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Colonial City of Santo Domingo

Dominican Republic
Factors affecting the property in 2011*
  • Earthquake
  • Housing
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Interpretative and visitation facilities
  • Land conversion
  • Legal framework
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Society's valuing of heritage
  • Storms
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Undefined and unregulated buffer zone leading to urban development pressure and inadequate control of land use;

b) Pressures derived from tourism;

c) Inadequate and inefficient management and conservation arrangements (including legislation, regulatory measures, technical capacity for conservation and service infrastructure);

d) Lack of interpretation and presentation of the property;

e) Natural vulnerability to earthquakes and hurricanes;

f) Deterioration of historic structures derived from natural and social factors (including environmental pollution and lack of sensitisation of local residents);

g) Urban development project SANSOUCI.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2011
Requests approved: 3 (from 1990-2000)
Total amount approved : 82,207 USD
Missions to the property until 2011**

1993, 1995, 1998; August 2001: ICOMOS monitoring mission; December 2009: World Heritage Centre site visit; December 2009: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

The state of Conservation report was received by the World Heritage Centre on 1 February 2011.

a) Strategic Plan for the Integral Revitalization of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo

The report indicates that the Municipality of the National District submitted a Draft Ordinance to the Municipal Council for the creation of a Special Commission for the evaluation of the draft Strategic Plan. Based on the evaluation, it is expected that the Ordinance would be approved during the first quarter 2011. A copy of the Plan and draft Ordinance were enclosed with the submitted report. The Plan includes regulatory and strategic sections with guidelines on conservation of urban and architectonic heritage, land use, building regulations, among others as well as proposals for transit related studies and improvement options, priority actions to be undertaken and description of specific projects related to environmental quality, housing, tourism, infrastructure and others.

Concerning the implementation of a Steering Committee for the preservation of the property, the report indicates that the Director Committee for the Colonial City of Santo Domingo was reactivated in July 2010. The first draft of its statutes is ready for revision by the Juridical Council Office of the Municipality. To secure the necessary resources for the operation of the management system, funds from the National District Municipality, the Ministry of Culture, and the Fund for the Protection of Santo Domingo, private donors and international organizations have been allocated. A sustainable tourism project of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) amounting to USD 30 000 000, is planned for implementation in 2012. No detailed information on this project or its terms of reference were included in the report

 

b) SANSOUCI development project

One of the three parts of the SANSOUCI development project (the Port) has been finalized. The 2009 reactive monitoring mission did not express concern regarding this part of the development. As for the SANSOUCI Real Estate Development Project, the State Party states that it is willing to implement the required measures to avoid inscribing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. It included in the report a letter from SANSOUCI Holdings, the Company in charge of the project that states its commitment to respect national regulations for the preservation of heritage as well as the World Heritage Convention. It indicates that no other proposals have or are being studied although no additional information is provided on the current status of the project or on alternative designs and technical specifications for the project as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010).

In relation to the future developments foreseen in the buffer zone, the report states that the North and West sectors have been developed in harmony with the Colonial City. The East Sector has currently a low density but it is expected that the SANSOUCI project will increase it. According to the Municipality of Santo Domingo East, for the moment no changes in the height regulations have been made. The regulations for this sector will be established by the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of the Colonial City. No timeframe for these actions was indicated.

c) Other issues

With respect to the zoning regulations and interventions for the Colonial City, an Ordinance has been finalized and submitted to the Municipal Council for approval. The regulations have been adopted by the administration of the National District Municipality, in agreement with the Ministry of Culture, and are applied to all projects in the Colonial City examined by the Direction of Monumental and National Heritage. The regulations and Ordinance were attached to the report and are available on the website of the Municipality.

Regarding the approval of the proposed buffer zone, a draft resolution has been elaborated by the National District Administration and has been included in the Ordinance related to regulations of the Colonial City. The document was sent to the Municipality in July 2010, to be presented to the Municipal Council. It was indicated that the resolution could be approved during the first quarter 2011. The regulations for Gazcue area are currently being elaborated and that it has a 30% progress.

