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Securing Future of Heritage by Reducing Risks and Building Resilience

The loss of tangible and intangible Cultural Heritage can affect cultural and social values and their role in sustainable development (Boccardi and Duvelle, 2013; UNESCO, 2016). A recent agreement between the UN and World Bank explicitly states “that cultural heritage and sustainable tourism have become key economic drivers for poverty reduction and job creation, especially for women and youth” (World Bank 2017). Culture is directly addressed in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, and SDG 13 – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (UN, 2015a); it has also been recognised as a key dimension of disaster risk reduction and the need to protect and draw upon various benefits of heritage as an asset for resilience (UN, 2015b; Hellgate et al. 2016). This emphasises the important role of CH in urban development that is both resilient and sustainable (Ravankhah et al. 2016). However to date the research focuses largely on tangible heritage in isolation, without taking into account a broader context.

Historic urban areas are not only an important part of a country’s identity but also a key driver of tourism (which contributes to national economic and social resilience). However an increased number of extreme weather events associated with the impacts of climate change, and human-induced hazards (such as wars, terrorism and crime) are posing significant problems in managing and preserving urban heritage worldwide; thus improved climate change adaptation and enhanced hazard/ threat mitigation strategies have become critical considerations and will be the focus of this project. A key factor indicating the need to increase the resilience of HULs is the particular fragility of their historic fabric and higher vulnerability (i.e. due to ageing materials, limited critical infrastructure and urban density) to natural hazards and human-induced threats in comparison with contemporary urban areas, which typically have a higher response capacity (i.e. due to stricter building codes, modern materials and better access for emergency services). The increasing pressures on historic urban areas’ geo-physical environment, carrying capacity and socio-economic developments are likely to reach a critical point in the near future and require urgent action. To date however little academic research has been undertaken that addressed the specific challenges faced by historic urban areas.

The special issue will present a collection of best-practice in the area of DRM of Cultural Heritage, including a deeper understanding of:

  • Improved risk management and inputs to conservation and adaptation policies for urban heritage
  • Diagnosis, treatment and a better understanding of the historical and technological contexts of heritage;
  • Promoting improved practices for the guardians of cultural assets in historic urban areas

Indicative list of anticpated themes:

  • Dealing with multiple hazards/threats
  • Dealing with multiple stakeholders
  • Linking Cultural Heritage and DRM policy and practices
  • Considering Cultural Heritage assets within broader urban development context

Key Information

The deadline for submissions is 30th July 2018.

Author guidelines, including on formats and length limit, must be strictly followed and can be found on the journal web site at:

Submissions must be through Scholar-One Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at:

Contact Details

Please get in touch with the editorial team if you have any questions:

Ksenia Chmutina
Loughborough University
[email protected]

Rohit Jigyasu
[email protected]

Takeyuki Okubo
Ritsumeikan University
[email protected]

Gemma Hemming
[email protected]