• World Heritage Review 81: World Heritage and Urban Heritage

World Heritage Review 81: World Heritage and Urban Heritage

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Cities are among the most quickly evolving environments on the planet. Over half of the world’s population lives in cities today, and knowing how to manage these urban areas as they grow, so that we can both cherish our history and yet help them to flourish socially, culturally and economically while they meet our needs, is a complex and monumental task. We examine these questions in conjunction with Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development taking place in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.

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The United Nations General Assembly decided to convene the Habitat III Conference to bolster the global commitment to sustainable urbanization, and focus on the implementation of a New Urban Agenda. World Heritage sites are inevitably part of this equation.

There are many cities inscribed on the World Heritage List, and we will explore a handful of them here: Havana (Cuba), founded in 1519 by the Spanish, and today a sprawling metropolis; Kyoto (Japan), the centre of Japanese culture for more than 1,000 years; Saint-Louis (Senegal), located on an island at the mouth of the Senegal River; and Tel Aviv (Israel), whose White City was constructed from the 1930s through the 1950s. Each of these cities was shaped by the cultures that created them and the roles they have held throughout their history. In this issue we touch on the ways these distinctly different cities have developed, and effective approaches to managing them.