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Built Heritage, Sustainable Development, and Natural Hazards: Flood Protection and UNESCO World Heritage Site Protection Strategies in Krakow, Poland

  • porębska, anna
  • godyń, izabela
  • radzicki, krzysztof
  • nachlik, elżbieta
  • rizzi, paola
Publication Date
Sep 06, 2019
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s historical town centre, which is protected as a historical site by national law and it was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1978, clearly demonstrates how difficult it is to reconcile the passive character of current conservation doctrines with the demands of the free market and growth-oriented economy, when developer pressure is not sufficiently balanced out by public opinion and urban activist movements, when planning tools are incomplete or insufficient, and the criteria according to which strategic decisions are made are of a quantitative rather than a qualitative character. Apart from commonly encountered problems that are associated with the gentrification of town centres or the negative impact of mass tourism, Krakow must also face a growing flood hazard that stems from its specific and unfavourable hydrological and hydrogeological conditions that are compounded by the uncontrolled and uncoordinated expansion of urbanised areas, the decay of the natural environment, and the consequences of climate change. This article presents the multi-aspect site-specific conditions of the historical centre of Krakow, as well as the analysis of its protection as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the context of flood protection, while taking into consideration the environmental, economic, and social dimension of heritage. The critical conclusions that are featured in the work indicate both areas of possible immediate remedial action and the potential directions that new integrated protection strategies would take.

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