Abstract Though local shopping streets form an intangible cultural heritage in all cities of the Global North, there is little recognition of their significance and no public policies for their preservation. But the social capital that develops in these vernacular spaces supports a unique urban cultural ecosystem. Local shopping streets mobilize aesthetics, collective memory, and traditional forms of social interaction to create feelings of local identity and belonging which are endangered by economic modernization and global consumer culture. Using ethnographic observations, interviews, and online and archival data, the close study of an upscale shopping street in Amsterdam shows how feelings of identity and belonging are formed around a re-imagined urban village. In contrast to other streets, this street preserves traditional patterns of individual ownership and an unusual longevity of stores. Not only does this cultural ecosystem merit safeguarding for its living heritage, it requires planning to become a more socially inclusive, multicultural urban heritage.