Abandon and reuse - The engineered space at a time of pandemics


  • Juan Antonio García-Esparza Universitat Jaume I




contemporary urban landscape, local character assessment, World Heritage, ICOMOS, hybrid assessment


This paper critically explores the evaluation of Historic Centres (HC) to establish new perspectives for the management of their values and attributes. The unconventional interpretation of these HC relies on the
revision of the UNESCO Operational Guidelines to achieve new approaches to the cultural diversity of these spaces. A methodological approach based on interviews and open data cross-referencing aims to integrate the social and cultural aspects of the World Heritage cities (WH) in Spain. The research analyses the eventual cultural, architectural and social stratification as elements that need updating to manage HC. Therefore, this research addresses narrative interpretations, both of inhabitants and visitors, as forms of behaviour, expressions and adaptations that result in idiosyncratic innovation and experimentation in the urban fabric. The research steams from a series of scientific contributions to the research projects Writing Urban Places, COST Action 18126, and Dynamics of placemaking, COST Action 18204, (2019-2023). Through a mixed methodology of qualitative and quantitative data analysis, the research aims to analyse the interdependencies
between physical conservation, social awareness and sustainable development of some WH areas in Spain.
Data is analysed by means of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to spatially comprehend the engineered
space in medium-sized heritage cities.


Download data is not yet available.


Altaba, P., and García-Esparza, J.A. 2018. 'The heritagization of a Mediterranean Vernacular Mountain Landscape: Concepts, Problems and Processes'. Heritage & Society, 11(3), 189-210. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095144

Altaba, P., and García-Esparza, J.A. 2021. 'A Practical Vision of Heritage Tourism in Low-Population-Density Areas'. The Spanish Mediterranean as a Case Study. Sustainability, 13(9): 5144. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159032X.2019.1670533

Brown, G., and Fagerholm, N. 2015. 'Empirical PPGIS/PGIS mapping of ecosystem services. A review and evaluation'. Ecosystem Services, 13, 119-133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.10.007

Brown, G., Weber, D., and de Bie, K. 2014. Assessing the value of public lands using public participation GIS (PPGIS) and social landscape metrics. Applied Geography, 53, 77-89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2014.06.006

Butler, R. W. Tourism: An evolutionary perspective. In Nelson JG, Butler R, Wall G. Tourism and sustainable development: A civic approach. Waterloo: University of Waterloo; 1999.

Carman, J. 2019. 'What sustaining heritage really does'. Vitruvio, 4(1), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.4995/vitruvio-ijats.2019.11772

Dalglish, C., and Leslie, A. 2016. 'A question of what matters: landscape characterisation as a process of situated, problem-orientated'. Landscape Research, 41(2), 212-226. https://doi.org/10.1080/01426397.2015.1135319

de la Torre, M. 2013. 'Values and Heritage Conservation'. Heritage & Society, 6(2), 155-166. https://doi.org/10.1179/2159032X13Z.00000000011

Dupont, L., Antrop, M., and Van Eetvelde, V. 2015. 'Does landscape related expertise influence the visual perception of landscape photographs? Implications for participatory landscape planning and management'. Landscape and Urban Planning, 141, 68-77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.05.003

Edensor, T. 2005. 'Waste matter - the debris of industrial ruins and the disordering of the material world'. J. Mat. Cult., 10(3), 311-22. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359183505057346

English Heritage. 2008. Conservation Principles: Policies and Guidance for the Sustainable Management of the Historic Environment. London: English Heritage; 2008.

García-Esparza, J.A. 2011. 'Barracas on the Mediterranean coast'. International Journal of Architectural Heritage, 5(1), 27-47. https://doi.org/10.1080/15583050903186532

García-Esparza, J.A. 2016. 'Re-thinking the validity of the past. Deconstructing what authenticity and integrity mean to the fruition of cultural heritage'. Vitruvio, 1(1), 21-34. https://doi.org/10.4995/vitruvio-ijats.2016.4595

García-Esparza, J.A. 2019. 'Beyond the intangible-tangible binary in cultural heritage. An analysis from rural areas in Valencia Region, Spain'. International Journal of Intangible Heritage, 14(1), 123-137.

