World Heritage Cities Programme January 2021

World Heritage Cities Programme

Urban Notebooks

Newsletter January 2021

Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town,
Author: Ko Hon Chiu Vincent,
© Ko Hon Chiu Vincent   


Dear Readers,

     Happy New Year! We sincerely hope and wish that 2021 will be a much better year for everyone than 2020.

     This year is special because it is the 10th anniversary of the 2011 UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL Recommendation). The Recommendation was adopted unanimously by all Member States during the UNESCO General Conference on 10 November 2011. While all Member States (193) have agreed to implement the HUL Recommendation, its adoption does not carry an obligation such as the ratification of a Convention does. This makes it all the more important that this anniversary year becomes a moment to celebrate, reflect on and reinforce the messages of the Recommendation. Reflections are particularly valuable to highlight the Recommendation’s relevance in the current context of rethinking cities with a view to improving well-being, supporting global aspirations of sustainable development, and responding to global challenges such as climate change.

     The HUL Recommendation provides a normative approach to protecting all heritage in urban contexts, those inscribed on the World Heritage List as well as the countless ones that are not, from metropolitan centres to small villages. Going beyond a single-monument approach, the HUL Recommendation looks at heritage structures in their larger setting rather than as isolated objects. Such a perspectives views heritage as landscapes rooted in their layers of histories and geographies, made meaningful by cultural values and interactions; embedded in and deeply connected to the natural environment, the local communities and their beliefs and practices, and the wider built environment. The attributes and heritage values develop in and are sustained by the intricate web of interconnections between the built form, the natural environment, and the practices of the local communities so that changes in one, impact the others. Heritage, in this view, is an important component of sustainable development so that urban heritage conservation in historic centres and quarters, demands sustainable socio-economic development in the lives of the local communities to enable their continued stewardship of the heritage in full consideration of the natural environment. As over 90% of the total cases of COVID-19 have been in urban areas, and as cities are responsible for 75% of global CO2 emissions where transport and buildings are the major contributors, the HUL Recommendation approach to managing heritage in urban contexts is important for furthering solutions and strategies for mitigation of and adaptation to Climate Change and pivotal in contributing to a ‘green’ recovery for cities and settlements in the context of the ongoing pandemic.

     As we look forward to the new year, in this issue, we reflect on some key highlights of the past year. And as we begin the 10th anniversary year of the HUL Recommendation, please share with us how you plan to mark the anniversary and reinforce its messages. We invite you also to contact us if you would like to contribute and collaborate with the World Heritage Centre and its activities.


Jyoti Hosagrahar
Deputy Director, World Heritage Centre

2020 in review

International Experts Meeting – Heritage in Urban Context

"Heritage in Urban Contexts: Impacts of Development Projects on World Heritage properties in cities”

The international experts meeting "Heritage in Urban Contexts: Impacts of Development Projects on World Heritage properties in Cities" took place from 14 to 17 January 2020 at Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan. The event, co-sponsored by Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs and Kyushu University in cooperation with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM, to further discuss the worrying pattern of situations affecting heritage sites in urban contexts as requested by the World Heritage Committee in its more recent sessions.
As the main outputs, the Fukuoka Outcomes, a methodology to better identify urban attributes and a basic framework for urban heritage management were developed.

Read more  
Fukuoka Outcomes

1st World Heritage City Lab

During this year, the COVID-19 pandemic brought the fragility of our cities sharply into focus. In light of the challenges that the crisis presented to cities worldwide.

The 1st World Heritage City Lab took place 17-26 June 2020, organised as a 5-day series of webinar and expert labs as a way to engage in practical discussions on Heritage city management and look for solutions in a co-creative environment.

The event gathered 74 specialists participants, among whom 7 Mayors, 5 high-level experts, 8 senior experts as session leads, 7 provocateurs, 6 World Heritage site managers and 44 experts(28 women (63.63%) 16 men) from more than 35 countries around the world.

