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Case Studies on the Conservation and Management of Historic Cities

The « Historic cities in development: keys for understanding and taking action»  project, a compilation of 40 case studies on the conservation and management of historic cities, was launched in 2008 by the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) on the initiative of the City of Lyon, in partnership with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre (within the framework of the France-UNESCO Convention and extrabudgetary funds from the Netherlands), the Council of Europe, the Getty Conservation Institute and ICOMOS, represented by the International Committee on Historic Cities and Villages.

Adopting a participatory approach based on the experiences of member cities of the OWHC, the objective was to analyse and identify tools that had been developed by site managers and decision-makers, using specific cases which were proposed by the cities, and to share the skills developed by local governments. Today, the compilation of these 40 examples represents an important set of good practices in the field of urban heritage. The studies illustrate different types of urban and heritage interventions, each associated with a theme: conservation and valorization; governance and the relation with the publics; planning; development.

This project is part of the interest of different partners and their involvement on issues pertaining to the role of culture and urban development and on governance and urban management issues. It is also part of the international debate led by UNESCO on historic urban landscapes and by national and local governments and development banks, which are increasingly aware of the importance of heritage in urban development strategies.

The report and analysis are drawn from data provided by the contributing cities that responded to a questionnaire which was particularly developed for the study. The result of 4 years of work is compiled in 2 volumes, an analysis report and case studies. The 40 case studies are presented and summarized, standardised in 4-page fact sheets to enable a comparative analysis.

The first part of each summary presents qualitative and quantitative data on the city and the project. Schematic maps based on Google Earth identify the city’s boundaries as well as the limits of the World Heritage property and the perimeter of the project. Finally, the inscription criteria, the date and a brief description, which are provided by the World Heritage Centre, provide the main characteristics of the property. The two central pages describe the challenges, processes, partners, tools (regulatory, institutional and technical), funding and progress of the project. The process of implementation and relationships between stakeholders are described and summarised in diagrams. One section presents the relationship between the project and the value of the property. In conclusion, the last page presents the results of the urban project and an analysis of the lessons learned and questions raised.

The purpose of this compilation of case studies is to encourage cities and World Heritage sites to share their practices and issues in a concrete way, as well as to reinforce the importance of taking heritage values into account as an initial step in urban development projects.

The compilation of case studies « Historic cities in development: keys for understanding and taking action» project, a compilation of 40 case studies on the conservation and management of historic cities is now available online in three languages (French, English, and Spanish).

Strategic objectives
  • Communities
  • Credibility
  • Conservation
  • Capacity Building
  • Communication