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UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape

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Activities

International capacity-building and knowledge-sharing events bring together heritage experts, city authorities and other stakeholders. These events explore topics relevant to heritage conservation and management today, from good practices and case studies to global links between heritage, climate change and sustainable development.

About the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape

"Urban heritage, including its tangible and intangible components, constitutes a key resource in enhancing the liveability of urban areas, and fosters economic development and social cohesion in a changing global environment. As the future of humanity hinges on the effective planning and management of resources, conservation has become a strategy to achieve a balance between urban growth and quality of life on a sustainable basis."

On 10 November 2011, UNESCO’s General Conference adopted the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape by acclamation, the first such instrument on the historic environment issued by UNESCO in 35 years. The Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL Recommendation) does not replace existing doctrines or conservation approaches; rather, it is an additional tool to integrate policies and practices of conservation of the built environment into the wider goals of urban development in respect of the inherited values and traditions of different cultural contexts. 

Resource materials

The knowledge and experience on HUL Recommendation is growing, you can make use of available resources.

The HUL approach

The HUL Recommendation is a “soft law” to be implemented by Member States on a voluntary basis. In order to facilitate implementation, the UNESCO General Conference recommended that Member States take the appropriate steps to:

  • adapt this new instrument to their specific contexts;
  • disseminate it widely across their national territories;
  • facilitate implementation through formulation and adoption of supporting policies; and to
  • monitor its impact on the conservation and management of historic cities.
    To learn more

    Cross-cutting

    The HUL Recommendation does not stand alone in the protection and management of historic cities throughout the world. Its implementation is closely linked to other tools and strategies developed by the United Nations, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda, and the World Heritage Convention. 

    The HUL Recommendation, the Sustainable Development Goals  and the New Urban Agenda
    • SDG 11, Target 11.4 highlights the importance of cultural and natural heritage for making safe and resilient cities. The New Urban Agenda underlines the need for integrated approaches to urban sustainability.
    • The Historic Urban Landscape approach addresses the policy, governance and management concerns involving a variety of stakeholders, including local, national, regional, international, public and private actors in the urban development process.
    • Having one foot on the Sustainable Development Goal, Target 11.4, and the other on the New Urban Agenda (UN-Habitat), the HUL Recommendation addresses relevant urban issues for the historic urban areas. There are important interlinkages between the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda (UN-Habitat) and UNESCO’s Culture Conventions.
    The HUL Recommendation and the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage
      The HUL Recommendation and Climate Change
      • Urban sites and historic cities in particular are facing unique challenges related to the risks caused by climate change. Over 90% of all urban areas are coastal, putting most cities on Earth at risk of flooding from rising sea levels and powerful storms. Historic cities are particularly at risk because many of them developed, for historical reasons, along the coast or along major rivers. With rising temperatures and accompanying sea-level rise, the risk of climate change-related disasters is increasing in historic and World Heritage cities.
      • The HUL Recommendation is a key tool to help cities to tackle climate action. It presents an integrated, people-centred and landscape approach to urban management, where climate action, DDR, urban development, and energy transition initiatives integrated with heritage conservation and management strategies.

      Tools

      The approach based on the historic urban landscape implies the application of a range of traditional and innovative tools adapted to local contexts. Some of these tools, which need to be developed as part of the process involving the different stakeholders, might include:

      groups
      a Civic engagement tools

      should involve a diverse cross-section of stakeholders, and empower them to identify key values in their urban areas, develop visions that reflect their diversity, set goals, and agree on actions to safeguard their heritage and promote sustainable development. These tools, which constitute an integral part of urban governance dynamics, should facilitate intercultural dialogue by learning from communities about their histories, traditions, values, needs and aspirations, and by facilitating mediation and negotiation between groups with conflicting interests.

      Consult the case studies

      engineering
      b Knowledge and planning tools

      should help protect the integrity and authenticity of the attributes of urban heritage. They should also allow for the recognition of cultural significance and diversity, and provide for the monitoring and management of change to improve the quality of life and of urban space. These tools would include documentation and mapping of cultural and natural characteristics. Heritage, social and environmental impact assessments should be used to support and facilitate decision-making processes within a framework of sustainable development.