Below are some participant views on the City Lab:

“sharing amazing ideas and experiences”
Mr Medhanie T. Maryam, from Eritrea

“enriching debate and presentations”
Mr Adnène Ben Nejma, professor at the National School of Architecture in Tunis (Tunisia)

“unusual discussions among professionals, officials and civil society, thus redefining the priorities and responsibilities of relevant international organisations and their relationship with decision-makers and other stakeholders”
Ms Shadia Touqan, Director of Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage

Read more

More than 35 countries


74 specialist participants


More than 60% women


Webinar audience: 400 people

World Heritage City Webinar

Read more  
Watch the webinar


World Heritage City Lab


Read more  
Read the report

Watch the recordings of the sessions:
  1. Well-being and local communities
  2. Re-thinking urban infrastructure in historic urban contexts
  3. Heritage at the core of local economic development strategies
  4. Heritage-based recovery and resilience: Way forward

World Heritage City Dialogues


Nine regional sessions of the World Heritage Dialogues have taken place during 2020 gathering in total more than 250 participants. Site managers, Focal Points and heritage professionals from 83 sites in 44 countries shared their latest experiences and challenges.

Added to general management challenges for World Heritage Cities, one of the main focuses of the year has been the COVID-19 crisis and the challenges that it has brought to our cities.

The new year will bring new sessions and thematic discussions to our community!

If you are a Site Manager or a Focal Point, please keep us updated with your contact details and join us in future Dialogues! Share with us the specific topics and ideas you would like to discuss during the upcoming sessions.

See summary outcomes

Site managers report
on Covid-19

World Heritage sites are also affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the managers of World Heritage sites told us how they coped with the crisis.
The UNESCO World Heritage Centre would like to warmly thank the site managers and staff who made an effort to update us during this particularly difficult time. Forty five stories from different World Heritage sites are available on the World Heritage Centre’s website and the page will continue to be updated.

Learn more

UNESCO Little Artists Exhibition

The World Heritage Centre launched the UNESCO Little Artists Exhibition in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign was aimed at schoolchildren between 6 and 12 years old and encouraged them to create and share drawings and artworks of a UNESCO World Heritage site that matters to them. The initiative aimed to motivate children to learn more about World Heritage sites and the stories behind them.

During the 39 days of the campaign, 572 participants from 55 countries presented their artworks reflecting 154 different World Heritage Properties.

Browse the online exhibition

Community-Centred Urban Development: A Paradigm of Inclusive Growth

In the context of the celebration of the International World Cities Day on 31 October, and in the framework of the UNESCO Cites Platform (UCP), UNESCO organised an online event under the theme ‘Community-centred urban development: A paradigm of inclusive growth’. The event took the shape of an “Urban Dialogue” bringing together academia, public and private sectors, as well as civil society to illustrate the organization’s full range of activities advocating people-centred approaches to urban development through its city networks and programmes.

Learn more
Watch the event
Event report 

ResiliArt Author: UNESCO;

RESILIART Artists and Creativity beyond Crisis

The impact of COVID-19 has not spared the creative sector. Artists across the world, most of whom were already working part-time, on an informal basis or under precarious contracts prior to the pandemic, are struggling to make ends meet. Today, we are experiencing a cultural emergency. 

This is why UNESCO launched ResiliArt, a global movement joined by cultural professionals worldwide that sheds light on the current state of creative industries through virtual discussions. The devastation brought to the entire culture value chain will have a long-lasting impact on the creative economy; ResiliArt aims to ensure the continuity of conversations, data sharing, and advocacy efforts long after the pandemic subsides. Cultural industry professionals are encouraged to join the movement and replicate the ResiliArt debate sessions in their respective regions and thematic focus by following publicly available guidelines.

Since its launching of the campaign has 233 ResiliArt debates have taken place and 166 countries have on-going ResiliArt movements so far.

