The ascension of the 60-year-old City Hall to Hong Kong’s first post-war monument proves there is more to heritage than just age and architectural aesthetics. It also redefines the much-lamented conservation policy that seldom takes into account the social values and public memories associated with places. The precedent is a positive step to preserve not just the built heritage, but also the heart and soul that comes with it. The unpretentious City Hall complex in Central is nothing like other world-renowned architectural landmarks. But it earns a special place in history and people’s memories. During the colonial era, it was the backdrop for the inauguration ceremonies of governors and visits of royalties. Today, it is still very much a living part of the city, with decent performance venues, exhibition space, library and marriage registration facilities. Every citizen would have a tale or two to tell how City Hall became part of their childhood, courtships, family and cultural lives. Unlike its demolished predecessor that was primarily a place for high-society gatherings, the multi-function complex was built for public use regardless of social status and ethnicity. It marked a change in social equality and has carried residents’ collective memories, according to an appraisal report paving the way for the site to become a monument, along with the Jamia Mosque in Central and Lui Seng Chun in Mong Kok. A Post picture in the 1960s shows many buildings around City Hall have disappeared, including the beloved Queen’s Pier that was demolished to make way for harbour reclamation. But it does not mean they are not worthy of preservation. Sadly, they were gone before cultural heritage reckoning was taken seriously by policymakers and the community. The new status would help spare City Hall from the wreckage ball. But thanks to our strong appetite for urban renewal and redevelopment, many buildings with heritage values are still under the threat. Even though they may not be visually impressive or culturally significant as other monuments, they play a part in our history and add to the character of the city. It would be a shame if we allow more of our heritage to disappear.