Papers: Identification and Documentation of Modern Heritage

Under the Global Strategy for a credible, balanced and representative World Heritage List, adopted by the World Heritage Committee in 1994, the World Heritage Centre is engaged in assisting States Parties that have few or no World Heritage sites to protect, preserve and nominate their heritage of outstanding universal value. Next to this, a pro-active approach is also taken with regard to the identification and documentation of less-represented categories of heritage for inclusion on the World Heritage List.

One such category is Modern Heritage, which comprises the architecture, town planning and landscape design of the 19th and 20th centuries. As at May 2003, out of a total of 730 properties and sites on the World Heritage List, only 12 represent Modern Heritage; they are shown in this publication.

In addition to reasons of representativity, in 2001 UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the Working Party on the Documentation and Conservation of buildings, sites and neighbourhoods of the Modern Movement (DOCOMOMO) started a joint programme for the identification, documentation and promotion of the built heritage of the modern era, because properties and sites under this category were considered to be under threat. They are increasingly subject to serious alteration or destruction, without a proper discussion and assessment of the values embedded in them. Next to rapid socio-economic changes in society demanding a different functional use, a poor understanding of the significance of these properties and sites plays an equally important role. In addition to traditional heritage categories, such as archaeological sites and monuments, also modern properties and sites need to be considered that are worthy of preservation and transmission to future generations for reasons of cultural identity in relation to aspects of continuity and change.

In order to gain better understanding, raise public awareness and promote inscription of this category of heritage, study and evaluation of possibilities, establishment of criteria and selection of properties and sites is needed. To continue and complement the work done by ICOMOS in this field, two meetings were held at UNESCO Headquarters in February and October 2001 respectively to define direction and objectives for a Programme on Modern Heritage.

The underlying publication contains the position papers that were written to facilitate the debate during the October 2001 expert meeting. Its aim is to present a framework of conceptual thinking on the significance of Modern Heritage, its preservation and some of the pivotal issues concerning identification and valuation. This framework is guiding the various Regional Meetings on Modern Heritage currently under implementation by the World Heritage Centre, and should facilitate further, more concrete studies and exercises. Eventually, the combined results will be presented to the World Heritage Committee and the States Parties for recommendation, and disseminated to the general public for information and awareness building, to aim for a World Heritage List that reflects mankind’s heritage in all its diversity.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Francesco Bandarin

  • Introduction to the Programme on Modern Heritage by Ron van Oers
  • Position papers defining visions and trends
  • L 'impact de la modernisation économique et le patrimoine industriel par Louis Bergeron
  • Preserving and interpreting modern landscape architecture in the United States: Recent developments (1995 –2001) by Charles Birnbaum
  • Mobility – a story of floating heritage passing by by Luuk Boelens
  • Innovation: A critical view by Franziska Bollerey
  • Community building and representation by Sherban Cantacuzino
  • Les ensembles urbains nouveaux de l 'âge industriel par Jean-Louis Cohen
  • The catalytic city:Between strategy and intervention by Kenneth Frampton
  • The preservation of nineteenth-and twentieth-century heritage by Fabio Grementieri
  • The heritage of modernism in South Africa by Derek Japha
  • Continuity and change in recent heritage by Jukka Jokilehto
  • How to evaluate,conserve and revitalize modern architecture in Asia by Shin Muramatsu and Yasushi Zenno
  • Changing views on colonial heritage by Pauline van Roosmalen
  • Open spaces and landscapes:Some thoughts on their definition and preservation by Marc Treib

- Appendix A: Modern heritage properties on the World Heritage List (as at July 2002)
- Appendix B: Research and documentation programme
- Appendix C: Participants in the Meeting on Modern Heritage,Paris,October 2001
- Appendix D: Selected bibliography relating to modern heritage