Roundtable Resilience and Cultural Heritage at Climate Wunderkammer

Wednesday, 22.11.2023 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Old town of Bad Münstereifel after the 2021 flood Copyright: © Maren Blecking  

Our built heritage is an essential part of our society‘s collective memory and thus an important cultural resource. It can help shape collective identities, create a sense of belonging within urban communities, and mobilize civil society. Moreover, built heritage can make an important positive contribution to urban resilience in three different ways: First, it encompasses historical knowledge about construction methods and the use of materials, especially in the context of site-specific conditions and challenges. Second, built heritage serves as an essential reference point of local and community identity and, in this respect, can motivate the civic engagement of residents for their shared heritage. Finally, built heritage symbolizes continuity and stability – and therefore has a special significance for people, especially in times of crisis.

However, built heritage is often threatened due to its characteristics such as spatial location and state of preservation. Rapidly changing and increasingly urgent global conditions, including climate change, the pandemic and the wars, substantially impact on our living environment and cultural heritage. In the context of climate change, which increases the likelihood and severity of extreme weather events – in Central Europe especially floods and droughts – we are thus confronted with growing challenges that require special protection measures of our built heritage. These developments and increasing hazards, on the one hand, and the importance and vulnerability of our built heritage, on the other, underline the need to strengthen interdisciplinary thinking and action: Integrated Risk Management can help to bring together the expertise and develop consistent, holistic, integrative strategies to sustainedly protect our built heritage – and thus strengthen its resilience to risk.

This Roundtable focuses on various approaches to Integrated Risk Management on the European and national. The session brings together experts and researchers from both fields – heritage and risk management –, in order to discuss the potentials and challenges of Integrated Risk Management guided by the following questions: How can the built heritage in European cities positively contribute to future urban resilience of the heritage sites against the background of ecological and social challenges? What adaptations to heritage are necessary to address to these challenges? Which actors, stakeholders and institutions are or should be involved in building resilience in the built heritage? Which local competencies should be strengthened, which cooperations should be expanded? What measures, processes, instruments and integrated approaches to risk management for built heritage can be useful in European cities? Which understanding of resilience is or should be pursued – „bouncing back“ and/or „bouncing forward“? What are the benefits and challenges of both? What are possible conflicts between heritage protection and risk prevention, and what processes and methods can resolve these conflicts?

Coordinator and organizer

Prof. Christa Reicher
UNESCO Chair for Cultural Heritage and Urbanism
RWTH Aachen Universität RHA Reicher Haase Assoziierte

Event partner

  • German Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building (BMWSB)
  • RHA Reicher Haase Assoziierte
  • University of Liège
  • Europa Nostra
  • Politecnico di Milano
  • Delft University of Technology
  • German Jordanian University

Link to the Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 657 9862 9940
Passcode: 208033