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The role of natural resources in the historic urban landscape approach

Gabriel Victor Aves Caballero (ICOMOS Philippines, Quezon City, Philippines AND Grant Associates, Singapore)

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2044-1266

Article publication date: 16 May 2016




The purpose of this paper is to explore possible contributions of natural resources for the historic urban landscape (HUL) approach. It points to several possible avenues for collaborative research, which can expand the discourse on the topic of urban sustainability with different disciplines of heritage studies, natural resource management, urban planning and disaster risk reduction.


There are already several UNESCO initiatives such as the Man and Biosphere Programme, World Heritage Forests Programme and the World Heritage Programme for Small Island Developing States, which the HUL approach can learn from to understand approaches that integrate natural resource management in urban planning methods. Different cases from the USA, Japan and Singapore applying landscape approaches have also been documented in this research.


Several examples have been found in which natural resources are integrated to bigger strategies of urban planning. Japan has enacted the “Landscape Law” in 2004 to highlight the importance of preserving landscapes in improving the quality and viability of community life. The “Mauritius Strategy” created by small island developing states is another example. It holistically looks at policies to deal with environmental challenges while advocating economic growth and protecting cultural and natural heritage, among other concerns. The long tradition of creating greenways in the USA have also contributed in presenting heritage assets and providing environmental benefits. The High Line in New York City is a good example of this.


In line with the HUL approach, the research points out possibilities of non-traditional collaborations in solving current urban challenges. Finding ways of linking natural resources to a bigger urban framework can inspire new solutions for the interlinked problems of urban growth, heritage management and nature conservation amidst climate change.



The author thanks Professor Britta Rudolff, Chair of Cultural Heritage Management in BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg and Tim Badman, Director of the IUCN World Heritage Programme who have jointly suggested the topic of this research. This paper was done as part of a study project in 2014 entitled, “Working Methods of the World Heritage Committee: Understanding World Heritage Policies and Decisions.”


Caballero, G.V.A. (2016), "The role of natural resources in the historic urban landscape approach", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 2-13.



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