Content uploaded by Ana Tarrafa Silva
All content in this area was uploaded by Ana Tarrafa Silva on Mar 15, 2018
Content may be subject to copyright.
CULTURAL HERITAGE MANAGEMENT AND
HERITAGE (IMPACT) ASSESSMENTS
Ana Tarrafa Silva
, Ana Pereira Roders
Department of Built Environment, Eindhoven University of Technology, P. O. box 513, 5600 MB
Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Cultural heritage management is going through a process of change, where the focus is no
longer the management of monuments, groups of buildings or sites, but the cultural
significance they convey, such as the values and attributes, either tangible or intangible,
which motivated these assets to be considered outstanding and designated as cultural
heritage. Cultural heritage managers need to ensure that the management practices and
methods they follow remain adequate and when they don’t, to revise them in order to succeed
on protecting the cultural heritage assets under their safeguard. This article aims to provide a
brief background and state-of-the-art on heritage (impact) assessments. Further, it introduces
a method to assist heritage (impact) assessments, which can either be applied to identify,
monitor evolution in time and/or help determining the impact of various agents of change,
such as climate, natural catastrophes or development, on the cultural significance conveyed
on cultural heritage assets. An illustration on the progress and outcomes of its application on
World Heritage properties located in Guimarães (Portugal), Willemstad (Curacao), Galle (Sri
Lanka) and Zanzibar (Tanzania) will be presented and sustain the discussion on the
contribution of such method to cultural heritage management, while exploring its strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis). Last, conclusions are presented, as
well as, recommendations for further research. The method, application and validation
presented in this article are very useful to facility managers dedicated to cultural heritage
management, policy makers who regulate cultural heritage protection and planning
processes, and technical experts performing heritage (impact) assessments. Besides raising
awareness for heritage (impact) assessments, this method also expects to contribute to the
increase of cultural heritage management practices that enhance cultural heritage and in turn
enable the contribution of cultural heritage to the sustainable development of present and
Keywords: cultural heritage management, cultural significance, heritage impact assessment,
Cultural heritage management is going through a process of change, where the focus
is no longer the management of the integrity of heritage assets, but the cultural
significance they convey, such as the values and attributes, either tangible or
intangible, which motivated these assets to be considered outstanding and designated
as cultural heritage. Cultural heritage managers need to ensure that the management
practices and methods they follow remain adequate and when they don’t, to revise
them in order to succeed on protecting the cultural heritage assets under their
The Burra Charter
(ICOMOS Australia 1999) came to fill the gap left by the Charter
of Venice (ICOM et al 1964), recognizing the “conservation as a dynamic process of
change management” that should be conducted through a value-based approach; in
which the “Statement of Significance” becomes the key document of the entire
process. Even if national-oriented, the Burra Charter had a strong impact in the
international community involved in the field of cultural heritage management. This
same State of Significance became mandatory for States Parties to include in new
nominations (UNESCO 2005). Nowadays, it is known as Statement of Outstanding
Universal Value (UNESCO 2008).
The value-based management process described by Burra Charter entails three
stages: significance assessment, develop policy and management (ICOMOS
Australia 1999). Further revisions introduced a fourth stage for assessing
vulnerability into the process in order to explicitly identify threats to cultural
significance (Kerr 2000; Clark 1999, 2001), or for purposely change cultural
heritage, through means of implementing development projects (Pereira Roders &
Hudson 2011). This value-based management process has been extensively applied
in countries such as Australia and United Kingdom, either by changing the
legislation or drafting new conservation guidelines (English Heritage 2008). Other
researches have also focused in developing, improving and/or verifying this process,
among which are the important reports produced at The Getty Conservation Institute
(Avrami 2000; Mason 2002; Torre 2003).
The next challenge proposed to facility managers involved in cultural heritage
management regards measuring the impact that specific development proposals may
have on the significance of cultural heritage assets, they are responsible to manage
and protect for present and future generations. Even when included in Environmental
Impact Assessments (EIA), cultural significance remains limited and present lacks
the relation with the attributes and values conveying the cultural significance. Such
shortage is dangerous and risk jeopardizing the cultural heritage assets (Teller and
Bond 2002; Bond et al 2004; Dupagne et al 2004, Jones and Slinn 2008).
