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Impact Assessments for Urban World Heritage: European Experiences under Scrutiny

Dennis Rodwell a* and Michael Turner b

a Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Urban Development, Melrose, Scotland, UK
b Graduate Program in Urban Design, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, Israel

* Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT  In the context of the broadening understanding of urban heritage, including the 2011 UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape and related United Nations agendas such as the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda, this article questions the relevance of limited-focused impact assessments as a tool for the holistic management of complex urban sites in the 21st century. The article identifies pitfalls in the use of such assessments, illustrating this principally with two cases in which retrospective assessments were undertaken post-inscription in an attempt to address conflicting interests: the visual impact study for Dresden Elbe Valley, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004 and delisted in 2009; and the three impact assessments for Liverpool Maritime Mercantile World Heritage Site, also inscribed in 2004, and placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger continuously since 2012. The article identifies critical missing elements that are inherent in discrete assessments, and provides indicators for practical tools with relevant applicability.

KEYWORDS  assessment, reactive, proactive, World Heritage, Historic Urban Landscape, sustainable development

Received November 2, 2018; accepted December 10, 2018.

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