       Consult the case studies

      foundation
      c Regulatory systems

      should reflect local conditions, and may include legislative and regulatory measures aimed at the conservation and management of the tangible and intangible attributes of the urban heritage, including their social, environmental and cultural values. Traditional and customary systems should be recognized and reinforced as necessary.

      business_center
      d Financial tools

      should be aimed at building capacities and supporting innovative income-generating development, rooted in tradition. In addition to government and global funds from international agencies, financial tools should be effectively employed to foster private investment at the local level. Micro-credit and other flexible financing to support local enterprises, as well as a variety of models of partnerships, are also central to making the historic urban landscape approach financially sustainable.

       Consult the case studies

      Video resources

      Learn more about the implementation of HUL Recommendation in cities all around the world through case studies, expert lectures and video messages from city leaders. 

      © Limes.Media / Tim Schnarr / Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou (Morocco)

      About the HUL Recommendation and approach

      Learn more about the approach of the HUL Recommendation by visiting these short awareness-raising videos that bring attention to the key topics of this normative instrument.    

      Champions and leaders for historic cities

      Learn more about how the HUL Recommendation is implemented in historic cities throughout the world thanks to the video messages from elected representatives, city authorities and more.

      Expert lectures

      Explore the different approaches of expert practitioners and researchers about the HUL Recommendation and its approach.   

      Case studies

      Which challenges are being faced by historic cities? How can the HUL Recommendation help them to address these challenges? Browse through these videos to learn more. You can also find more examples of case studies on World Heritage Canopy

      Statutory processes

      As a legal instrument, the HUL Recommendation is bound to the statutory processes of UNESCO. 

      These include the Consultation on its implementation by UNESCO Member States, the General Conference, the Executive Board and the World Heritage Committee. 

      © Cultural Heritage Conservation Center of THAD / Kulangsu, a Historic International Settlement (China)
      Year Session Document
      2021 42 C 40 C/RESOLUTIONS VOL.1 + CORR.
      2021 42 C 41 C/5
      2021 42 C 41 C/INF.10
      2019 40 C 40 C/103
      2019 40 C 40 C/37
      2019 40 C 40 C/5
      2019 40 C 40 C/94
      2019 40 C 40 C/INF.10
      2019 40 C 40 C/INF.24
      2019 40 C 40 C/LEG/7
      2017 39 C 39 C/5 Approved + ADD.
      2017 39 C 39 C/74
      2017 39 C 39 C/INF.10
      2017 39 C 39 C/RESOLUTIONS
      2015 38 C 38 C/71
      2015 38 C 38 C/83
      2015 38 C 38 C/94
      2015 38 C 38 C/INF.24
      2015 38 C 38 C/INF.6
      2015 38 C 38 C/LEG/6
      2015 38 C 38 C/PROCEEDINGS
      2015 38 C 38 C/Resolutions
      2014 37 C 37 C/INF.7
      2011 36 C 36 C / 36 C Rev (Fre) & ADD
      2011 36 C 36 C/23 REV. (Fre only) & ADD.
      2011 36 C 36 C/74
      2011 36 C 36 C/COM.CLT/2
      2011 36 C 36 C/INF.24
      2011 36 C 36 C/Resolution 41
      2009 35 C 35 C/42
      2009 35 C 35 C/42
      2009 35 C 35 C/5 APPROVED
      2009 35 C 35 C/74
      2009 35 C 35 C/9 PART I-II
      2009 35 C 35 C/INF.10
      2009 35 C 35 C/INF.40
      2009 35 C 35 C/Proceedings
      2009 35 C 35 C/Resolutions
      2009 35 C 35C / Resolution 42
      2009 35 C ERC.2010/WS/5
      2007 34 C 34 C/INF.8
      2005 33 C 33 C/INF.3
      2005 33 C 33 C/REP/14 + ADD.

      *Please note: this list is not exhaustive and only includes a selection of documents. Preliminary and draft documents, and agendas are not included.