Nonetheless, the scenery is slowly changing and tools such as the SUIT method
started being created and implemented, aiming to create guidelines for managing
change within historic areas including cultural heritage assets, and “contribute to
their long-term sustainability” (Dupagne et al 2004).
This paper aims to provide the background and state-of-the–art of heritage impact
assessments, as well as, to propose and discuss a new method to assess the
significance of cultural heritage assets. Initially developed by Ana Pereira Roders
(2007) as part of a design process model to guide designers involved in rehabilitation
interventions, this method kept on evolving while being implemented by a group of
MSc. students graduating in Architecture under the Graduate Studio “Cultural
heritage and Sustainability: World Heritage cities as case study”, at the Department
of the Built Environment, Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands.
Briefly, this group of students cooperates directly with the local governments and/or
institutions involved with the management of the World Heritage assets taken as case
study. They work during the whole academic year on their thesis, and for the data
collection they undertake a period of three months abroad for field work. Moreover,
The Australia ICOMOS charter for the conservation of places of cultural significance was adopted
by Australia ICOMOS in1974 at Burra, Australia. The charter has since been revised and updated,
and the sole version now in force was approved in 1999 (Torre, 2003).
their results are used to validate the results of a broader and international-oriented
research program aiming to survey the relationship between heritage (impact)
assessments and the sustainable development of urban settlements that include
cultural heritage eassets listed as World Heritage within their urban areas.
This research has started in 2009 and aims to be completed by 2014, with the aim to
develop, test and verify a web-based tool which can assist local governments
performing heritage (impact) assessments on World Heritage assets located in an
urban context. Eindhoven University of Technology is cooperating with UNESCO
World Heritage Centre, the Organization of World Heritage Cities, various local
governments and Universities who expressed interested to join and contribute to this
challenging research program.
The concept of cultural significance is used by the conservation community when
addressing the range of values ascribed to a cultural heritage asset and justifying its
designated status (Avrami et al 2000). Furthermore, cultural significance is present in
both place itself, its fabric and setting, as well as, on its use, associations, meanings,
records, related places and objects (Australia ICOMOS 1999).
Cultural values are subjective and extrinsic (Hodder 2000); though, they would
change over time but not in time. Different groups (of generations, professionals, etc)
and even individuals may simply attach different weight to the cultural values, and
different levels of relevance to the same cultural heritage asset, but still, the cultural
values remain the same (Pereira Roders & Hudson 2011).
Since Riegl distinction between memorial and present-day values (Riegl 1903)
several typologies of cultural values have followed (Mason 2002; Riganti and
Nijkamp 2005; COE 1976), including in national and international heritage
conservation guidelines (English Heritage 2008; EC 2005 in Battaini-Dragoni,
2005). In 2007, Pereira Roders has defined eight primary values: social, economic,
political, historic, aesthetical, scientific, age and ecological values; and varied
This typology of values was proposed to complement the four cultural values -
historic, aesthetical/artistic, scientific and social values - recognized at UNESCO’s
World Heritage Convention (1972, 2008); with the three pillars of sustainable
development - ecological, social and economic values, the political values (Riganti
and Nijkamp 2005) and the age values (Riegl 1903) as the values conveyed in
cultural heritage assets.
The aims were to verify Mason’s (2002) assumptions on; first, the regency of
traditional values e.g. historic for assessing cultural significance; second, the
existence of a broader nature of values conveyed in cultural heritage assets, and
third, the contribution of a typology of values to mitigate manifoldness, by providing
an effective and neutral guide to be used by those involved with cultural heritage
assets. Forty international documents were surveyed, such as the recommendations
prepared by UNESCO, ICOMOS and Council of Europe to evidence that the variety
of values being used to describe the significance of cultural heritage assets was much
broader than expected, when arguing why these assets should be protected, as well
as, the rankings of these values in referenced frequency.
