THE CULTURAL AND NATURAL DIVERSITY around the world is breathtaking; however, in the past it was up to each country to protect that heritage. For decades, UNESCO — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — bestowed locations with the World Heritage Site designation, requiring the protection of properties with “outstanding universal value” in order to be listed. To quote directly: “To be deemed of Outstanding Universal Value, a property must also meet the conditions of integrity and/or authenticity and must have an adequate protection and management system to ensure its safeguarding.” By doing so, all countries of the world took a big step forward in promoting a world consciousness of the innate value of country heritages — both cultural and natural.
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There was a time when Loews Philadelphia Hotel was America’s first skyscraper. Designed and constructed in Art Deco style with rare woods and marble from around the world, it was also home to the first savings bank in the United States. An imposing 33 stories, the building boasted curved glass and daring geometric shapes. The top floor was reserved for Philadelphia’s elite, an exclusive setting where many powerful business deals were negotiated. That was all in a past life.