Marking the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention and the 20th anniversary of the inclusion of Cultural Landscapes as a category within the convention, Rutgers University will convene an international conference—Cultural Landscapes: Preservation Challenges in the 21st Century. The conference has been designated an official UNESCO World Heritage Anniversary event.
Cultural landscapes provide a new perspective that challenges traditional notions of historic preservation by taking a dynamic, multifaceted approach to conservation. Constituting “combined works of nature and humankind [that] express a long and intimate relationship between peoples and their natural environment, ” cultural landscapes are defined by human relationships to place as much as by physical features. They embody diverse interactions between humans and their environment, seek to protect living traditional cultures, and preserve the traces of cultures that have disappeared. The UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL), approved by the 17th General Assembly of ICOMOS in November 2011, Assembly of ICOMOS in November 2011, applies an interdisciplinary “cultural landscape approach” to cities, towns and settlements, as a way to integrate diverse aspects of urban vitality within our shared urban heritage. This international conference will bring together leading scholars and practitioners from around the world to examine five core themes around the concept, implementation, and management of cultural and historic urban landscapes. The conference will provide an interdisciplinary forum for forward-looking approaches to 21st century challenges, with the objective of mapping strategies for a ten-year plan of action within these areas. Conference proceedings will be published.
Cultural Landscapes: Preservation Challenges in the 21st Century provides a unique opportunity in time and place for the United States to reaffirm its presence within the international arena of cultural heritage preservation. Cultural landscapes and historic urban landscapes are at the nexus of current efforts in the United States to address our diverse cultural heritage and to revitalize the livability of the nation’s communities through preservation of the authentic sense of place. Rutgers’ Graduate Program in Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies (CHAPS) in the School of Arts and Sciences will sponsor the conference. Co-sponsors include the US National Park Service, Penn Cultural Heritage Center (UPenn), the Columbia Historic Preservation Program (Columbia), the Center for Art and Cultural Policy Studies, Woodrow Wilson School (Princeton), the International Institute for Cultural Property (Princeton), the Center for Heritage and Society (UMass/Amherst), Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World (Brown University), the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (Rutgers), the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy (Rutgers), the Initiative on Climate and Society (Rutgers), and Rutgers Law School, Newark.