For a better understanding, follows the definition of the eight primary values (Pereira
Roders 2007). The social value of heritage assets is often expressed by concepts such
as “spirit of the place” or genius loci (Mason 2002). They associate the place with
feelings of identity, distinctiveness, social interaction and coherence (English
Heritage 2008), enabling the establishment of spiritual links between people and
buildings, objects and places.
According to Mason (2002), the economic values are distinct from the other cultural
values as their interpretation is fundamentally different. Embodied within economic
theories, the economic value is understood trough the logic of market and profit, in
which the potentially function and the income obtained from its use is what is
The values ascribed to heritage can be part or symbol of the power struggles and
exertions that determine the fate of heritage (Mason 2002); on the same way the
nomination might have resulted from a political decision. However, those facts
cannot be assumed as attributes of political value, as they might be no more related
or symbol of power, pride, distinctiveness and ideological approaches.
The historic value conveys present generations to the past, being the roots of the
very notion of heritage assets (Mason 2002). Beyond the historical feature (which in
fact entails the age value) (Pereira Roders 2007), the historic values could be accrue
from “its association with people or events, from its rarity, from its technological
qualities, or from its archival/documentary potential” (Mason 2002). Therefore the
spiritual links established diverge from the ones created by social values, by the fact
that they must be connect with the past, and are limited by the survival of the
physical fabric, meaning the preservation of its authenticity (English Heritage 2008).
The aesthetical values, as the historic, are traditionally used to labeling objects and
places as heritage (Mason 2002). However, they are probably the most subjective
and individualistic of the sociocultural values (Mason 2002), traditionally resulting
from the way that people draw sensory and intellectual stimulation from a place
(English Heritage 2008). There are some aspects of aesthetical values that can be
objectively measured, not regarding to beauty or sublime, but regarding to creativity,
conceptualization and preservation of the related attributes (Pereira Roders 2007).
According to the Burra Charter (1999), the scientific value of a place depends “on
the importance of the data involved, its rarity, quality or representativeness, and on
the degree to which the place may contribute” to future knowledge. Indeed, the
scientific value is focused on design process and the conceptualization of the cultural
heritage asset (Pereira Roders 2007), as a masterpiece of technology and
engineering. Traditionally connected to historic values, the age values are
distinguished from for their relation to the life cycle of the cultural heritage assets, it
survival and evolution throughout a period of time (Riegl in Pereira Roders 2007).
The maturation and the several changes introduced over the time, building up
evidences from the passage of varied generations, constitutes the age value of
heritage assets (Pereira Roders 2007).
Firstly mentioned on the Declaration of Amsterdam (COE 1976), the ecological
values refers to the relation that heritage assets play with the natural environment.
Moreover, the ecological values regards to the continuity of the asset, the capacity to
regenerate and survive in a sustainable conscious manner (Pereira Roders 2007).
Table 1: The cultural values (ICOMOS Australia, 1999; Manson, 2002; Pereira Roders,
2007; English Heritage, 2008)
Secondary Values References
beliefs, myths, religions (organized or not), legends, stories,
testimonial of past generations;
individual memory and personal life experiences;
notions related with cultural identity, motivation and pride, sense of
“place attachment” and communal value.
