League Cultural Diplomacy is taking the lead role in a new social media and blogging project called Phan Thiet Buildings, which aims to raise awareness of the interesting buildings of Phan Thiet (Vietnam) and of the importance of preserving heritage architecture.
Reminders of Phan Thiet’s rich history can be found throughout the city and its surrounds; remnants of the ancient Cham civilisation, French occupation and the American military can all be found at various buildings around Phan Thiet, some of which are still in use, and some of which now lie abandoned. Phan Thiet Buildings will feature buildings from these periods along with the town’s military, religious and modernist architecture through the project’s blog site (www.phanthietbuildings.wordpress.com) and its associated Facebook Group, Interesting Buildings of Phan Thiet.
Due to the current rapid rate of development in Phan Thiet, many of the town’s more interesting and historically valuable buildings are being demolished to make way for bland new ones, diminishing the character of the town and erasing aspects of its history. This is a common problem across Vietnam and in many developing nations.
The project intends to connect people interested in the history and built heritage of Phan Thiet and provide an avenue to learn more about the history of the city. As the project unravels more about the history of the buildings and sites featured, updates will be posted on the blog and on the Facebook page.
Buildings are important for cultural diplomacy purposes and one can learn a great deal about the history and culture of a place by examining its buildings. Buildings can speak to us, telling us about past events, people and struggles whilst helping us to appreciate history, different architectural styles and the things that make a place “unique”. In other words, buildings can convey messages ‘where words fail’ to do so!
Using blogs and social media is one simple way that individuals and groups can raise local awareness of the value and importance of heritage architecture and this project has been inspired by similar projects in other cities.