Title: Cities’ cultural heritage management in times of climate change
Prof. Nikolaos Samaras
Department of Planning and Regional Development
University of Thessaly, Greece
The European Green Deal, presented by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in December 2019, is Europe's response to the major challenges posed to our societies by climate change and aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. However, cultural heritage is not explicitly mentioned in the Green Deal. A report, published in 2022, entitled “STRENGTHENING CULTURAL HERITAGE RESILIENCE FOR CLIMATE CHANGE - Where the European Green Deal Meets Cultural Heritage”, summarises the work of the EU Member States' expert group on the issue.
Natural and man-made hazards, which are putting persistent pressure on the cultural heritage of cities, are steadily increasing in intensity also due to the frequency of extreme climate change events. Moreover, these disasters of cultural heritage assets exacerbate the conservation challenges and needs. This is not an issue of limited archaeological interest. These events also threaten the social, cultural, historical and artistic values of the assets, the safety of citizens and have an impact on local economies linked to tourism.
Cultural heritage management in times of climate change primarily involves research on climate change adaptation strategies, methodologies and other remedial tools, vital for safeguarding Europe's tangible cultural heritage from the constant pressures on it and the associated consequences that cause deterioration.
The most tangible form of cultural heritage of cities is considered to be their architectural heritage, while its “inestimable cultural value” and the role it can play in “shaping a common European identity” make its preservation a “matter of vital importance”, as explicitly provided for in the Amsterdam Declaration (1975: paragraph 1). The need to investigate this issue is of particular interest in city centres, where the most important historic buildings and the most interesting part of the urban fabric are usually concentrated, and where land is predominantly an economic asset, and therefore the expected pressures for the replacement of the building stock for the economic exploitation of land are greater.