|What is the ‘Built Heritage’?
The built heritage takes many forms. Typically, the term ‘built heritage’ was mostly applied to small selected groups of monuments or sites agreed by experts as being of exceptional value. In the past 30 to 40 years, however, our definition of the built heritage has been considerably expanded both in terms of typology and in terms of those who determine value. Currently a list of the built heritage could include among others:
- archaeological and other sites;
- urban areas;
- cultural landscapes.
This list may further be broken down into such categories as:
- religious or other spiritual buildings or places;
- vernacular architecture;
- historic towns, cities, or settlements;
- parks and gardens;
- cultural routes.
These lists cannot be seen as exclusive, and the built heritage must be defined and categorized according to the needs and values of the person or groups making the definitions.
The built heritage can be found anywhere, in any community, and can be of importance to any one person, group of people, community, nation, or group of nations. There is sometime agreement on the values of the built heritage amongst many persons or groups, but sometimes values are not shared, and may even be contested.
The built heritage cannot stand alone. Built heritage almost always has heritage objects associated with it, as well as intangible heritage in the form of know how, rituals, performances, and specific uses. Conservation and management must always take into account the entire heritage in question.
The built heritage also does not stand alone from the community that lives around it and cares for it. It is an integral part of that community and must be seen as a contributor to life of the community and its social and economic well being.
Challenges for the conservation of the built heritage
The expanding definition of the built heritage, along with the stronger involvement of the many stakeholders with an interest in the heritage, have provided specific challenges for ICCROM as it tries to meet its mandate of promoting the conservation of all types of cultural heritage, both movable and immovable.
Some of the key challenges to be faced include:
- strengthening links between conservation practice for immovable and for movable heritage;
- stressing preventive conservation approaches and linking these to intervention-driven conservation practice;
- strengthening links between managerial and the technical approaches to conservation;
- promoting the appropriate use of interdisciplinary conservation processes;
- promoting the appreciation and application of traditional construction systems in conservation;
- advocating the inclusion of risk preparedness in management approaches for conservation;
integrating science-based and craft-based approaches to conservation practice.
At its XXIV Session in November 2005, the General Assembly of ICCROM approved a long-term programme for the Conservation of the Built Heritage.
The programme is based on global needs in the field of conservation of immovable cultural heritage as understood by gathering information from many of ICCROM’s international and regional programmes and activities, and supported by more formal needs assessments such as the work of the ICCROM Council Working Group on Architectural Conservation (2005) and the World Heritage Periodic Reporting Process.
The current programme, derived from the results of the ICCROM Council Working Group, integrates approaches to the conservation of architectural structures with those of archaeological sites, urban settlements, and cultural landscapes. It also provides a logical structure for ongoing and new activities in architectural conservation.
The general objective of the programme for Conservation of the Built Heritage is to increase the capacity of professionals to develop and apply integrated approaches to the practice of conservation of the built heritage.
The strategy of the programme is to develop activities within a number of thematic and material related areas identified as being of key importance currently to the field in addition to the flagship activity, the Conservation of the Built Heritage course, which takes place in Rome. It is envisioned that links will be made amongst these thematic and material related issues to allow for a dynamic interchange of ideas and resources.
In the 2010–2011 biennium, responding to the request by the ICCROM General Assembly for a ZNG (Zero Nominal Growth) Budget, the activities of the Conservation of the Built Heritage Programme have been streamlined to focus on those core activities deemed as key to the success of the programme. As a result, there is a major focus on training courses.
Additional, complimentary research, information and advocacy related activities may be added if additional funding can be found.
13 April, 2010