Authentic City between Climate Protection and Cultural Heritage

Authentic City between Climate Protection and Cultural Heritage

Alois Riegl, a representative of the Wiener Schule der Kunstgeschichte, introduced a universalistic notion of monuments, which is reflected and further developed in this book project.

New Urban Agenda

For climate change and climate protection, urban spaces occupy key positions of the 21st century. Worldwide, the urban population will almost double by 2050 due to immigration. This means that new living spaces must be tapped, and appropriate urban concepts developed to ward off predictable social conflicts. New urbanity rests on CO2-neutral energy concepts. It rearranges mobility, uses spaces that are currently reserved for private use, activates and initiates green spaces, avoids noise emissions, and seeks to abandon the current consumer society. The city of short distances will question property. Benefiting instead of owning will not only characterize the mobility concepts. – In October 2016, these key issues were defined in the New Urban Agenda of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in Quito.

This agenda also includes a marginal commitment to the protection of cultural heritage. But how realistic is the protection of cultural heritage? In the long run, every fifth UNESCO World Heritage Site is threatened by sea level rise alone. Large parts of coastal cities will be below sea level. Settlement pressures on other cities will increase. What does that mean for their cultural heritage? What does climate migration mean for European old towns? Will they be musealized, removed ontologically from their function and their historicity and processes of change, „frozen“ against the oblivion of history? Are they transformed to their loss as material sources of the past? Will the cities lose their historical authenticity?

The urban architectural heritage of the cities will not be able to continue to be protected in the existing form based on the Charter of Venice (1964) through the processes of change in contemporary urban challenges. Monument protection and preservation of monuments are faced with the task of starting a revision of their previous positions, because what does the predicate „historically valuable“ mean in the future? Which categories, which new assessment tools can be developed and applied to effectively include cultural heritage in sustainability considerations? How could cultural sustainability be defined in the New City?

Historical value – Alois Riegl and the Wiener Kunsthistorische Schule in the 21st century

This study answers to these questions. It begins with Alois Riegl, one of the most influential theoreticians of cultural heritage of the late 19th and early 20th century, as well as representatives of the Kunsthistorische Wiener Schule. Riegl’s universalistic notion of monuments and his categories of contemporary values and memorial values of cultural heritage are given a reflection on the present and future challenges of the New Urban Agenda. In addition to Riegel’s utility value and relative artistic value as well as historical value and value of age, the historical value is broken down and extended to include „historical authenticity“ as an aesthetic category as well as a narrative in the form of historical authentication concepts. With this fanned-out classification of categories, it is possible to grasp, classify and assess a wide variety of phenomena of dealing with cultural heritage which Alois Riegl did not yet have to analyze, because they could not yet be in the focus of the social construction of the values around 1900.

Some tools for cultural heritage analysis are presented in this study. Cultural heritage can be classified with them according to their degree of authenticity, so answers levels of authenticity beyond the belief in the original.

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