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Dealing with multiple hazards and threats on cultural heritage sites: an assessment of 80 case studies

Lee Bosher (School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Dowon Kim (Institute of Disaster Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan)
Takeyuki Okubo (Institute of Disaster Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan)
Ksenia Chmutina (School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Rohit Jigyasu (Institute of Disaster Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 15 August 2019

Issue publication date: 6 January 2020

Abstract

Purpose

Cultural heritage (CH) sites are not only important components of a country’s identity but can also be important drivers of tourism. However, an increasing number of extreme events associated with the impacts of climate change, natural hazards and human-induced threats are posing significant problems in conserving and managing CH worldwide. Consequently, improved climate change adaptation and enhanced hazard/threat mitigation strategies have become critical (but to-date under-researched) considerations. The purpose of this paper is to identify the key hazards and threats to CH sites, the most common types of risks to CH and the strategies being adopted to mitigate or even eradicate those risks.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reviews 80 CH case studies from around the world, which have been presented at a UNESCO International Training Course between 2006 and 2016. The case studies cover 45 different countries and provide practical insights into the key challenges being encountered in a variety of “at risk” locations.

Findings

The analysis assesses the key natural hazards and human-induced threats to the sites, an overview of the typical impacts to the tangible components of heritage and identifies the types of strategies being adopted to mitigate the risks, some of which could be transferred across cultural and geographical contexts.

Originality/value

The paper provides a wealth of useful information related to how challenges faced by CH sites might be addressed in the future.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was funded in part by a Daiwa Foundation Grant (14/15-35), a British Academy Visiting Fellowship (VF1\102103) and an “International Collaboration” grant from Loughborough University. The authors would like to thank all the participants that have taken part in the ITC courses since 2006 for bringing their experiences and insights from cultural heritage sites across the world.

Citation

Bosher, L., Kim, D., Okubo, T., Chmutina, K. and Jigyasu, R. (2020), "Dealing with multiple hazards and threats on cultural heritage sites: an assessment of 80 case studies", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 109-128. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-08-2018-0245

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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