Allegorical objects/places representative of some social hierarchy/status;
Use the function and utility of the asset, original or attributed;
the asset’s expired function, which has it value on the past, and
should be remained by its existence (of materials), option (to make
some use of it or not) and bequest value (for future generations);
the role that might be have for contemporaneous market, mainly for
Allegorical oriented to publicizing financially property;
the education role that heritage assets may play, using it for
political targets (e. g. birth-nations myths, glorification of political
Management made part of strategies and policies (past or present);
it is part of strategies for dissemination of cultural awareness,
explored for political targets;
emblematic, power, authority and prosperous perceptions stem
from the heritage asset;
heritage asset as a potential to gain knowledge about the past in the
quality of an object to be part of a few or unique testimonial of
historic stylistic or artistic movements, which are now part of the
quality of an object to be part of a few or unique testimonial that
retains conceptual signs (architectural, urban planning, etc.), which
are now part of history;
fact that the object has been part/related with an important event in
Archaeological connected with Ancient civilizations;
Artistic original product of creativity and imagination;
Notable product of a creator, holding his signature;
integral materialization of conceptual intentions (imply a
authentic exemplar of a decade, part of the History of Art or
Workmanship original result of human labour, craftsmanship;
skillfulness on techniques and materials, representing an
outstanding quality of work;
integral materialization of conceptual intentions (imply a
Workmanship craftsmanship value oriented towards the production period;
Maturity piece of memory, reflecting the passage/lives of past generations;
marks of the time passage (patine) presents on the forms,
components and materials;
harmony between the building and its environment (natural and
identification of ecological ideologies on its design and
manufactured resources which can either be reused, reprocessed or
METHOD TO ASSIST HERITAGE (IMPACT) ASSESSMENTS
The method described in this article progresses from the explained surveys on the
international documents to identify the values reflected in the arguments to sustain
the protection and conservation of cultural heritage assets, as well as, on the design
process for rehabilitation projects, where through the comparison between the results
from the pre-design and design stages, one could systematically determine the impact
of such project on the significance of such assets (Pereira Roders, 2007).
So far, this assessment has had three distinctive stages of evolution, towards
broadening on the sources of data, objectivity and role of the surveyor on the
heritage impact assessment process. In general terms, all three stages of evolution
included the highlighting and categorizing of arguments used to justify the
significance of the cultural heritage assets or their protection and conservation. The
list of cultural values and their description (table 1) was prepared to guide the
identification of the primary values (Tarrafa Silva & Pereira Roders 2010).
Stage 1: Relation between documents
The data sources for stage 1 were mainly documentary. Meaning that the main values
have been identified by following a process of content analysis and subsequent
coding on the most relevant documentation produced during the nomination and
protection stages of the OUV-based management process (Pereira Roders and Van
Oers, 2010), such as the decision reports resulting from the annual UNESCO
Sessions of the World Heritage Committee, the Nomination files, the Advisory Body
evaluation reports, the periodic and reactive monitoring reports, as well as, the
national and local policies.
A comparison was made with the results achieved when surveying the selection
criteria from the results achieved in each one of the documents to understand how far
the documents would reflect an understanding of the values reflected on the selection
criteria chosen to justify the nomination of the particular assets. Concerning data
analysis, two different approaches were undertaken – direct and indirect -
distinguished by method, but making use of the same primary values.
The method used for the direct approach consisted in establishing a correlation
between the primary values and the WH criteria proposed by SP, recommended by
ICOMOS as Advisory body, or inscribed by WH Committee for the three Portuguese
WH cities. As the cultural values were previously identified by Pereira Roders &
Oers (2010b) for each selection criterion (UNESCO, 2005), this approach merely
concerned the direct identification of the cultural values identified for each city.
Figure 1: Indirect approach; (Tarrafa da Silva and Pereira Roders, 2010)
The method used for the indirect approach revealed more complexity, once the
identification of cultural values had to be done through the identification of the
variables (primary values) in a wide random of documentation. Following the
process of coding, all similar passages of text extracted from the documents have
been marked and organized per primary values. Besides allowing “further
comparison and analysis” (Gibbs & Taylor, 2005), this method also allowed to
identify the broadness of primary values being mentioned and their rankings. Thus,
in methodological terms the primary values were assumed as the “themes”, the
secondary values as the “sub-themes”, and the quotations as the “indicators”.
Stage 2: Relation between documents and stakeholders
The data sources for stage 2 were mainly documentary and oral. The purpose was to
verify the relation between what was being written (policy strategy), to the real
practices and experiences of the involved stakeholders (policy implementation).
Also, to cope with the difficulties on gaining access to all the relevant
documentation, the surveyors would be integrated in the local conservation and
planning team for a period of three months.
A comparison would be also made between the direct and indirect approach, as well
as within the indirect approach. For a better illustration and faster perception of the
results a specific color was attributed to the primary values (Speckens et al, 2011).
