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Historic Centre of Vienna

Austria
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • Housing
  • Legal framework
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Housing: High-rise construction projects in Central Vienna (proposed Vienna Ice-Skating Club – Intercontinental Hotel – Vienna Konzerthaus project)
  • Legal framework: Lack of effectiveness of the overall governance of the property
  • Legal framework: Lack of appropriateness of planning controls in the ‘High-Rise Concept 2014’ and the ‘Glacis Master Plan’
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

The current planning controls: adopted developments and lack of adequate planning rules

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

In progress

Corrective Measures for the property

In progress

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

In progress

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2018
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2018**

March 2006: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the “Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn”; September 2012: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the “Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn” and “Historic Centre of Vienna”; November 2015: ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to “Historic Centre of Vienna”

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 1 February 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1033/documents, and summarizes the response to Decision 41 COM 7B.42.

  • As a federal State, the State Party reported that urban development remains unchanged and no action has been taken towards their implementation. The legal basis for the “Intercontinental Hotel – Ice Skating Club – Vienna Concert Hall” project was established in June 2017 by the Vienna City Council, but construction work is not proposed before spring 2020. Prior to the project proceeding, there will be clarification on whether the 2017 modifications to the project are sufficient to retain the authenticity of the property. The situation for the Karlsplatz site is also unchanged. The legal basis for the Wien Museum and the Winterthur Building projects is not in place, although a decision is expected in spring 2018.
  • In late 2017, representatives of the State Party, the City of Vienna, the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS discussed a milestone plan and a programme to define the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and associated corrective measures.
  • The State Party is implementing a three-stage process, comprising:
    1. an expert workshop in March 2018 under the guidance of the Federal Chancellery of Austria, involving international experts in urban planning, urban development and international law;
    2. the preparation of comprehensive Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA), informed by the results of the expert workshop, aimed at developing specific proposals for corrective measures and future management as requested in Decision 41 COM 7B.42;
    3. the invitation of a World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission to examine the current conservation status of the Historic Centre of Vienna with special regard to the results of the expert-workshop and the HIA.
  • The study on historic roof constructions was completed in 2017. It is the first such study of historic roof constructions of a historic city centre in Europe and encompasses about 1,400 historic roofs and 180 different construction systems from the 13th to the 19th century. The results provide an important basis for future building permissions related to roof conversions within the property.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018

A close and constructive dialogue was set in motion immediately after the Committee decision in July 2017 and the State Party with the City of Vienna must be commended for their commitment to the process.

The three-stage process being undertaken to address inappropriateness of planning rules and new developments is welcome. This three-stage process must lead to an agreed set of corrective measures and an agreed DSOCR, which can be adopted by the World Heritage Committee.

While noting that there has been no change to the status or implementation of the projects recently, considered by the Committee, it would be appropriate for the Committee to reiterate its concern that the legal approval has been given for the “Vienna Ice-Skating Club – Intercontinental Hotel – Vienna Konzerthaus” project which the Committee considered would adversely affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property if implemented in its current form. It would therefore also be appropriate that the Committee request that the City Council of Vienna confirms its commitment not to give legal approval for any further high rise development (including the Wien Museum and Winterthur Building project), as this would pre-empt the current process and would be inconsistent with the Committee’s request that the State Party halt further approvals for high-rise projects.

The OUV of the property remains in danger from lawfully designed buildings and existing planning controls; particularly the ‘High-Rise Concept’ and ‘Glacis Masterplan’, notwithstanding the May 2017 resolution, which seeks to ensure no new high-rise locations, will be decreed within the property. As previously reported to the Committee, this resolution does not cover areas outside the 1st municipal district, and does not reverse high-rise locations previously determined. Consequently, without actual change to the planning controls themselves, the resolution could be reversed in future by another resolution of the City Council of Vienna. All of these issues, as well as current projects and the broader historic urban context, including visual axes and visual links, and both close and distant views, are to be addressed through the three-stage process.