      Year Session Document
      2022 214 EX 214 EX/13.V
      2022 214 EX 214 EX/CR/1 PROV. VER, Item 13V
      2022 214 EX 214 EX/30, Item 13.V para. 40
      2022 214 EX 214 EX/13.I, para. 49-54, Annex I, II
      2022 214 EX 214 EX/1 PROV. REV.2, Item 13.V
      2022 214 EX 214 EX/DECISIONS, Item 13.V
      2022 214 EX 214 EX/4.II.A.INF, pages 5-6, 32
      2022 214 EX 214 EX/CR/2, para. 14
      2022 214 EX 214 EX/4.I + Corr., para. 177
      2021 213 EX 213 EX/14.INF, page 8
      2021 212 EX 212 EX/23.I, para. 44-45
      2021 212 EX 212 EX/23.I.INF, page 3-4
      2021 212 EX 212 EX/36.INF, page 17
      2021 212 EX 212 EX/4.II.INF, page 9 -12
      2021 212 EX 212 EX/52, para. 12
      2021 211 EX 211 EX/21.I, para. 40-42
      2021 211 EX 211 EX/4.II.INF + Corr., page 46
      2021 211 EX 211 EX/41, para. 10, 15
      2020 210 EX 210 EX/26.I, para. 37
      2020 210 EX 210 EX/27, Table I - II 
      2020 210 EX 210 EX/34.INF, page 25
      2020 210 EX 210 EX/47, para. 14, 39
      2020 209 EX 209 EX/18.I + Corr., para. 28-29
      2020 209 EX 209 EX/19, para. 27, 34, 35, 38
      2020 209 EX 209 EX/19, para. 27, 34-35, 38
      2020 209 EX 209 EX/34, para. 10
      2020 209 EX 209 EX/4.I.B, page 58
      2019 207 EX 207 EX/23.I, para. 30
      2019 207 EX 207 EX/23.I.INF, para 2 C
      2019 207 EX 207 EX/53, para. 11
      2019 206 EX 206 EX/1 REV., Item 25.V
      2019 206 EX 206 EX/25.I, para. 33-34
      2019 206 EX 206 EX/25.V, para. 1-2, 21
      2019 206 EX 206 EX/26, ref.1
      2019 206 EX 206 EX/27.I, Item 9.5
      2019 206 EX 206 EX/27.II, Item 9.5
      2019 206 EX 206 EX/45, para.14, 28-29, 31
      2019 206 EX 206 EX/CR/1 PROV., 25.V
      2019 206 EX 206 EX/DECISIONS, para 25.V 
      2019 206 EX 206 EX/SR.1-7 + Corr., Item 25.V
      2018 205 EX 205 EX/19, para. 39-41
      2018 205 EX 205 EX/19, para. 40-42
      2018 205 EX 205 EX/3 INF.2, para. 3 
      2018 205 EX 205 EX/30.INF.2 REV.
      2018 205 EX 205 EX/36 + CORR., para. 12 
      2018 205 EX 205 EX/41, para. 14
      2018 204 EX 204 EX/18 PART I-VI + PART IV CORR., para. 39, 41
      2018 204 EX 204 EX/33, para.11, 13
      2018 204 EX 204 EX/4.INF + CORR., Annex III.B
      2018 204 EX 204 EX/CR/2, para. 14
      2017 202 EX 201 EX/39
      2017 202 EX 201 EX/4.INF
      2017 202 EX 202 EX/24 PART I-VII
      2017 202 EX 202 EX/24.INF
      2017 202 EX 202 EX/32.INF.2
      2017 202 EX 202 EX/46
      2017 202 EX 202 EX/SR.1-12 Item 24.VI
      2017 201 EX 201 EX/19 Part I – page 9, para. 44-49