Learn more and watch recorded debates
Guide to starting your Resilart movement
Read report (10 September 2020)  

Events in 2020 with World Heritage Cities Programme collaboration

8-13 February 2020 - The Tenth World Urban Forum (WUF10): Connecting Culture and Innovation

15 July - WEBINAR UfM – Unesco : Euro-Mediterranean Cities in the Post-Pandemic Era

20-27 August - Exploring the potential of Modern Heritage of Africa

5 October - UNESCO and the Urban Economy Forum 2020 

5 October - "Housing For All: A better Urban Future” conference held for the World Habitat Day

5 October - 'Toward a Better Urban Future': UIA Webinar, World Architecture Day 2020
Watch the event

13 October - ICLEI Daring Cities

21 October - Warsaw: online webinar 'The invincible city. Society in cultural heritage recovery'

23-24 October - WHITRAP Seminar: Integrating Urban Heritage with Urban Development in Planning Processes in Asia 

28 October - AIVP Webinar: Protecting Cultural Heritage as a Resource for Sustainable Development of Port Cities 

29 October - Online meeting: Strategic Urban Development Action Plan of the Union for the Mediterranean 

4 November - DomusForum 2020: The future of cities 

26 November - International scientific meeting on the “Heritage impact assessment: a tool for the protection and safeguarding of World Heritage” 

10 December - “World Heritage Sites: Sustainable Development Practices for Urban Heritage” 
Watch the event

12 December - 30th Anniversary of San Gimignano’s inscription on the World Heritage List 1990-2020


2021 10th Anniversary!

2021 is the 10th Anniversary of the UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL Recommendation) and the 20th Anniversary of the World Heritage Cities Programme

Author: Leon Krier; © Leon Krier   

UNESCO invites all historic cities to make 2021 a year to celebrate urban heritage, integrate it into the plans for recovery and ‘building back better’ in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and advance its protection. 

We also invite all World Heritage Cities to collaborate with us to develop regional and global activities and events for the anniversary year and share the different activities you are planning locally. 

Stay tuned!
Tag #Heritage4Cities  

International Forum of World Heritage Cities


As part of the 2021 celebrations, the Mexican cities of Santiago de Querétaro, Xochimilco and Zacatecas are collaborating with the World Heritage Centre and the UNESCO Office in Mexico to organise the first UNESCO International Forum of World Heritage Cities this year.

The event will be held in the coming months online over several sessions that will gather a global panel of Mayors and practitioners from different countries around the world to share their challenges and latest actions taken to position heritage protection at the core of sustainable urban development. 

2021 will be a year of reflection and action, and the event will certainly contribute to inspire many. 

A call will be launched soon. Watch this space! Present your experience to our international community! 


From UNESCO World Heritage Centre

New Year’s Message from the Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre

The year 2020 was intended to be a “biodiversity super year”. Many far-reaching decisions concerning the preservation of biodiversity were meant to be taken in 2020. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of international meetings could not take place and have been postponed....

Continue reading  

Cutting Edge - Culture: the ultimate renewable resource to tackle climate change

The clock is ticking to halt the devastating impact of climate change. Building on its overall Strategy for Climate Action 2018-2021, UNESCO has recently set up a Reflection Group on Culture and Climate Change, which brings together experts from academia, international organisations and civil society to explore concrete ways to enhance the role of cultural and natural heritage, intangible cultural heritage and the creative economy, in tackling climate change. Climate change is a complex issue, standing at the crossroads of science, ethics, society, education and, of course, culture – a dimension that has for too long been under-valued.

The cultural sphere is also a space for dialogue, encompassing diverse worldviews and cultural values, so that societal change can radiate from our museums, cultural centres, cities, schools and traditional communities. Given the urgency of the climate crisis, the need for culture as a vital resource has never been greater. 

Learn more

Collapse of House of Wonders, Stone Town of Zanzibar
(United Republic of Tanzania) (25/12/2020) 

Partial collapse of House of Wonders in Zanzibar

Following news of the collapse of a part of the House of Wonders (Beit-al-Ajaib) in Stone Town, Zanzibar on 25 December 2020, the Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, joined the people of Zanzibar, and the United Republic of Tanzania in general to mourn this sudden and significant loss and stand ready to assist as needed.

UNESCO Director General has committed to support the United Republic of Tanzania in assessing the damage to the building and developing a road-map for its rehabilitation. Starting this month, UNESCO, in partnership with the World Monuments Fund, and the Global Heritage Fund, will be undertaking missions towards this end.

