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This glossary is structured alphabetically. The sources are listed at the end, with the associated concepts in brackets.

Communities Engagement

Community engagement means engaging communities in the management and use of the site. Communities are groups of people living around the site, who have shared interests, or a common background in reference to the heritage. There are diverse definitions and forms of communities, including local community-based organisations, or local heritage and history societies (Geschichtsvereine). Forms of involvement and engagement range from taking an initiative, and decision making, to more passive forms such as awareness raising and information.

Communities engagement is relevant in regards to several aspects: Heritage sites should have a function in the life of communities for ongoing maintenance, long-term use, and local development. Communities engagement serves the social dimension of sustainability, and is a constituent component in the inter-generational transmission and dissemination of heritage.

Climate Change

Climate change is the most significant global challenge. UNESCO documents and policies face climate change and its impact on World Heritage sites now and in the future. There is a need to predict and manage the effects through adaptation and mitigation. 

Adaptation describes the adjustment of natural and human systems in response to climate change and its effects, in order to mitigate harm or to exploit beneficial opportunities. Mitigation means interventions to reduce the sources of climate change. Actions include energy-saving measures, avoidance of waste, and the enhancement of public transport. 


The UNESCO World Heritage Convention aims to protect and conserve cultural and natural heritage. The outstanding universal value of UNESCO World Heritage has to be understood and considered. For conservation, it is most important to meet the conditions of authenticity and integrity of the heritage site. Conservation includes possibilities of enhancement, adaptation, and change.

Legal frameworks, policies, and authorities are crucially relevant for implementing conservation demands within planning and management processes. 

Urban conservation includes new approaches and instruments, as under other the so called Historic Urban Landscape approach. These approaches are process-oriented, and demand for a holistic understanding of the complexity of urban environments.


UNESCO points out that information and education about a heritage site, as well as awareness-raising about the need to protect and conserve the heritage, are crucial. Information channels and guided tours of the site, publications and broadcast formats, and social media  all offer and allow different modes of communication and learning about a site.

Information and education support virtual, intellectual, sensitive, and physical access to the heritage. Furthermore, training and teaching allow the continuity of specific, heritage-related knowledge and craftsmanship. 


Effective management of heritage sites ensures their protection for present and future generations. A systematic approach is crucial for implementing the objectives for industrial heritage sites and taking appropriate action. Complexity often arises through the challenging demands of diverse core objectives and the competing interests of multiple actors. Management helps to establish a transparent and continuous system for communication, monitoring, and reporting.
Management consist of legal elements (e.g., general protection laws, conservation policies, and planning instruments) as well as specific territorial boundaries and buffer zones. They include institutional elements, such as public authorities. Core resources have to be maintained, and further resources (be they human, financial, knowledge, or social capital resources) can be activated.

Important elements of management are management systems or management plans and monitoring of the site. Both are mandatory elements for UNESCO World Heritage sites. 


Research and heritage impact assessments are fundamental to identify and understand heritage, and to appropriately manage and monitor sites in respect of their outstanding universal value and to maintain the conditions of authenticity and integrity. Basic research is mostly done to identify and interpret heritage, whereas evaluation research supports monitoring processes.

Heritage impact assessments (HIAs) are relevant for evaluation research; they help to identify upcoming risks or benefits (e.g., from new development projects), and to differentiate these impacts on heritage sites. HIAs and other forms of assessment, such as environmental impact assessments (EIAs), inform management and decision making.


Heritage needs a function in the life of communities. The uses of heritage vary enormously, and involve not only communities but also visitors, investors, and authorities in decisions to enable or limit proposed uses.

Industrial heritage often needs re-uses, because sites and buildings were abandoned after companies restructured, reduced, or ceased production and trade at these places. It is therefore crucial to find a new function or programme for the site. There is great variation in heritage reuse projects worldwide, ranging from housing and office space, via tourism, to education and shopping functions.

Sustainable Development

Management and planning of heritage sites includes balancing conservation and sustainable development. Two approaches to sustainable development are relevant to the UNESCO World Heritage Programme. The first approach is to understand sustainable development as an intergenerational responsibility to meet the needs of the present without diminishing those of future generations. Secondly, the understanding of sustainable development is constituted of three pillars: Ecological, social, and economic. 

