an extensive literature review and supplemented by the study of a particular Spanish rural area, the "comarcas" of Daroca, Jiloca, and Molina. In addition, a thorough policy review is presented, analyzing the extent to which historic preservation has been considered as part of the existing rural development policies at the European, Spanish, and regional levels. Finally, a series of research- and policy- related recommendations are proposed.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Avrami, Erica C.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 20, 2016