Early notification
Update news 

2020 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation - Winners announced

A total of seven projects have been recognised by an international panel of Jury members in this year’s Awards. The Jury deliberations were carried out in November, conducted fully online for the first time in the Awards history. The Jury reviewed 48 entries from nine countries from the Asia-Pacific region.

In 2020, UNESCO introduced the new Special Recognition together with an updated set of Awards Criteria to acknowledge more prominently the role and contribution of cultural heritage to sustainable development within the broader of framework of the 2030 Agenda.

Learn more 

Children are parading holding buddha-shaped lanterns
© The Cultural Heritage Administration and the Yeondeunghoe Safeguarding Association, Republic of Korea, 2018  

UNESCO assembles peoples around transnational traditions like couscous, one of 32 new inscriptions on its Intangible Heritage Lists

During this year’s session (14 to 19 December, online), the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage inscribed three elements on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, and 29 elements on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Some of the elements inscribed were clearly urban, such as the Hawker culture in Singapore, community dining and culinary practices in a multicultural urban context.

Read more

Cultural Policies' Progress at the Regional Level

UNESCO has collated the development of cultural policies by the different regions. The resources include regional perspectives from Africa, the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America, and Latin America and the Pacific.

Learn more 

UNESCO makes the grade in UN Greening the Blue report

UNESCO measured and offset all carbon emission generated by its operations and facilities for the first time last year, receiving the label of “carbon neutral” in the 2020 UN Greening the Blue report.

“I am strongly committed to making environmental considerations central to all of UNESCO’s operations, facilities and activities, drawing on our expertise from many successful UNESCO programmes in the area of environmental sustainability and climate action. We need to bring about sustainability from within, which is why I fully support the UN Greening the Blue initiative”, says Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General

Learn more 

Island of Mozambique
Author: Our Place
© OUR PLACE The World Heritage 

World Heritage site managers identify priorities for the Eastern African region

UNESCO and the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) hosted an online workshop for World Heritage Site Managers in the Eastern Africa region on 4 December 2020, which focused on the sustainable management of World Heritage properties in the framework of the Third Cycle of Periodic Reporting in the Africa Region. The workshop was part of a series of online consultations being carried-out in each region of sub-Saharan Africa as part of the Third Cycle of Periodic Reporting on World Heritage in the Africa region in order to obtain further inputs from site managers on the periodic report as well as the Action Plan for World Heritage in the Africa region.

Learn more

ARC-WH: Cultural Heritage and People – Building Resilience in the Superimposed Trauma

On 21 December 2020, the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH) welcomed viewers from around the world for the webinar Cultural Heritage and People - building resilience in the superimposed trauma. The webinar was organised in the framework of the Conference on integrated post-disaster reconstruction of cultural heritage – social, economic and psychological aspects of recovery currently being coordinated by ARC-WH. 

The webinar included an address by the Director of the World Heritage Centre, Dr. Mechtild Rössler. The Director was part of a diverse panel of experts who proposed reflections on ways forward and sustainable solutions to the challenges of heritage reconstruction and recovery in the context of community trauma.  

Learn more
Access the recording

Remise du Prix Patrimoine 2020 du Groupe espagnol des villes du patrimoine mondial,
© UNESCO/Christelle ALIX  

“Premio Patrimonio” (Heritage Award) 2020

On 18th January, UNESCO`s Director-General, Ms Azoulay, received from the President of the Group of Spanish World Heritage cities, Mr Antonio Rodrigues Osuna, Mayor of Merida (Spain), the “Premio Patrimonio” (Heritage Award) 2020, which had been awarded by the Spanish Group of World Heritage Cities earlier in July 2020.
The objective of the award is to publicly recognise individuals, organisations or institutions, national or international, for-profit or non-profit, for the work carried out in the field of conservation, restoration, promotion and dissemination of cultural heritage. By awarding Ms Azoulay with this important prize, the Group recognises the importance of her work to preserve cultural heritage at the head of this international organisation. 

The UNESCO Assistant General for Culture and the Director of the World Heritage Centre also attended the meeting in which the group discussed the current pressures on urban heritage and addressed critical points affecting historic cities.

Learn more (in Spanish)


Upcoming Events

Online workshop: Youth engagement in UNESCO designated sites. Empowering youth towards sustainable development.