The State Party and the City of Vienna are to be commended for the process put in place in order to respond to the Committee’s decision and for the study on historic roof constructions in the Historic Centre of Vienna, which will directly contribute to the conservation of this important attribute of the property, as highlighted in the 2012 and 2015 mission reports.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2018
42 COM 7A.5
Historic Centre of Vienna (Austria) (C 1033)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decisions 40 COM 7B.49 and 41 COM 7B.42, adopted at its 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 41st (Krakow, 2017) sessions respectively,
  3. Also recalling the concerns expressed by the 2012 mission regarding the critical level of urban development reached since inscription and its cumulative impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, the need for new tools to guide the development process towards sustainable development that protects the attributes of the OUV, and the specific recommendations of the 2015 mission to the property;
  4. Welcomes the process put in place by the State Party together with the City of Vienna, ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre in order to establish a clear milestone plan for addressing the Committee’s decisions;
  5. Also welcomes the completion of the study on historic roof constructions in the Historic Centre of Vienna by the Federal Monuments Authority in collaboration with the City of Vienna, which will contribute to the conservation of this important attribute of the property, as highlighted in the 2012 and 2015 mission reports;
  6. Notes with concern that legal approval was given in June 2017 for the “Intercontinental Hotel – Ice Skating Club – Vienna Concert Hall” project by the Vienna City Council, and that construction work is proposed to start in spring 2020, subject to a ‘clarification of whether the 2017 modifications to the project are sufficient to retain the authenticity of the property’, even though the Committee has advised that this project in its current form would adversely affect the OUV of the property; and that a political decision allowing the Wien Museum and the Winterthur Building projects is expected in spring 2018;
  7. Requests the State Party to halt any further approvals for high-rise projects, and the implementation of already approved projects, pending the adoption of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and corrective measures by the Committee;
  8. Notes with satisfaction the three-stage process proposed by the State Party, to address the substantive threats posed by current planning instruments and new developments at the property that led to Danger listing; and also requests that the State Party ensure that an outcome of the three-stage process is an agreed DSOCR and a related set of corrective measures and timeframe for their implementation, addressing decisions 40 COM 7B.49 and 41 COM 7B.42, and the recommendations of the 2012 and 2015 missions, for adoption by the Committee;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019;
  10. Decides to retain the Historic Centre of Vienna (Austria) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
42 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/18/42.COM/7A, WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add and WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 42 COM 7A.1)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 42 COM 7A.2)
  • Austria, Historic Centre of Vienna (Decision 42 COM 7A.5)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 42 COM 7A.8)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.45)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 42 COM 7A.9)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.46)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.47)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.48)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.49)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.50)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.51)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 42 COM 7A.17)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.44)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 42 COM 7A.40)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 42 COM 7A.18)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 42 COM 7A.19)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 42 COM 7A.20)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 42 COM 7A.21)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 42 COM 7A.22)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 42 COM 7A.23)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 42 COM 7A.24)
  • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 42 COM 7A.25)
  • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 42 COM 7A.26)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 42 COM 7A.53)
  • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 42 COM 7A.13)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 42 COM 7A.14)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 42 COM 7A.15)
  • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 42 COM 7A.3)
  • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 42 COM 7A.54)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 42 COM 7A.27)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 42 COM 7A.29)
  • Palestine, Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town (Decision 42 COM 7A.28)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 42 COM 7A.10)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 42 COM 7A.11)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.55)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 42 COM 7A.6)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 42 COM 7A.41)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 42 COM 7A.30)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 42 COM 7A.31)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 42 COM 7A.32)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 42 COM 7A.33)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 42 COM 7A.34)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 42 COM 7A.35)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 42 COM 7A.16)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 42 COM 7A.7)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.56)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.42)
  • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 42 COM 7A.4)
  • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 42 COM 7A.12)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 42 COM 7A.37)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 42 COM 7A.38)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 42 COM 7A.39)
Draft Decision: 42 COM 7A.5

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decisions 40 COM 7B.49 and 41 COM 7B.42, adopted at its 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 41st (Krakow, 2017) sessions respectively,
  3. Also recalling the concerns expressed by the 2012 mission regarding the critical level of urban development reached since inscription and its cumulative impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, the need for new tools to guide the development process towards sustainable development that protects the attributes of the OUV, and the specific recommendations of the 2015 mission to the property;
  4. Welcomes the process put in place by the State Party together with the City of Vienna, ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre in order to establish a clear milestone plan for addressing the Committee’s decisions;
  5. Also welcomes the completion of the study on historic roof constructions in the Historic Centre of Vienna by the Federal Monuments Authority in collaboration with the City of Vienna, which will contribute to the conservation of this important attribute of the property, as highlighted in the 2012 and 2015 mission reports;
  6. Notes with concern that legal approval was given in June 2017 for the “Intercontinental Hotel – Ice Skating Club – Vienna Concert Hall” project by the Vienna City Council, and that construction work is proposed to start in spring 2020, subject to a ‘clarification of whether the 2017 modifications to the project are sufficient to retain the authenticity of the property’, even though the Committee has advised that this project in its current form would adversely affect the OUV of the property; and that a political decision allowing the Wien Museum and the Winterthur Building projects is expected in spring 2018;
  7. Requests the State Party to halt any further approvals for high-rise projects, and the implementation of already approved projects, pending the adoption of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and corrective measures by the Committee;
  8. Notes with satisfaction the three-stage process proposed by the State Party, to address the substantive threats posed by current planning instruments and new developments at the property that led to Danger listing; and also requests that the State Party ensure that an outcome of the three-stage process is an agreed DSOCR and a related set of corrective measures and timeframe for their implementation, addressing decisions 40 COM 7B.49 and 41 COM 7B.42, and the recommendations of the 2012 and 2015 missions, for adoption by the Committee;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019;
  10. Decides to retain Historic Centre of Vienna (Austria) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2018
Austria
Date of Inscription: 2001
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2017-present
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2018) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 42COM (2018)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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