Advisory and Executive Committee Meeting &
Scientific Symposium
Scientific Symposium


2013 Theme: Reducing Risks to Cultural Heritage from Uncontrolled Development in a Globalised World

Inscriptions pour le Symposium Scientifique

  • If you are presenting a paper, are president / representative of ICOMOS in your country, please ignore this information. In the registration form for ADCOM 2013, you can complete the inscription for the Scientific Symposium. If you are a member of ICOMOS and have filled the inscription form to attend the event, committing to pay 100 euros, you must also ignore this information. If you are a guest or do not belong to ICOMOS, you must pay an inscription fee of US $30,00 (thirty dollars) and make your request to in order to send you the electronic form for inscription and payment.

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Symposium date and location
October 10th 2013, in San José, Costa Rica on the occasion of the ICOMOS Advisory Committee meetings.

Symposium Venue
The Scientific Symposium will be held at the University of Costa Rica, in the City of Research. It is located about 3 km East from the venue where the meetings of the Executive, Advisory and Scientific Committees will take place (Aurola Hotel Holiday Inn San Jose Downtown).
Google Maps Link:

Scientific Council Officer
Pamela Jerome, ISCEAH (Earthen Architectural Heritage) / ISC20C (20th Century Heritage).

Scientific Committee
Symposium Co-Chairs: Sofia Avgerinou-Kolonias, CIVVIH / CIIC. Gisle Jakhelln, CIAV.

Working Group
Pamela Jerome, ISCEAH / ISC20C. Rohit Jigyasu, ICORP. Neil Silberman, ICIP

CAR (Rock Art)
CIAV (Vernacular Architecture)
CIF (Training)
CIIC (Cultural Routes)
CIPA (Documentation)
CIVVIH (Historic Towns and Villages) Teresa Colletta, Samir Abdulac.
ICAHM (Archaeological Heritage Management)
ICICH (Intangible Cultural Heritage)
ICIP (Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites)
ICLAFI (Legal, Administration and Financial)
ICTC (Cultural Tourism) Sue Millar.
ICUCH (Underwater Cultural Heritage)
ICOFORT (Fortifications) Milagros Flores.
ICORP (Risk Preparedness) Rohit Jigyasu.
ISCARSAH (Structures of Architectural Heritage) Steve Kelley.
ISCEAH (Earthen Architectural Heritage) Claudia Cancino, Lassana Cissé, Enrico Fodde.
ISCEC (Economics of Culture)
ISCES (Energy and Sustainability) Peter Cox.
ISCCL (Cultural Landscapes) Mónica Luengo.
ISC20C (20th Century Heritage) Sheridan Burke, Kyle Normandin.
SBH (Shared Built Heritage)


Background At the recent ICOMOS General Assembly in Paris, the long-standing objective of interdisciplinary cooperation was discussed in the context of the Scientific Council Triennial Action Plan for 2012-14. Taking into consideration increasing risks to tangible and intangible cultural heritage due to various newly- emerging natural and human-caused factors, the themes for scientific symposia for the next three Advisory Committee meetings will focus on understanding, analysing and formulating mitigation tools for risks resulting from natural and human-caused disasters (2012), globalization and uncontrolled development (2013), and loss of traditions and collective memory (2015). Consideration of risks also marks a shift from reactive to a preventive approach for conservation that seeks to put emphasis on risk reduction and preparedness.

The three themes will bring forward the underlying causes for risks to cultural heritage; tools and methodologies for their assessment; and policies, strategies and techniques for reducing potential threats to the future of cultural heritage aimed at protecting and managing our irreplaceable cultural resources for present and future generations.


Context In the framework of a globalised world enhanced by the advent of new technologies and their common and simplified use in everyday life, many think of a future world as characterized by a homogeneity in its structure, organization and functioning. Nevertheless, others imagined a world dramatically heterogeneous with tremendous spatial and social differences. Depending on different perspectives, both scenarios seem to be developing simultaneously.

In the current situation, however, changes happen so fast that they seem out of control, making it difficult to plan for the future. The entire world has undergone and continues to experience radical and massive demographic changes that transport shifting populations away from their traditional cultural environments and heritage, and bring them into close proximity with the heritage of alien cultures whose meaning is not clearly understood or appreciated. The resulting economic, social and political pressures are exerted not only on urban heritage, but also on the rural areas as well as on the entire human habitat. This phenomenon often results in forming a new identity for the rural landscape resulting in an abandonment and devaluation of heritage. Furthermore, in terms of the current global economic and social crisis, the overdeveloped city increasingly sits in opposition to the partially abandoned countryside.

This crisis is visible on economic, social, and political levels, and has already shown its first impacts/results, such as problems of productive restructuring, social crisis and environmental degradation of the urban space. The crisis is sometimes manifested as the abandoned and ruined landscape of the rural periphery of certain areas, or as the gentrification of urban centers. These phenomena affect both developed and developing countries, north and south, and east and west. Even cities and urban areas that are eminently livable experience the same problems and are in danger of losing their historical identity, along with the natural and cultural features that formed their international, as well as their local, values. In spite of these negative trends, the ICOMOS community remains convinced that heritage can play a leading role in development.