The event YEU – Youth Engagement in UNESCO designated sites is a three-day online workshop held on 1-3 March 2021 and dedicated to youth involvement in historic sites. The event is organised by the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe and Fondazione Santagata. The workshop is targeted towards young professionals, educators, cultural practitioners and officers working in an UNESCO-designated site or community.

Learn more

City Focus

City Focus is a space to share challenges and initiatives taking place in World Heritage Cities and other historical cities around the world.  
Share yours!

Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (Russian Federation)
Author: Richard Veillon;

Virtual visits to Bamberg World Heritage Visitor Centre, Germany

As movement restrictions difficult citizens’ access to World Heritage sites, the Bamberg World Heritage Visitor Centre is providing alternative means to access the centre and learn about Bamberg’s rich cultural heritage. The city recently launched a virtual replica of the visitor centre which allows e-visitors to browse through the exhibitions at their own pace and from the safety of their homes. 

Learn more
Learn more about Bamberg`s World Heritage site “Town of Bamberg”

(Bamberg is part of the World Heritage Cities Programme)

Rietveld Schröderhuis (Rietveld Schröder House).
Source: Nomination File. All Rights Reserved   

New plans for urban agriculture in Utrecht, Netherlands

The Dutch city of Utrecht, home to the World Heritage site of “Rietveld Schröderhuis” (Rietveld Schröder House), has unveiled their plans to include a food forest in their new residential development, reports the European Portal for Cities and Citizens.

Green spaces can significantly enhance the quality of life of local residents. The WHO 2016 Report Urban green spaces and health -a review of evidence showed that green spaces “can promote mental and physical health, and reduce morbidity and mortality in urban residents by providing psychological relaxation and stress alleviation, stimulating social cohesion, supporting physical activity, and reducing exposure to air pollutants, noise and excessive heat.”

Learn more

(Utrecht is not part of the World Heritage Cities Programme)

Elena Galimberti through Domus  

The future of the Porta Romana railway area in Milan

The project of the Fondazione Prada, a cultural centre located in a former 1910s industrial distillery in Milan (Italy), delivered a successful alliance between urban regeneration, heritage preservation and private development. Here, Domus interviews key stakeholders Carlo Mazzi and Manfredi Catella, on the future of what will become one of the major projects of re-development of inner-city industrial sites in Europe.

Read more
Lear more about Milan`s World Heritage Site “Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci”

(Milan is part of the World Heritage Cities Programme)

Queensbound participant Sherese Francis reads a poem on the 7 train, 2018.
Photo by Josh Steinbauer  

Poetry for the People, in Public Spaces: bringing art to the residents of New York City

Since 2018, the poetry collective Queensbound has been bringing poetry to the everyday life of local residents, from public spaces to subway stations, "reframing the connective tissue of public space as something with a deeper emotional resonance”. In this new issue of Dispatch, the podcast of Urban Omnibus and the Architectural League of New York, founder KCs Trommer and board members Nadia Q. Ahmad and Jared Harél give an insight into this project and how their work contributes to the spirit of place.

Listen to the podcast

(New York is not part of the World Heritage Cities Programme)


From our partners

2021 ICAHM Annual Meeting: Archaeological Heritage Management: Towards a People-centred Approach

The 2021 Annual Meeting of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM) will take place online between 21 and 23 June 2021. As archaeological sites can have a crucial role in historic cities, people-centred approaches to archaeological site management can affect the relationship between residents and their cultural heritage.

Learn more 


ICCROM: Webinar New strategies and the social role of heritage

This webinar, organised by ICCROM in Spanish, took place on 14 January 2021. It showcased the strategies employed by cultural sites to creatively engage with their visitors they were closed during the pandemic. At the same time, the webinar included examples of strategies of adaptation to the new normal.

Learn more and access the recording 

© Panorama. Solutions for a Healthy Planet

IUCN: Launch of New Panorama thematic community Sustainable Urban Development and Resilience

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently launched a new PANORAMA thematic community, hosted by World Bank Group and IUCN Urban Alliance. The selected case studies showcase pragmatic solutions to pressing urban challenges, drawing on research and project experience from across the world. The selection includes case studies from World Heritage Cities such as Paris, Mexico City and Barcelona.

