News | “International Conference on Urban Heritage Conservation and Design for Sustainable Development” Successfully Held
  PublishDate:2023-10-09  Hits:9720

From 26 to 28 September 2023, Tongji University, as host, together with the College of Architecture and Urban Planning (CAUP), World Heritage Institute of Training and Research for the Asia and Pacific Region, a Category 2 Centre under the auspices of UNESCO (WHITRAP Shanghai), and Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning and Design Institute Co., LTD (TJUPDI) successfully co-organized an International Conference on Urban Heritage Conservation and Design for Sustainable Development and held the first meeting on the establishment of the International Network for Urban Heritage Conservation in Higher Education Institutions. The event was also presented as a forum during the 2023 World Design Cities Conference.

Opening Ceremony

On the opening ceremony, Prof. Peng Zhenwei, the Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Tongji University, Ms. Dorine Dubois, Chief of the Executive Office of the Culture Sector of UNESCO, Prof. Liu Song, Chairman of the College Council, CAUP, Tongji University and Secretary of the Party Committee of TJUPDI, and Prof. Zhou Jian, Secretary-General of WHITRAP, delivered speeches to congratulate the successful convening of the conference.

Group Photo at the Opening Ceremony


Prof. Peng Zhenwei stated that the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have set higher standards for the development of various disciplines, particularly for the in-depth synergistic collaboration of multiple disciplines, and have required universities to break down barriers between disciplines in order to create new knowledge for the future and cultivate innovative talents.

Prof. Liu Song emphasized that CAUP of Tongji University and TJUPDI have consistently viewed the creation of sustainable human settlements and living environments as their responsibility, pursued innovation relentlessly and developed exceptional professionals serving the national strategy, making significant contributions to the rapid development of China's cities. She hoped that by utilizing UNESCO's new competency framework for cultural heritage management, this conference would create an exchange platform for the transmission of research and teaching expertise as well as institutional cooperation within the context of higher education.

Ms. Dorine Dubois emphasized that urban heritage, conservation and design will be essential to tackling global challenges including climate change. UNESCO has offered a wide variety of normative frameworks and tools to support countries and communities to safeguard urban heritage, and to promote sustainable development through culture. She pointed out education has a very important role for culture as an extremely powerful tool in the broad understanding of the need for all people for all individuals and communities to preserve their heritage.

Prof. Zhou Jian proposed that in the new development period, our understanding of the value of cultural heritage has become more diverse, while realizing that heritage is not an isolated system or element in the city, but is related to the development of the entire city and the city as a whole. We must therefore understand urban heritage from both the holistic and temporal perspectives. At the same time, the diversity of heritage stems from the diversity of cultures, and thus heritage must be preserved in accordance with local conditions. To that end, it is necessary to establish a shared platform for heritage research and education in collaboration with higher education institutions worldwide.

Following the opening ceremony, more than 50 experts and scholars from more than 20 countries across five continents gathered at this online and offline conference to discuss and exchange views on the theme of "Urban Heritage and Sustainable Development," including China, Israel, France, the United States, Portugal, Italy, Japan, Spain, Ecuador, Germany, Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, India, the Netherlands, South Korea, and others. The theme of "Urban Heritage and Sustainable Development" was discussed and exchanged in multiple dimensions, with participants sharing and exchanging innovative work and practices in the field of urban heritage conservation, as well as jointly promoting theoretical research and methodological implementation of UNESCO's Recommendation on Historic Urban Landscape, which was adopted in 2011, and ultimately promoting the realization of the goal of sustainable development.

Breakout Sessions

The three sessions of this two-day conference were organized around three different themes: 1) Interdisciplinary Research: Implementing the UNESCO Historic Urban Landscape approach, theory and practice; 2) Innovative Practice: Urban conservation for improving livability; and 3) a workshop on Higher Education towards Sustainable Development Goals.

Photos at the Conference

Theme I and Theme II forums, focusing mainly on the Recommendation on Historic Urban Landscapes adopted by UNESCO in 2011 and the Policy for the Integration of a Sustainable Development Perspective into the Process of the World Heritage Convention, brought together scholars at home and abroad to explore research trends in this theory, as well as innovative practices in the field of urban heritage protection and development, and demonstrate heritage as a means of enhancing the livability of the urban environment through the use of a holistic approach to advancing heritage conservation and urban development design cases.

Group Photo of Session 1

Group Photo of Session 2

In the afternoon of 27 September, the participants reflected on three main areas of interest in Education, Research and Action and in particular discussed three questions: Question 1: Based on the Sustainable Development Goals, what are the study areas and approaches that require rethinking in the urban heritage conservation field, at the level of education, research, and action? Question 2: How can we combine traditional knowledge with modern technology in education, research and action for urban heritage conservation and sustainable development? Question 3: What are the main reasons, aims and forms for setting up and participating in this Network at the level of education, research, and action? They, furthermore, discussed the setting up of an International Network for Urban Heritage Conservation in Higher Education Institutions.

Sub-forum of Session 3

At the Closing Ceremony on the evening of the 27th , Prof. Shao Yong, Executive Director of WHITRAP Shanghai presented the Initiative on Urban Heritage Conservation and Design for Sustainable Development and Roadmap for Urban Heritage Conservation in Higher Education Institutions. The participants reached a consensus on the common objective of the Network: to improve, through their contribution from the academic sector, the quality of the historic urban landscape. Members of the Network also acknowledged their commitment to sharing best practices, developing partnerships that promote urban heritage conservation and sustainable development in their research, education and action agendas. Following the conference, WHITRAP Shanghai and CAUP Tongji will develop a program proposal and schedule pointing at possible contributions from the members. This will include the definition of practical and operational considerations and the formal partnerships and statutory membership frameworks. Considering the lively and high level debates, participants agreed on the relevance of the fruitful cooperation which is being initiated for building together a bright future for heritage education.

Site Tour

On 28 September, the international participants who attended the event in person travelled to Xuhui Riverside area in Shanghai to visit some of the pavilions of the 5th Shanghai Urban Space Art Season 2023, including the landscape renovation project named "Parallel Gardens" and the "White Cat Detergent Factory" on the southern section of riverside.

 Proceedings WHITRAP CAUP UHC HEI 2023展册-cn

 High res flyer UHC HEI final


供稿: Pei Jieting

排版: Luo Xi

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