Between 3 and 7 October, Madrid is hosting an international forum aiming to encourage reflection about topics such as cultural landscapes in urban environments and world heritage, integrated management and good practices in this field, and the future and sustainability of cultural landscapes.
The 25 July 2021 listing of Paseo del Prado and BuenRetiro, a landscape of Arts and Sciences as a UNESCO World Heritage Site has prompted the organisation of an International Forum on Cultural Urban Landscapes with the aim of sparking debate about how we view green heritage as an essential component of urban landscapes.
One of the goals of this forum, which will take place in Madrid from 3 to 7 October 2022, is to stimulate reflection on complex issues such as landscapes and the city, heritage and sustainability, urban development and the conservation of green heritage and history. At the same time, it is hoped that the forum can also help ease the tensions between heritage conservation, urban regeneration and landscape quality, with a view to achieving sustainable urban development, improving city-dwellers’ quality of life and promoting resilience.
© Antonello Dellanotte
Madrid is also keen to play a part in the 2022 celebration of the 50th anniversary of the UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and mark 30 years of the existence of the Cultural Landscape category in the World Heritage Convention Operational Guidelines. With a view to reflecting on the future of heritage, it is intended that the forum should take place within the framework of the UNESCO programme The Next 50: World Heritage as a source of resilience, humanity and innovation.
The forum is designed to connect with the events spotlighting new ideas, knowledge and research dedicated specifically to the topic of cultural landscapes in the urban environment – green spaces which make decisive contributions to the well-being of city populations and which form part of their natural and cultural heritage.
This forum aims to stimulate debate about future challenges including:
- Reviewing perspectives on historic cities and especially the role of cultural landscapes.
- Innovative methods to safeguard the landscape from the risks and effects of climate change.
- Models of sustainable tourism that benefit cities and their communities.
- How new technologies will contribute to (and also threaten) the protection and promotion of heritage over the years to come.
- Engagement and problems within local communities in the face of present and future challenges.
- Applying the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to future conservation efforts.
- Comprehensive, proactive, committed and invested management of World Heritage assets: the role of local governments.
- The role of cultural landscapes in addressing the increasing challenges posed by the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda.
– Landscapes in the city:
places of memory,
opportunities of the future –
© Antonello Dellanotte
The site is cross-cutting in character – on the one hand, incorporating aspects related to landscape, cultural and natural heritage and its integrated management and, on the other, galvanising debate on the sustainability of historic city centres, with the challenge of maintaining the landscape’s historical and cultural values while continuing to meet citizens’ needs.
Some important goals include:
- Stimulating international debate on cultural urban landscapes in the context of World Heritage and advocating for related research.
- Taking part in UNESCO’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention and its programme ‘The Next 50: World Heritage as a source of resilience, humanity and innovation’.
- Celebrating 30 years of the Cultural Landscape category in the World Heritage Convention Operational Guidelines.
- Fostering collaboration and cooperation with international organisations such as UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICCROM, the Organization of World Heritage Cities and the Spanish Alliance of Cultural Landscapes.
- Promoting collaboration between administrations (national, regional and local), universities and research centres, as well as public-private partnerships.
- Finding solutions to the challenges posed by the integrated management of cultural landscapes in urban environments.
- Sharing experiences among experts, specialists, researchers and technical professionals from the different administrations and institutions involved.
- Boosting the implementation of multidisciplinary and scientific strategies that support sustainability in the conservation and management of cultural landscapes in light of both the World Heritage Convention and Sustainable Development Goal 11.
- Fostering research and good practices that consolidate Madrid as an international model for the management of cultural landscapes.
- Publicising and promoting the site Paseo del Prado and BuenRetiro, a landscape of Arts and Sciences or Landscape of Light.
To achieve these goals, it is intended to hold an in-person event with spaces for debate, which can act as a springboard for developing strategies for the integrated management of cities’ green heritage and history. Cultural urban landscapes – whether city squares, boulevards, parks or gardens – have generally been valued in terms of their environmental impact, yet they are a fundamental part of a city’s urban fabric and social life, a common good that contributes to the well-being of citizens and provides cultural, historical and identity-related value.
The forum is focused on three main thematic areas:
Cultural landscapes in urban environments and World Heritage
Integrated management and good practices
The first three days of the forum – 3, 4 and 5 October 2022 – will be dedicated to presentations by invited experts, round tables and discussions.
After these three days of presentations, one day – 6 October – will be set aside for the presentation of conclusions by the rapporteurs, and the opening of a public debate on the final document.
On the following day – 7 October – a meeting of the ICOMOS-IFLA International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes will bring the forum to a close.
Every day after the sessions, there will be a series of visits for small groups, including guided walks through the cultural landscape – specifically in the Paseo del Prado, the gardens of BuenRetiro and the Royal Botanical Gardens – and also in collaboration and coordination with some of the institutions within the site.
- General tour of the Landscape of Light
- Paseo del Prado
- BuenRetiro Gardens
- Royal Botanical Gardens
- Bank of Spain
- Royal Observatory of Madrid
- Illustrious College of Physicians