Learn more


Union for the Mediterranean: Building equal, safe and inclusive post-COVID societies for women and girls: how can Med regions and cities take the lead?

The recording of the webinar Building equal, safe and inclusive post-COVID societies for women and girls: how can Med regions and cities take the lead? is now available online. The webinar was initially broadcast a side event of the V UfM Women4Mediterranean Conference 2020, which took place online from 16-20 November 2020. The event included the participation of diverse stakeholders in gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Watch it now


Bordeaux: Boulevards from Here and Elsewhere is now available online

The recording and presentation material of the study day “Boulevards d’ici & d’ailleurs” (Boulevards from here and elsewhere) are now available online through the Organisation of World Heritage Cities. The event was part of the World Heritage Sites Week organised in September 2020 by the Bordeaux Métropole, in partnership with the city of Bordeaux, France, and in the context of the Atlas-WH network.

Access the videos and presentations 

Save the date: Heritage and Our Sustainable Future Conference

The upcoming virtual conference Heritage and Our Sustainable Future: Research, Practice, Policy and Impact will take place from 22 February to 5 March 2021. The event is organised by the UK National Commission for UNESCO and Praxis at the University of Leeds. The event will bring together a diverse range of cultural heritage and sustainable development contributors for discussions on the role of cultural heritage to drive forward the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in ODA-eligible countries.

Expressions of interest are now open.

Learn more


Publications of interest

The Future of the Bamiyan Buddha Statues: Heritage Reconstruction in Theory and Practice

Masanori Nagaoka (ed.) (2020) Springer International Publishing

This Open Access book explores the debates about heritage reconstruction globally and provides a historical record of the possible reconstruction of the Bamiyan Buddha statues. The statues are part of the World Heritage site of “Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley”, inscribed in the World Heritage List in 2003, two years after the tragic destruction by the Taliban of the two standing Buddha statues. The publication considers the reconstruction of the Bamiyan statues as a reference point for conservation practitioners and policy makers around the world as they consider how to respond to on-going acts of destruction of cultural heritage.

This volume, edited by Masanori Nagaoka, Culture Program officer at UNESCO Office in Phnom Penh (Cambodia), is the first publication resulting from the partnership agreement signed between Springer and UNESCO. 

Browse the publication

The Tracker Culture & Public Policy | Issue 4

UNESCO (2021)

This monthly Tracker is produced by UNESCO to monitor the role of culture in public policy with regards to the UN Sustainable Development Agenda. It highlights developments within national and regional contexts, as well as emerging debates on culture's contribution to sustainable development. Drawing on a variety of sources, it provides a broad overview of cultural policy trends worldwide at the national, regional and international level. The Tracker looks at ways in which countries integrate culture into other policy areas.

Learn more

The New Leipzig Charter: The Transformative Power of Cities for the Common Good

German Presidency of the Council of the EU (2020)

The New Leipzig Charter was adopted on 30 November 2020 by the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The document aims to renew the European Union’s principles of sustainable cities by updating of the original Leipzig Charter of 2007. The Charter integrates the principles of the UN New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals to address the issues of climate change, loss of biodiversity, resource scarcity, migration movements, demographic change, pandemics and rapidly changing economies.

Browse the publication
Read more about the Charter

Jah Gehl. Photograph published by the UIA. 

Interview: The UIA talks to Jan Gehl

International Union of Architects (2021)

Jan Gehl is a Danish architect, a pioneer in people-centered urban design and humanistic city planning; and author of Life Between Buildings (1971) and Cities for People (2010), among others.

On the occasion of his 60th anniversary as a practising architect, Gehl talks to the International Union of Architects about his fascination with urban centres, what has changed in his long career and his ideas for the future of “people-centred, humanist urban planning”.

Read the interview


The Governing Body of Soumenlinna (17/12/2018) © WHV 2018

Call for applications: World Heritage Volunteers 2020-2021 Campaign

The UNESCO World Heritage Centre is pleased to announce the selected projects of the World Heritage Volunteers 2020 - 2021 Campaign.