      2017 201 EX 201 EX/28, para. 2
      2017 201 EX 201EX/39, para. 11
      2016 200 EX 200 EX/13 PART I + CORR, (A),(B),(C) & -II (+corr) -III -IV – para. 21, 63, 67, 78, 60, 232, 236, 238, 239
      2016 200 EX 200 EX/16 Part I – page 11, para. 48-52
      2016 200 EX 200 EX/33 – page 2 , para. 8
      2016 199 EX 199 EX/14 Part I –para. 42-45
      2016 199 EX 199 EX/4 Part I (B) – page 41, para. 214  
      2016 199 EX 199 EX/BROCHURE CR – para. 14
      2016 199 EX 199 EX/CR/2 REV – para. 14
      2015 197 EX 197 EX/20 Part I – para. 38-39, Part IV, para. 1-24 
      2015 197 EX 197 EX/20.INF – C
      2015 197 EX 197 EX/4.INF.2 - ANNEX II
      2015 197 EX 197 EX/49 – para. 20-26
      2015 197 EX 197 EX/DECISIONS – IV
      2015 196 EX 196 EX/19 Part I –para. 36
      2015 196 EX 196 EX/4.INF.2 - Annex II 
      2015 196 EX 196 EX/5 Part I – Priority 3
      2014 195 EX 195 EX/15 – para. 47-50 
      2014 195 EX 195 EX/37 – para. 10
      2014 194 EX 194 EX/21 – para. 32-  34
      2014 194 EX 194 EX/4 PART I A (+ Add.Rev.2), II, III, IV (+ ADD.) + ADD 2 – para. 935, 766, 1063
      2014 194 EX 194 EX/4.INF.2 
      2014 194 EX 194 EX/BROCHURE CR – para. 14
      2014 194 EX 194 EX/BROCHURE CR – para. 14
      2014 194 EX 194 EX/CR/2 – para. 14
      2014 194 EX 194 EX/CR/2 – para. 14
      2013 192 EX 192 EX/20.INF –D
      2013 192 EX 192 EX/4 PART I (A,B)-IV + PART III ADD+ ADD.2 
      2013 192 EX 192 EX/4.INF.2 
      2013 191 EX 191 EX/4  – para. 451
      2013 191 EX 191 EX/4.INF 
      2013 191 EX 191 EX/AHPG.INF – para. 202, 266
      2013 191 EX 191 EX/NGP/2
      2012 190 EX 190 EX/38 – para. 11
      2012 190 EX 190 EX/5– 4b, 4c
      2012 189 EX 189 EX/19 
      2012 189 EX 189 EX/INF.12
      2012 189 EX 189 EX/NGP/2 – para. 26, 61
      2012 189 EX 189 EX/SR.1-7 –56.12
      2011 187 EX 187 EX/23 – para. 6
      2011 187 EX 187 EX/INF.4
      2011 186 EX 186 EX/14 PART II-IX – para. 3, 27
      2011 186 EX 186 EX/20 – para. 6
      2011 186 EX 186 EX/21 – para. 6, Annex
      2011 186 EX 186 EX/22  – 8.1
      2011 186 EX 186 EX/4 – para. 882
      2011 186 EX 186 EX/42 – para. 3bis
      2011 186 EX 186 EX/INF.6 
      2010 185 EX 185 EX/1 + ADD
      2010 185 EX 185 EX/17 – para. 66
      2010 185 EX 185 EX/2 + ADD 
      2010 185 EX 185 EX/46 
      2010 185 EX 185 EX/DECISIONS – para. 46
      2010 185 EX 185 EX/SR.1-10 – para. 46
      2010 185 EX 185EX/Decision 46 
      2010 184 EX 184 EX/SR.1-9 – 12.23
      2008 179 EX 179 EX/25
      2008 179 EX 179 EX/Decision 25