Considering these challenges, the ICOMOS Advisory Committee Symposium 2013, “Reducing Risks to Cultural Heritage from the Uncontrolled Development in a Globalized World”, aims to assess these risks and formulate policies, strategies and measures for reducing risks from the uncontrolled development process. During the one-day symposium, position papers and case studies will be presented on the following themes:

The Importance of Identifying, Understanding and Characterizing the Historical and Cultural Urban and Rural Landscapes.
  • How can we develop appropriate measures for mitigating risks to the landscape from the abandonment of the countryside and the transformation of land uses due to the continuous and uncontrolled development of space?
  • Is the decline of traditional agriculture a factor that forms a new landscape that may differ from the historical one?
  • What maintenance and monitoring strategies can be adopted for reducing risks to the landscape as heritage, whether experiencing the introduction of new plants or new building types, as well as settlements and other construction in rural areas?
  • Is this uncontrolled development a reason for the urban sprawl that tends to exist in the periphery of certain metropolitan areas?
  • What reasons and factors increase the dissonance between natural landscape and historical character?
Measures and Strategies for Mitigating Risks to Heritage from Population Growth, Urbanization and Immigration.
  • How can we develop appropriate policies for minimizing the pressures to heritage from uncontrolled urban development?
  • What techniques should be applied in order to manage the impacts of gentrification in historic cities and urban areas?
  • What maintenance and monitoring strategies can be adopted for reducing the devaluation of heritage due to urban sprawl?
  • What lessons can be learned from traditional construction methods and materials?
  • How can we enhance security of cultural-heritage sites to prevent risks occurring from the ongoing trend for population movement to metropolitan areas?
  • How is local heritage being presented and interpreted to new migrant communities? How can we avoid conflict and develop an appreciation for the local heritage on the part of these diasporic communities residing in societies that are new or alien to them? How are migrant communities changing the perception of urban heritage and affecting its conservation?
  • Do these migrations present opportunities to create new types of diasporic heritage? How do we avoid conflicts resulting from the encounter between different cultural traditions coexisting in close urban proximity?
Protecting Cultural Heritage in Times of Tourism and Commercialization
  • What are various approaches and tools for assessing risks to historic cities, urban areas and vernacular landscapes of cultural significance from uncontrolled tourism and its impacts?
  • How do we avoid changes in the meaning and social role of heritage in order to serve the expectations of the tourist market? How do we avoid trivialization of heritage as a tourist attraction, such as historic districts behaving as mono-functional themed shopping centers, or the uncontrolled commercialization of historic settlements and vernacular architecture?
  • Is it possible to avoid practices like façadism and inappropriate reconstructions?
  • What are the effects on culture and cultural heritage that result from the tourist encounter in poorer communities? Can a local population’s economic inequality of access and benefits as a result of development be overcome?
  • Is adaptive reuse of vernacular built heritage in a complex urbanized context desirable?
  • How do we avoid impact on authenticity caused by tourism with the tendency for commercialization and museumization of historic areas, and the resulting “Disneyfication”, causing historic areas to resemble theme parks?

Papers to address

  • Inventories and Documentation
  • Online heritage toolkit for best practices
  • Maintenance and monitoring


  • Education and awareness-raising
  • Common policies and intervention plans, coordination and synergy among institutions in charge of elaboration and implementation of urban policies
  • Impact of energy-efficiency regulations on heritage buildings
  • Use of the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) model
  • Creating models for sustainable tourism - Retrofitting guidelines

Economics of Protection

  • Querying local communities about their needs and priorities
  • Reuse of heritage buildings
  • Energy efficiency of vernacular structures
  • Provision of infrastructure
  • Impact of tourist-oriented development on overall funding
  • Profitability of trivialized heritage theme-park design
  • Mobilization of communities and their resilience as a main actor in the protection of heritage buildings

Symposium Format

Papers and poster presentations will be solicited through the Scientific Council listserv and National Committees, and the ICOMOS e-News. Paper abstracts and poster proposals will be blind-peer-reviewed. Abstracts will be selected for presentation and/or e-publication. Finished papers in the provided format will be due prior to the symposium.

In the first session, open to the general public, selected papers will be presented. Posters will be accepted as space and the blind peer-review process permits.

Part of the second session will be devoted to breakout groups/round-table discussions for ISC members wherein each working group will be asked to reflect on specific topics and how they relates to their ISCs.

The breakout groups/round tables will return for a final plenary session recommendations which will then be synthesized into formal recommendations to be distributed and discussed by the Advisory Committee and e-published for download on the ICOMOS website along with selected papers.

Call for Abstracts and Posters

The 2013 Symposium will highlight three main themes in its examination of risks to cultural heritage due to uncontrolled development in a globalised world. However, the questions posed herein are merely suggested as sub-topics; we welcome additional perspectives in submitted proposals for abstracts and posters.

Submission of Abstracts

Abstracts for papers or posters should be a maximum of 250 words in English or French and should be submitted to by April 15th, 2013.

Please indicate clearly whether the submission is for a paper or a poster.

All abstracts must contain the title of the proposed paper or poster, the name of the author(s), and contact information (institutional affiliation, mailing address, phone number, and email address).

Timeline for symposium organization:

  • Circulation of brief: February 19th, 2013
  • Abstracts due: April 15th, 2013
  • Review and notification to authors: May 15th, 2013
  • Papers due: July 1st, 2013
  • Papers reviewed and comments back to authors: September 1st, 2013
  • Final submission of revised papers: September 15th, 2013
  • Presentation at the symposium: October 10th, 2013
  • Publication: 2014