Caught by the future

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Anne Louise Brath Severinsen
4. term, Urban Design, Master (Master Programme)

The purpose of this research is to explore the role of urban heritage in cultural heritage cities and their ability to survive in the future. When exploring cultural heritage, it is important to define the term. Yet, the term is nebulous with many different aspects, interpretations and meanings and this is one of the things the thesis must wrestle with. However, the tangible heritage or building culture is often reduced to architectural heritage, focusing on the buildings rather than the built environment as a whole. It highlights the current need for adding ‘urban heritage’ to the cultural heritage conversation in order to equalize the meaning of tangible heritage. Urban heritage is a matter of scale and can span from a larger area such as a landscape, city to an urban space.

The pressure of globalisation and challenge of adapting to the contemporary and future needs indicates that urban heritage and heritage planning has reached its limitations. There is a need to balance heritage conservation and development, the old and the new, in order to ‘survive’ as a cultural city in the future. The contemporary change can benefit the social and economic dynamics. With the social aspect relating to the improvement of inhabitants’ quality of life, sense of belonging, creation of enjoyable environments, mitigating urbanization and adapting to climate change.

Therefore, this study has investigated the cultural policy and exemplify northern European cultural heritage cities at risk to find the current challenges in planning and conservation management. To investigate the quality of urban heritage spaces a comparative analysis of two different cultural heritage cities with two different designation statuses and policy takes. Lübeck as UNESCO World Heritage and Ribe as national heritage are used to find empirical evidence of the role of urban heritage and quality. With the hypothesis that the urban heritage is equally as significant as the architecture in Lübeck as the World Heritage City.

In a way the cultural heritage city is a part of evolution, it is ‘survival of the fittest’ those who adapt to the sustainable needs have a chance of lasting despite the challenges raised by the future. Because cities are dynamic organisms that are developing over time with a physical fabric in constant change that adapts along with the social structures and needs. It means that the urban cultural heritage will always have to follow the change and challenges raised by the future. There is not a single ‘historic’ city in the world that has retained its ‘original’ character, however, it is a development of different urban layers are added over time. The urban heritage is a crucial part of the dynamic organism as the frame of the life and quality between buildings.
Publication date10 Jun 2020
Number of pages143
ID: 333927642