Respectively, social is orange, economic is purple, political is yellow, historic is
pink, aesthetical is blue, scientific is red, age is dark green and ecological is light
green. Moreover, such coding method has also allowed the identification of the
attributes which would evidence the identified values. Figure 2 illustrates the
resulting charts for two stakeholder interviews, in Willemstad, Curacao.
Figure 2: Oral Inventories; Brugman and Weber (Speckens, 2011)
Stage 3: Relation between documents, stakeholders and the asset
The data sources for this stage were mostly documentary and physical. The
surveyors have undertaken a similar research than the previous ones. Yet, there are
few relevant changes which disable the direct comparison of results; but enable a
more throughout understanding on the relations between the attributes, the values
they convey and their nature – tangible and intangible.
Therefore, instead of counting how often the values would be mentioned, the survey
has focused on understanding which exactly the “official” attributes identified were
and check if those would or not be mentioned in the following documents. Those
values would also reflect the values, and consequently, similar charters to the
previous stages could be created. One of the advantages from this evolution, when
comparing documents, is the immediate distinction between three sets of attributes:
the “official” attributes in common, the attributes missing and the other attributes.
Such level of detail allows surveyors to get a general overview of the attributes and
values conveyed in the cultural heritage asset. Though, it also enables further surveys
to determine the authenticity and integrity of each one of the “official” attributes,
based on mapping their location and evolution in time. Figure 3 illustrates the
resulting charts from the comparison between the Advisory Body Evaluation report
(ICOMOS, 1988) and Development plan for Galle urban development area 2008-
2025, Sri Lanka (UDA, 2008).
Figure 3: Documentary inventories; Advisory Body Evaluation and Development plan for
Galle urban development area 2008-2025 (Boxem and Fuhren, 2011)
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The case-studies and its results have been used to draft a preliminary SWOT
analysis, allowing future improvements to be implemented on following stages.
The advantages of these method lay on the fact that the primary values are perfectly
defined and described (without losing its dynamic nature, as they can always been
improved and added). That enables different users, even without familiarized with
the context (outsiders) to be able to execute cultural significance assessments.
Moreover, this list can increase the awareness of the site managers regarding to the
variety of cultural values that can be present on their assets, determine the adequacy
of their current strategies and help them define further strategies towards a better
protection. Also, the coding process would assist the cultural managers into sensitize
information and make it countable, open the possibility for comparisons (Gibbs &
Taylor 2005) between different documents or assets.
Nonetheless, several weaknesses were also identified, mainly regarding to the
permanence of the subjectivity, which limits yet, for instance, the comparison
between the results obtained by different surveyors, and consequently its validation.
Therefore the inexistence of an original terminology can result into the
misunderstanding of the results.
As opportunities, this method has been proven so far to work as a key tool to support
facility management on their tasks related to monitoring and assessing the impact of
changes on the cultural heritage assets under their safeguard. By assisting them into
the cultural significance assessment practices, by resuming and convert extensive
data into more useful, reliable and adequate information will help them opt for
evidenced-based decision making and improve the conservation and urban
management plans accordingly, such as the EIAs.
Simultaneously, the tendentious obsession for quantitative data, mostly economic-
oriented, by facility managers and the consequent lack of understanding for the need
to merge both quantitative and qualitative data, as well as, considering a broader
nature of values and their indicators might weaken both method and cultural
significance of the assets, as the practice to assess the impact of strategies and
decisions on cultural heritage assets is still underdeveloped when compared to other
assessments. Also, cultural significance will always remain naturally subjective
(Hodder 2000) and interpretative, as regards no more than what society values as
significant to be protected for future generations. It will keep on varying in time and
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
As explained along the article, this method to assist heritage (impact) assessments
has had three distinctive stages of evolution, towards broadening on the sources of
data, objectivity and role of the surveyor on the heritage impact assessment process.
Such evolution has been proven useful and beneficial to the outcome of the surveys.
