UNESCO World Heritage and sustainable urban development


Approaches to perspective urban development through valorization of the UNESCO World Heritage Label, researched in towns of peripheral and metropolitan spaces

The UNESCO World Heritage Label is a contentious topic in local to global public and its importance for urban and regional development in Europe is ever increasing. For one the hand the nominations of European sites as UNESCO World Heritage are increasing while on the other hand the trend towards spatial polarization is continuing. The disparities between peripheral and metropolitan regions and their towns are increasing. The need to guide concentration processes in metropolises in a sustainable manner is confronted with the challenge –due to shrinkage and multifaceted problems in peripheral regions - of consolidating what has been achieved and stimulating developments. As a result of these developments the UNESCO World Heritage Label is a relevant topic for an ever increasing number of local and regional players. It’s a sensitive topic that in today’s metropolises mainly figures as a development barrier and a potential source of conflict while in peripheral regions it figures as a chance for stability and development.

In fact the potential of the UNESCO label for urban and regional development has been scarcely described; the effects and conditions of the World Heritage Label at the cross-section of socio-cultural to economic urban development issues insufficiently evaluated. As a result there is lack of transferable, academic and practically relevant deductions, how - in view of differing local constellations – the World Heritage Label can be part of sustainable urban development.

Goal and result of this research project are therefore spatially differentiated and actor-centered approaches that open up the UNESCO World Heritage Label as potential for sustainable urban development: that protect it and use it. To this end the impact of the World Heritage Label on sustainable urban development was evaluated, it was differentiated for peripheral and metropolitan regions and subject to the behavior of local actors. Case studies are the world heritage cities Stralsund and Wismar in Germany as well as St. Petersburg in Russia.

Prof.Dr.-Ing. Carola Neugebauer

Research project

Publication date:

Department responsible:
Junior Professorship for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage

To research

5 Keywords:
UNESCO World Heritage,
sustainable urban development, socio-ecomic impacts, world heritage management

Selected publications on the research topic:

  • C. Neugebauer (2014): UNESCO-Welterbelabel – Potenzial für die Stadtentwicklung. In: Planerin, Heft 2, S.15-18
  • C. Neugebauer (2013): Managing the UNESCO World heritage label in peripheral and metropolitan urban regions in Central and Eastern Europe. In: КазНТУ (Hrsg.): Материалы месждународной научно-практической конференции "Актуальные проблемы большого города: архитектурная теория и практика", Almaty, S. 222-227, ISBN 978-601-228-551-2
  • C. Neugebauer (2011): Das Großereignis „UNESCO-Weltkulturerbestatus“? Wirkungen und Potenziale für die Stadtentwicklung im Fokus. Die Fallbeispiele Stralsund und Wismar. In: Jahrbuch für Stadterneuerung 2011. Arbeitskreis Stadterneuerung an deutschsprachigen Hochschulen. Kassel