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Unit Overview


This unit introduces three international concepts in conservation—cultural landscapes, historic towns, and urban conservation areas, and investigates the processes of identification, assessment, and management of cultural significance in a range of places from world to local level. Cultural landscape is an emerging concept in conservation. In the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (UNESCO 2008), the term 'cultural landscape' embraces 'diverse demonstrations of the interaction between humankind and its natural environment …illustrative of the evolution of human society and settlement over time.' Following on from the Hoi An Protocols for Best Conservation Practice in Asia (UNESCO 2009), the assessment of cultural landscapes increasingly involves engaging with living cultural traditions, and recognises the value of existing and traditional stakeholders and land users in managing significance. The concepts of historic towns and urban conservation areas have a longer history and focus on places with historic, social and townscape values that contribute to a strong sense of place and cultural identity. Through a range of case studies from the world (World Heritage List) to the local Western Australian context, students examine the ways such places have been assessed, recorded and protected, and the levels of conservation planning that have been applied to them.

6 points

Students are able to (1) understand the evolution of the key international concepts in conservation—cultural landscapes, historic towns and urban precincts; (2) develop research and investigation skills, and an understanding of the role of different disciplines involved in conservation; and (3) apply their knowledge to the critical review of existing reports, and to the development of appropriate conservation policies for particular places.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) case study reports; (2) group field work exercises; and (3) major assignment. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Ingrid van Bremen
Unit rules
ARCT5582 Conservation in Cultural Landscapes, Historic Towns and Urban Precincts (GC)
Advisable prior study
ARCT5583 Introduction to Architectural Conservation (formerly ARCT5583 Heritage and Conservation)
Contact hours
35 (introductory lecture: 1 x 2 hours
lectures/field work exercises/seminars: 3 hours per week)

Bandarin, F. and Van Oers, R. The Historic Urban Landscape: Managing Heritage in an Urban Century: Wiley 2012

Cullen, G. The Concise Townscape: Architectural Press 1971

Taylor, K. and Lennon, J. Eds Managing Cultural Landscapes: Routledge 2012

UNESCO Papers (available from
Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention: 2008
World Heritage Papers 26 World Heritage Cultural Landscapes, A Handbook for Conservation and Management 2009  
World Heritage Papers 27 Managing Historic Cities: 2010
Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL): 2011

ICOMOS Papers (available from
International charter for the Conservation of Monuments and Sites (The Venice Charter): 1964
Historic Gardens (The Florence Charter): 1981  
Charter for the Conservation of Historic Towns and Urban Area, (Washington Charter): 1987
Nara Document on Authenticity: 1994
Oxford Declaration on Landscape: 2000 (pdf
Hoi An Protocols for Best Conservation Practice in Asia: 2009
Valletta Principles for Safeguarding and Management of Historic Cities, Towns & Urban Areas: 2011
The Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter: 2013 (


Mumford, L. The City in History: Penguin 1961

Preservation and Change, Historic Towns: Ministry of Housing & Local Government UK 1967

Esher, L.B. York—A study in Conservation: HMSO 1968

UNESCO The Conservation of Cities: Croom Helm 1975

Gosling, D. Gordon Cullen—Visions of Urban Design: Academy Editions 1996

Larkham, P.J. Conservation and the City: Routledge 1996

Webb, M. The City Square: Thames and Hudson 1990

Periodicals (a list and copies of key articles from the following periodicals are provided):
ICOMOS Newsletters reporting UNESCO recommendations and updates on charters
Historic Environment: ICOMOS Australia
Garden History Journal: Australian Garden History Society

Relevant reports on case study subjects are provided in lectures.

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.