      *Please note: this list is not exhaustive and only includes a selection of documents. Preliminary and draft documents, and agendas are not included in this list.

      Year Committee Decision Title
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7.2 Conservation issues
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7A.18 Ancient City of Aleppo (Syrian Arab Republic)
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7A.4 Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Uganda)
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7B.117 Asmara: a Modernist City of Africa (Eritrea)
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7B.122 Koutammakou, the Land of the Batammariba (Togo)
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7B.123 Kasbah of Algiers (Algeria)
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7B.13 Historic Cairo (Egypt)
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7B.130 Byblos (Lebanon)
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7B.133 Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou (Morocco)
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7B.134 Rabat, Modern Capital and Historic City: a Shared Heritage (Morocco) (C 1401)
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7B.136 Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah (Saudi Arabia) (C 1361)
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7B.33 Kathmandu Valley (Nepal)
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7B.38 Historic Centre of Bukhara (Uzbekistan)
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7B.40 Samarkand – Crossroad of Cultures (Uzbekistan)
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7B.44 Historic Centre of Prague (Czechia) (C 616bis)
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7B.49 Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue (Hungary)
      2021 44 COM 44 COM 7B.50 Venice and its Lagoon (Italy)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7.3 Other matters
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7A.26 Old Town of Ghadamès (Libya)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7A.31 Ancient City of Aleppo (Syrian Arab Republic) (C 21)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7A.44 Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Uzbekistan)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.104 Asmara: A Modernist African City (Eritrea)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.40 Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Uzbekistan)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.42 Qal’at al-Bahrain – Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun (Bahrain)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.44 Historic Cairo (C 89)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.50 Tyre (Lebanon)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.51 Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou (Morocco)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.52 Rabat, Modern Capital and Historic City: a Shared Heritage (Morocco)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.57 Historic Centre of Macao (China)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.59 West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou (China)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.60 Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.77 Samarkand –Crossroad of Cultures (Uzbekistan)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.78 Historic Centre of Bukhara (Uzbekistan)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.79 Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra (Albania)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.84 Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue (Hungary)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.90 Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape (Turkey)
      2019 43 COM 43 COM 7B.98 Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso (Chile)
      2018 42 COM 42 COM 5A Report of the World Heritage Centre on its activities and the implementation of the World Heritage Committee’s decisions
      2018 42 COM 42 COM 7A.30 Ancient City of Aleppo (Syrian Arab Republic)
      2018 42 COM 42 COM 7A.4 Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Uzbekistan)
      2018 42 COM 42 COM 7B.38 City of Quito (Ecuador)
      2018 42 COM 42 COM 7B.43 Aksum (Ethiopia)
      2018 42 COM 42 COM 7B.47 Island of Mozambique (Mozambique)
      2018 42 COM 42 COM 7B.58 Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah (Saudi Arabia)
      2017 37 COM 37 COM 7A.26 Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan)
      2017 41 COM 41 COM 10A Report on the Periodic Reporting Reflection (2015-2017) and launch of the Third Cycle
      2017 41 COM 41 COM 7 State of conservation of the properties inscribed on the World Heritage List
      2017 41 COM 41 COM 7A.44 Ancient City of Aleppo (Syrian Arab Republic)
      2017 41 COM 41 COM 7B.40 Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra (Albania)
      2017 41 COM 41 COM 7B.60 Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso (Chile)
      2017 41 COM 41 COM 7B.73 Kasbah of Algiers (Algeria)
      2017 41 COM 41 COM 7B.75 Qal’at al-Bahrain –Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun (Bahrain)
      2017 41 COM 41 COM 7B.84 Ksar Ait Ben Haddou (Morocco)
      2017 41 COM 41 COM 7B.99 Historic Centre of Bukhara (Uzbekistan)
      2016 40 COM 40 COM 7A.29 Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia)
      2016 40 COM 40 COM 7B.5 City of Quito (Ecuador)
      2016 40 COM 40 COM 7B.57 Historic Centre of the City of Yaroslavl (Russian Federation)
      2015 39 COM 39 COM 7B.46 Kasbah of Algiers (Algeria)
      2015 39 COM 39 COM 7B.67 Meidan Emam, Esfahan (Iran, Islamic Republic of)
      2015 39 COM 39 COM 7B.72 Historic Centre of Bukhara (Uzbekistan) (C 602rev)
      2015 39 COM 39 COM 7B.73 Samarkand - Crossroad of Cultures (Uzbekistan)
      2012 36 COM 36 COM 13.I Revision of the Operational Guidelines
      2012 36 COM 36 COM 13.II Revision of the Operational Guidelines
      2010 34 COM 34 COM 7.1 Historic Urban Landscape
      2005 29 COM 29 COM 5D Report of the World Heritage Centre on its Activities and on the Implementation of the Decisions of the World Heritage Committee
      Consultations on the implementation of the HUL Recommendation by UNESCO Member States
      First UNESCO Member State Consultation (2015) 

      The Consolidated Report contains an overall description on the conventions and recommendations of UNESCO that the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations is required to monitor, and an analysis of specific measures adopted by the Secretariat within the framework of the monitoring of the implementation of standard-setting instruments and the difficulties encountered for each of the instruments, since the 195th session of the Board.

      Second UNESCO Member State Consultation (2019)

      The Report of the Second Consultation is based on the data gathered by the survey sent by the Director-General in February 2018 to UNESCO Member States, 
      requesting the submission of national reports and focal points. Responses from 55 Member States were received. The data shows that there has been some progress made in implementing key concepts of the Recommendation, yet much remains to be done. In implementation of the HUL approach, it is crucial to establish links between national/federal and local level decision makers at the country level. 

      Third UNESCO Member State Consultation (2022) 

      Between July and October 2022, UNESCO Member States are invited to complete the survey to report on their implementation of the HUL Recommendation, based on an assessment of the situation for the period 2019-2022.  In 2022, the survey contains two sections: Section A, concerning the implementation of the HUL Recommendation at national level, and Section B, concerning the city-level implementation of the HUL Recommendation in specific historic cities and urban areas.

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      UNESCO’s World Heritage City Lab
      17 June 2020 - 26 June 2020
      Implementation on the HUL Recommendation
      26 March 2018 - 28 March 2018
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