The UNESCO policy for integrating the sustainable development and management of World Heritage sites corresponds to its overall mandate to foster sustainable development and to promote peace and security. Corresponding to the UN Habitat III New Urban Agenda and the Council of Europe’s Faro Convention (on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society), the management of heritage sites focuses on four dimensions: environmental sustainability, inclusive social development, inclusive economic development, and peace and security. 

The academic discussion points out the necessity, but also the benefits, of holistic approaches— integrating conservation and sustainable development. The benefits include:  implementing the principle of minimum intervention; the reuse and recycling of buildings and structures; safeguarding local distinctiveness; using local sources of knowledge and skills; understanding the roots and history of places; contributing to local economies and community empowerment; and managing in accordance with long-term perspectives.

Urban Development

The New Urban Agenda of the UN Habitat III points out the significance of cultural heritage and sustainable development in the rehabilitation and revitalisation of urban areas, and in strengthening community participation and the exercise of citizenship. UNESCO and ICOMOS, as well as the Council of Europe, share the UN vision of urban development and give impulse to it in several of their own policies and declarations. 

Cities, investors, and other stakeholders use UNESCO World Heritage as a driver for urban development. Some tendencies are criticised— mainly those that contribute to gentrification and expanding tourism, or which prioritise economic benefits over conservation concerns. Unless carefully balanced, the enhancement, upgrading, and branding of heritage sites might lead to overuse of the sites and even to socio-economic segregation of cities.


Sources from UNESCO

UNESCO. (2016). The Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention. Retrieved from [conservation, education, management, research]
UNESCO. (2015). World Heritage and Sustainable Development: WHC-15/39.COM/5D. Retrieved from [sustainability]
UNESCO. (2012). Community Development through World Heritage. Retrieved from [communities engagement, management]
UNESCO. (2008). Policy Document on the Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage Properties. Retrieved from [climate change, management]
UNESCO. (2007). Climate Change and World Heritage. Report on Predicting and Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage and Strategy to Assist States Parties to Implement Appropriate Management Responses. Retrieved from [climate change, management]

Sources from UNESCO Partner Organisations

Göttler, M., & Ripp, M. (2017). OWHC Guidebook: Community Involvement in Heritage Management. Retrieved from [communities engagement]
ICOMOS. (2011). Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessments for Cultural World Heritage Properties. Retrieved from [research]
ICOMOS. (2011). The Paris Declaration: On Heritage as Driver of Development. Retrieved from [urban development]
Petzet, M. (2013). Monumenta II. Conservation of Monuments and Sites. International Principles in Theory and Practice. Retrieved from [conservation]
Ringbeck, B. (2008). Managementpläne für Welterbestätten: Ein Leitfaden für die Praxis. Bonn: Dt. UNESCO-Komm. Retrieved from [conservation, management]
UN. (2016). Habitat III: New Urban Agenda. Retrieved from  [urban development]
UN. (2013) Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from [sustainability & climate change; urban development; education]
Wijesuriya, G., Thompson, J., & Young, C. (2013). Managing Cultural World Heritage. World Heritage Resource Manual. Retrieved from [management]

Sources from the Academic Discussion

Bandarin, F., & van Oers, R. (2012). The historic urban landscape: Managing heritage in an urban century. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. [conservation, management, research, urban development]
Douet, J. (Ed.). (2012). Industrial heritage re-tooled: The TICCIH guide to industrial heritage conservation (1st ed). Lancaster: Carnegie Publishing Ltd. [conservation, education, research, reuse]
Labadi, S., & Logan, W. (Eds.). (2016). Urban heritage, development and sustainability: International frameworks, national and local governance. London, New York: Routledge. [communities engagement, conservation, management system, sustainability, urban development]
Makuvaza, S. (2018). Aspects of management planning for cultural world heritage sites. Wiesbaden: Springer. [communities engagement, conservation, management]
Oevermann, H. & Mieg, Harald. A. (2015). Industrial heritage sites in transformation. Clash of discourses. London, New York: Routledge. [communities engagement, conservation, reuse, urban development]
Rodwell, D. (2007). Conservation and sustainability in historic cities. Oxford: Blackwell. [conservation, sustainable development & climate change, urban development]

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