Re-branding Landscapes of Forgotten Resorts. Case of the Healing Resort Kemeri in Latvia
Landscape architecture and art
Health resorts have been important landscape identity elements and economy drivers in European cities since the beginning of their development. The sea coastal area in Latvia is rich in sulphur springs that have been used for health procedures since 19th century. Kemeri resort in Jurmala City is known as a unique place that got its name from the forester house Kemeres where the first health procedures were performed by using sulphur spring mud. In 1836 Kemeri was declared as a resort and became
... known in the whole Russian Empire and later also in the Soviet Union. Significant landscape changes occurred after Latvia regained its independence in 1990, when the ownership of the land changed from the state to the private. Affected by disagreements between the new owners, lack of private and state investments, decrease of visitors from former Soviet Republics, insufficient capacity for competing with European resorts, the resorts in Latvia often became abandoned and forgotten. Historically valuable buildings and parks of the resorts were degraded, the number of inhabitants and visitors decreased. Today the regional government has found opportunities for re-development of Kemeri resort by searching for a new identity and re-branding the place. Re-branding has been used to enhance attractiveness of the place and increase economic benefits. Therefore, the aim of the study is to identify historic heritage values suitable for re-branding of the place and to analyse a potential development of the resort Kemeri. Assessment part of the article is based on historic heritage study by comparing historic and modern photography, field surveys to identify historic heritage values of the place and their influence on possible development scenarios. Historic heritage values were identified according to the Historicity and authenticity; Aesthetic quality and integrity; Social meaning. The other parts of the article are addressed to re-branding of the place that includes involvement of identified historic heritage values into the new identity to enhance functionality, recognisability and attractiveness of the resort Kemeri.