Under the theme Fostering Youth Commitment towards World Heritage, 55 action camp projects will be implemented from February to December 2021, at 55 World Heritage properties and sites on the Tentative Lists, by 49 organisations in 32 countries. These projects will include concrete awareness-raising and hands-on activities at the sites and will give you the opportunity to interact and exchange with like-minded youth from different cultures and backgrounds, while contributing to the protection and preservation of our common cultural and natural heritage. 

Deadlines vary by project.  

Learn more

Call for Entries: Bloomberg 2021 Global Mayors Challenge

Bloomberg Philanthropies launches the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge, an ideas competition to uncover the 50 best solutions to emerge from cities in the wake of the pandemic. The competition invites cities to submit urban innovation initiatives. The 15 winner cities will receive $1 million each to improve upon and implement their breakthrough ideas before spreading them to other cities. The first 500 submissions will receive help to prepare the proposal.

Deadline: 21 March 2021. Open to cities over 100.000 inhabitants in all regions.

Learn more

URBACT Urban Innovative Actions

Calls for Pilot Projects: UIA Transfer Mechanism

Building on the success of the URBACT Transfer Network model, URBACT and Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) have developed a pilot transfer mechanism for completed UIA projects. The pilot will finance up to four networks whose aim will be to adapt the UIA innovations and develop an investment plan to fund their implementation. Each network will comprise four partners, including the UIA lead city.

Deadline: 1 February 2021. Open for cities in the European Union.

Learn more

Call for Entries: European Award for Architectural Heritage Intervention

The European Award for Architectural Heritage Intervention is a biennial contest organised with the support of the Architects' Association of Catalonia and the Association of Architects for the Defence and Intervention in Architectural Heritage. The award seeks to highlight quality heritage interventions and contribute to their dissemination.

Deadline: 12 March 2021. Open to projects within the European region or by Europe-based offices.

Learn more

International student competition: Design for Sustainable Cities

Design for Sustainable Cities is an international student competition organised by BE OPEN and Cumulus. The competition focuses on the United Nations’ SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. It is open to students and graduates of all art, design, architecture and media disciplines of universities and colleges worldwide. The competition aims to encourage the creation of innovative solutions, by younger creatives, for more sustainable cities.

Deadline: 31 January 2020. Open to students from all regions. 

Learn more

Note: The practices shared in Urban Notebooks are not assessed in any way by the World Heritage Centre or presented here as model practices nor do they represent complete solutions to heritage management problems. The views expressed by experts and Site Managers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Heritage Centre. The practices and views shared here are included in Urban Notebooks as a way to provide insights and expand the dialogue on urban heritage with a view to further urban heritage management practice in general.

The cases shared in Urban Notebooks address heritage protection practices in World Heritage sites and beyond. Practices and examples showcased in the newsletter do not entail any recognition of inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List or any of its thematic programmes. 

Guidelines for Contributions

Urban Notebooks is a way for World Heritage Cities to share up-to-date information, practices and opportunities around the world. The cases shared in Urban Notebooks address heritage protection practices in World Heritage cities and beyond. Items being showcased in this newsletter do not entail any type of recognition or inclusion in the World Heritage list or any of its thematic programmes

Please share with us your challenges and projects. Share with us the initiatives and activities related to culture in your city in response to the COVID-19. Please share opportunities as well. Your contributions will make the Urban Notebooks better.

Keep us updated!

Send us your news
photos, videos, projects, activities, publications

Share on Social Media
#Heritage4Cities #WorldHeritageCities #ShareOurHeritage #ShareCulture

Send us your current contact details and stay updated on our latest initiatives

Find the form for submissions here (English/French) and Grant of Rights document (English/French)

The Team of the World Heritage Cities Programme
Get connected:
Contact us:

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the City of Nanjing

We gratefully acknowledge the Subdirección General de Gestión y Coordinación de los Bienes culturales (formerly Subdirección General de Protección del Patrimonio Histórico) of the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Government of Spain for the translation of this bulletin into Spanish 

Published in 2021 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 7, place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP, France under CC-BY-SA 3.0 IGO license  

© UNESCO 2021