Improving heritage impact assessment: an analytical critique of the ICOMOS guidelines

Patrick Patiwael, Peter Groote, Frank Vanclay

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

29 Citaten (Scopus)
569 Downloads (Pure)


In 2011, ICOMOS published its Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessment for Cultural World Heritage Properties. By 2016, over 100 Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) had been requested by UNESCO. This paper provides an analytical critique of the HIA Guidelines focusing on their implicit assumptions. We argue that the assumptions in the HIA Guidelines derive from the 'preservation' discourse in heritage management, rather than from the 'conservation' or 'heritage planning' discourses. This is important because the discourse affects the way impacts and their severity are assessed within HIAs, thereby potentially affecting the conclusions reached. We also argue that this framing results in miscommunication and misunderstanding amongst the different stakeholders, about: (1) their perceptions of the nature of heritage value; (2) the perceived purpose of HIA; (3) the way impacts are assessed; and (4) the differing agendas of stakeholders. We recommend that HIA practitioners acknowledge the existence of the various discourses. This could make HIA a more effective heritage management tool. We also consider that for HIAs to be more robust that they be conducted by a multidisciplinary group and with a peer-review mechanism.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)333-347
Aantal pagina's15
TijdschriftInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Nummer van het tijdschrift4
Vroegere onlinedatum25-mei-2018
StatusPublished - 3-apr.-2019

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