García-Esparza, J.A., and Altaba, P. 2018. 'Time, cognition and approach. Sustainable strategies for abandoned vernacular landscapes'. Sustainability, 10(8), 2712-33. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082712

García-Esparza, J.A. and Altaba, P. 2020. 'A GIS-based Methodology for the Appraisal of Historical, Architectural and Social Values in Historic Urban Cores'. Frontiers of Architectural Research, 9(4), 900-913. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foar.2020.04.004

Harrison, R. 2015. 'Beyond "Natural" and "Cultural" Heritage: Toward an Ontological Politics of Heritage in the Age of Anthropocene'. Heritage & Society, 8(1), 24-42. https://doi.org/10.1179/2159032X15Z.00000000036

Higgins-Desbiolles, F. 2018. 'Sustainable tourism: Sustaining tourism or something more?' Tourism Management Perspectives, 25, 157-160. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tmp.2017.11.017

ICOMOS. 2011. The Valletta Principles for the Safeguarding and Management of Historic Cities, Towns and Urban Areas. Paris: ICOMOS. Available at: https://www.icomos.org/Paris2011/GA2011_CIVVIH_text_EN_FR_final_20120110.pdf (accessed 25 November 2021).

Liu, T., Butler, R.J., and Zhang, C. 2019. 'Evaluation of public perceptions of authenticity of urban heritage under the conservation paradigm of Historic Urban Landscape-a case study of the Five Avenues Historic District in Tianjin, China'. J. Archit. Conserv., 25(3), 228-251. https://doi.org/10.1080/13556207.2019.1638605

Martin, D. 2014. 'Translating Space: The Politics of Ruins, the Remote and Peripheral Places'. Int. J. Urban Reg. Res., 38(3), 1102-119. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2427.12121

Martín, B., Ortega, E., Otero, I., and Arce, R.M. 2016. Landscape character assessment with GIS using map-based indicators and photographs in the relationship between landscape and roads. Journal of Environmental Management, 180(15), 324-334. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.05.044

Pendlebury, J., and Townshend, T. 2014. 'The Conservation of Historic Areas and Public Participation'. Journal of Architectural Conservation, 5(2), 72-87. https://doi.org/10.1080/13556207.1999.10785244

Ruhanen, L. 2013. 'Local government: facilitator or inhibitor of sustainable tourism development?' Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 21(1), 80-98. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2012.680463

Sánchez-Carretero, C., and Jiménez-Esquinas, G. 2016. 'Relaciones entre actores patrimoniales: gobernanza patrimonial, modelos neoliberales y procesos participativos'. Revista Ph90. https://doi.org/10.33349/2016.0.3827

Saygi, G., and Remondino, F. 2013. 'Management of Architectural Heritage Information in BIM and GIS: State-of-the-art and Future Perspectives'. International Journal of Heritage in the Digital Era, 2(4), 695-713. https://doi.org/10.1260/2047-4970.2.4.695

Smith, L. 2011. 'El "espejo patrimonial" ¿ilusión narcisista o reflexion es múltiples?' Antipoda, 12, 39-63. https://doi.org/10.7440/antipoda12.2011.04

Speed, J., Austrheim, G., Birks, H., Johnson, S., Kvamme, M., Nagy, L., and Thompson, D. 2012. Natural and cultural heritage in mountain landscapes: towards an integrated valuation. Int. J. Biodivers. Sci. Ecosyst. Serv. Manag., 8(4), 313-320. https://doi.org/10.1080/21513732.2012.725226

Spennermann, D.H.R. 2006. 'Gauging Community Values in Historic Preservation'. CRM: The Journal of Heritage Stewardship, 3(2), 6-20.

Stephenson, J. 2008. 'The Cultural Values Model: An Integrated Approach to Values in Landscapes'. Landscape and Urban Planning, 84(2), 127-139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2007.07.003

Tudor, C. 2014. An approach to landscape character assessment, Natural England. Retrieved May 17, 2017, from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/landscape-character-assessments-identify-and-describe-landscape-types

UNESCO 2011. Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape. Available at: http://whc.unesco.org/en/activities/638 (accessed 8 October 2021).

van Oers, R. 2010. 'Managing cities and the historic urban landscape initiative'. In: R. van Oers and S. Haraguchi (Eds.), Managing Historic Cities. World Heritage Papers, 27 (pp. 7-17). Paris: UNESCO.

Wagtendonk, A.J., and Vermaat, J.E. 2014. 'Visual perception of cluttering in landscapes: Developing a low-resolution GIS-evaluation method'. Landscape and Urban Planning, 124, 85-92. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.01.006

Wesley, A., and Pforr, C. 2010. 'The governance of coastal tourism: Unravelling the layers of complexity at Smiths Beach, Western Australia'. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 18(6), 773-792. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669581003721273







Funding data