„The historic urban landscape acquires its exceptional and universal significance from a gradual evolutionary, as well as planned territorial development over a relevant period of time through process of urbanization, incorporating environmental and topographic conditions and expressing economic and socio-cultural values pertaining to societies.”
This quote from the Vienna Memorandum on “World Heritage and Contemporary Architecture - Managing the Historic Urban Landscape” (UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 2005) states that the historic urban landscape cannot be merely seen as an accumulation of significant monuments but rather needs to be considered as a living organism and vital living space for its inhabitants.
The Old Town of Lublin
However, the rapidly changing basic conditions of modern times (like e.g. the fast-growing economic competition and accompanying development pressure, climate change, demographic change, etc.) pose a big challenge on the management of many historic urban areas, which can no longer be handled by traditional mono-sectoral policies. The lack of multi-level exchange with responsible managing authorites and the lack of integrated sustainable urban development policies which link the preservation of cultural heritage with the socio-economic development of historic urban landscape will eventually result in non-competitive urban areas with a low amenity value for inhabitants and visitors alike.
Capitalising the results of past initiatives and taking into consideration the Lisbon/Gothenburg Strategy, the HerO Network addresses the following issue: Upgrading the urban environment by integrating cultural and natural heritage in sustainable urban development policies, aiming at preserving and valorising elements of natural and cultural heritage while developing attractiveness, social cohesion and economic activity.
Our network HerO cooperates closely with the European Association of Historic Towns and Regions EAHTR, an organization formed by the Council of Europe in 1999 that represents almost one thousand historic towns in Europe. EAHTR’s principle objective is to identify and share experience and good practice in the sustainable urban conservation and management of historic areas through international collaboration and co-operation between towns and cities and other involved organisations.
This fruitful cooperation with EAHTR on the one hand stimulates our project work and allows us to capitalize on the experiences of other historic towns in Europe, on the other hand it facilitates a wide dissemination of our project HerO’s results among the EAHTR member cities.
For further information on EAHTR please visit http://www.historic-towns.org.