The method, application and validation presented in this article can be very useful to
facility managers dedicated to cultural heritage management, policy makers who
regulate cultural heritage protection and planning processes, and technical experts
performing heritage (impact) assessments. Besides raising awareness for heritage
(impact) assessments, this method also expects to contribute to the increase of
cultural heritage management practices that enhance cultural heritage and in turn
enable the contribution of cultural heritage to the sustainable development of present
and future generations.
Still, there is still much to improve. One recommendation would be to distinguish
referenced from the assumed values, as well as, to identify values and attributes
apart. This will result into a better understanding on the relation between attributes
and values; e.g. the relation between attributes conveying varied values, as well as,
values of similar natures conveyed in varied attributes. Moreover, by dethatching the
attributes from the values; the attributes may raise on objectivity as no other than
referenced attributes shall be considered in the survey. Thus, that would mitigate the
bias of reaching different results by surveyors performing the same method.
Avrami. E, Mason, R and De La Torre, M (eds.) (2000) “Values and Heritage
Conservation”, Los Angeles, Getty Conservation Institute.
Battaini-Dragoni. G (ed.) (2005) "Guidance on Heritage Assessment", Strasbourg:
Council of Europe.
Bond. A et al (2004) "Cultural Heritage: Dealing with the cultural heritage aspect of
environmental impact assessment" in Europe, Impact Assessment and Project
Appraisal, 22(1), 37–45.
Clark, K (1999) "Conservation Plans in Action", London: English Heritage.
Clark, K (2001)" Informed Conservation", London: English Heritage.
De La Torre, M (ed.) (2002) "Assessing the Values of Cultural Heritage", Los
Angeles, Getty Conservation Institute.
Dupagne, A, Ruelle, C and Teller, J (eds.) (2004) "Sustainable Development of
Urban Historical Areas through an active integration within towns", Research
Report n. 16. Brussels: European Commission (EC).
EC (1975) "The Declaration of Amsterdam", Congress on the European
English Heritage (2008) "Conservation Principles: Policies and Guidelines", London:
Hodder, I (2000) Symbolism, Meaning and Context, in J. Thomas (ed.) “Interpretive
Archaeology: A Reader”, London: Leicester University Press, 86–96.
ICOM et al. (1964) "The Venice Charter: International Charter for the Conservation
and Restoration of Monuments and sites", Second International Congress of
Architects and Technicians of Historic Monuments, Venice: International
Council of Museums (ICOM).
ICOMOS Australia (1999) "The Australia ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of
Places of Cultural Significance"
Jones, C E and Slinn, P (2008) Cultural Heritage in EIA – Reflections on Practice in
North West Europe, “Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and
Management”, 10(3), 215‐238.
Kerr, J S (2000) "Conservation Plan ", 3 ed, Sydney: The National Trust of Australia.
Mason, R (2002) "Assessing Values in Conservation Planning: Methodological
Issues and Choices", in M. de la Torre (ed.) "Assessing the Values of Cultural
Heritage". Research Report, Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute,
Nijkamp, P. (1995) Quantity and Quality: Evaluation Indicators for our Cultural-
Architectural Heritage, in H Coccossis and P Nijkamp (eds.) "Planning for
Our Cultural Heritage", Aldershot, Avebury
Pereira Roders, A. (2007) "RE-ARCHITECTURE: Lifespan rehabilitation of built
heritage." Eindhoven: Eindhoven University of Technology.
Pereira Roders, A and Hudson, J (2011) Change Management and Cultural Heritage.
In E Finch (Ed.),"Facilities Change Management", Chichester: John Wiley &
Sons. (submitted / inpress)
Tarrafa Silva, A and Pereira Roders, A (2010) The cultural significance of World
Heritage cities: Portugal as case study, in Amoêda R, Lira S and Pinheiro C.
(eds.), "Heritage 2010, Heritage and Sustainable Development". Barcelos:
Greenlines Institute for the Sustainable Development.
Teller, J and Bond, A (2002) "Review of present European environmental policies
and legislation involving cultural heritage", Environmental Impact
Assessment Review, 22:6, 611-632
UNESCO (2005) "Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World
Heritage Convention", Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and
UNESCO (2008) "Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World
Heritage Convention", Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and