The new National Constitution was promulgated on 26 January 2010. The update of the cultural legislation for the protection, safeguarding and development of cultural heritage, including the creation of a State Secretary for Culture has started (using Law 41-00 as a base). The update will be submitted to the National Council for Culture during the first months of 2011. The protection mechanisms, in particular those related to incentives and sanctions have been included in the updating of the Law.

The report indicates that the Regulations for Archaeological Research have been submitted to the National Council of Culture for analysis and should be approved during the next session of the Council in February 2011.

Other issues included in the report concern advances in the recovery of the Santa Barbara neighbourhood, several activities described (no graphic information attached), evaluation of the state of conservation of the Santa Barbara church for its restoration, lighting of the Colonial City monuments and streets, works for the conservation of the San Carlos church, heritage diffusion programmes, conservation and capacity building for staff in charge. In addition, new interventions for housing in the Colonial City and the buffer zone has been undertaken (no photos or technical information attached). No map including the location of the mentioned projects was submitted.

According to press reports, a debate has been proposed by the Minister of Culture in regard to the pertinence of the demolition/renovation of the wall surrounding the back part of the Ozama fortress (called the Trujillo wall). The main issues are related to the fact that the wall was built during the 1940’s and that it is blocking the view to the fortress. Others claim that the wall now is part of the history of the city and has become part of its architectural ensemble.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2011

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the progress made by the State Party in the approval of the proposed buffer zone, Strategic Plan for the Integral Revitalization of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo and its regulations. Nevertheless they remain concerned regarding the limited information provided regarding the current status of the SANSOUCI Real Estate Project and the planned future measures regarding height regulations to be undertaken in Santo Domingo East.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the Ozama River and its left bank are an essential component of the Colonial City. The situation of the surroundings has preserved its values especially in relation to the colonial urban nucleus. It is crucial to preserve the visual perception of the existing relationship between the city, the river and the sea, a situation that would not be possible with the construction of the SANSOUCI Real Estate project as it was originally planned.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2011
35 COM 7B.123
Colonial City of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) (C 526)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.108, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Recognizes the efforts made by the State Party in improving the management and conservation arrangements for the property and urges the State Party to finalize the approval process for the delimitation of the buffer zone and its regulations as previously requested by the World Heritage Committee;

4. Reiterates its request to submit, by 30 November 2011, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, the following information:

a) Alternative designs for the Sansouci project which take into account the scale of the inscribed property and the impacts that the urban and touristic development may have on the conservation of the attributes that sustain its Outstanding Universal Value,

b) Progress on the definition of height regulations for Santo Domingo East, taking into account the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

5. Also requests to continue to implement the recommendations of the 2009 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission, with special attention to:

a) Halting future developments foreseen in the buffer zone, mainly affecting the area of Santo Domingo East, that could impact adversely on the property,

b) Finalize the approval process for the new law for the protection, safeguarding and development of cultural heritage and the regulations for archaeological investigations,

c) Finalize the process of approving the Strategic Plan for the Integral Revitalization of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo and the Steering Committee and to secure the necessary resources for the operation of the management system currently in place;

6. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, 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 37th session in 2013.

Draft Decision: 35 COM 7B.123

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.108, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Recognizes the efforts made by the State Party in improving the management and conservation arrangements for the property and urges the State Party to finalize the approval process for the delimitation of the buffer zone and its regulations as previously requested by the World Heritage Committee;

4. Reiterates its request to submit, by 30 November 2011, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, the following information:

a) Alternative designs for the SANSOUCI project which take into account the scale of the inscribed property and the impacts that the urban and touristic development may have in the conservation of the attributes that sustain its Outstanding Universal Value,

b) Progress on the definition of height regulations for Santo Domingo East, taking into account the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

5. Also requests to continue to implement the recommendations of the 2009 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission, with special attention to:

a) Halting future developments foreseen in the buffer zone, mainly affecting the area of Santo Domingo East, that could impact adversely on the property,

b) Finalize the approval process for the new law for the protection, safeguarding and development of cultural heritage and the regulations for archaeological investigations,

c) Finalize the process of approving the Strategic Plan for the Integral Revitalization of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo and the Steering Committee and to secure the necessary resources for the operation of the management system currently in place;

6. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, 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 37th session in 2013. 

Report year: 2011
Dominican Republic
Date of Inscription: 1990
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 35COM (2011)
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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