Session: #107

Theme & Session Format

Archaeological heritage and museum management: future chances, future risks
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Living (World) Heritage Cities. Insights from Archaeology and History, Geography and Social Sciences, and Planning and Design
With the majority of people living in cities and numbers of urban dwellers increasing daily, national and international policies are being directed towards stimulating livable and sustainable futures for cities. Many metropolises have a historic origin and developments through time have influenced development of the cities. Inner cities follow ancient waterways and roads; buildings and other structures may be (partially) historic. Modern city dwellers live in an environment that largely depends on decisions made by previous generations. Modern city life, however, constantly asks for adaptations and internal dynamics change city appearances and functions. Especially in the case of World Heritage cities adaptations are significant. Tourists, eager to experience the ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ of a place, require accommodation, food, entertainment and souvenirs. Developers convert historical buildings into hotels and tourist shops. Traffic constantly pressurizes old, narrow streets. Inhabitants increasingly move to less gentrified outer zones. Slowly, city characters change. While cores and buffer zones were once enlisted as World Heritage because of both the authenticity and integrity of a cities’ parts, now these are exactly the elements that are under threat (with the ultimate risk of ‘delisting’). The desire to assign a World Heritage status to living cities may overshadow the awareness of possible implications for the city and its inhabitants. It also raises questions whether studying the diversity of long-term urban traditions effectively inform design for sustainable urban futures, whether it is possible to find a balance between an authentic and a dynamic city life and who the stakeholders are and how are they involved in new developments.
This session crosses disciplinary and geographical boundaries in order to generate synergizing discussions on meaning and implications of ‘World Heritage Listing’, ‘Living Heritage’, ‘Outstanding Universal Values’, ‘Integrity’, ‘Place Making’, ‘Sustainable Planning’ and ‘Authenticity’.
(World) heritage, Living heritage cities, Sustainability, Unesco, Urban conservation
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:


Main organiser:
Maaike de Waal (Netherlands) 1,2
Mara de Groot (Netherlands) 3
Ilaria Rosetti (Belgium) 4
Uditha Jinadasa (Sri Lanka) 5
1. Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, the Netherlands
2. ARGEOgraph
3. Centre for Global Heritage and Development, the Netherlands
4. Department of Heritage, University of Antwerp, Belgium
5. Department of Archaeology, Ministry of Higher Education and Cultural Affrairs, Sri Lanka