A value-based monitoring system to support heritage conservation planning

Veronica Cristina Heras (Universidad de Cuenca, Cuenca Canton, Ecuador)
Anja Wijffels (Universidad de Cuenca, Cuenca Canton, Ecuador)
Fausto Cardoso (Universidad de Cuenca, Cuenca Canton, Ecuador)
Aziliz Vandesande (Leuven University, Leuven, Belgium)
Mario Santana (Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
Jos Van Orshoven (Leuven University, Leuven, Belgium)
Thérèse Steenberghen (Leuven University, Leuven, Belgium)
Koenraad van Balen (Department of Civil Engineering, Leuven, Belgium)

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2044-1266

Publication date: 28 October 2013



The purpose of this paper is to presents a conceptual framework for a value-based monitoring system that serves as the core element for heritage conservation planning of World Heritage Sites. It reports on the early stage of heritage management research within the PRECOM3OS framework, in collaboration with the University of Leuven in Belgium and the Universidad de Cuenca in Ecuador. A new management concept was developed throughout a five-year interdisciplinary and multi-actor growth process within an international setting.


The application of the preventive conservation approach to world heritage management places the concepts of authenticity and integrity at the core of the heritage monitoring system. Moreover, the monitoring system is converted into a decision support tool for intervention and maintenance planning, beyond the mere purpose of inventorying or generating alerts.


The regular update of information for condition, risks and value assessment strengths and support strategic heritage planning. The conceptual information system developed is based on an inventory system and updated through monitoring. Therefore, planners are supplied with a tool for alternative scenarios, potential prioritization of intervention, options for preventive conservation and multi-criteria support for strategic planning over time.

Research limitations/implications

The monitoring system is not fully implemented in the World Heritage Site of Cuenca; however, a generic model is put forward, developed to generate a planning tool that can be applied for different heritage sites.


More specific, the integration of two concepts: the value assessment and monitoring from a preventive conservation perspective is considered an innovative contribution to the development of decision-making systems in the broader urban planning context of historic cities.



This research is funded by the Interuniversity Cooperation Programme of the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR-IUC), Belgium. The authors kindly acknowledge to the South Team of the vlirCPM Project, to the Architecture Faculty and are grateful to the Municipality of Cuenca. Finally the authors would like to thank to members of PRECOMOS network and the UNESCO Chair for all their commitment with this research.


Cristina Heras, V., Wijffels, A., Cardoso, F., Vandesande, A., Santana, M., Van Orshoven, J., Steenberghen, T. and van Balen, K. (2013), "A value-based monitoring system to support heritage conservation planning", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 130-147. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCHMSD-10-2012-0051

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