Selected topics in sustainability of heritage: preservation, planning and management

Objectives and competences

The course will provide students with contemporary approaches in conservation methods and practices within the frame of sustainability, focusing on the role of culture and heritage within the urban dynamics. Students will be able to critically engage with heritage context, urban world and development dynamics (empirically and intellectually).


No specific prerequisites are required.


  1. Introduction
    • Aims and purpose of the course
    • Syllabus presentation
    • Presentation of research perspectives
    • Students' obligations
    • Study instructions and suggestions

  2. Contemporary Debate on the Roles of Built Cultural Heritage in Regional Development Processes

  3. The theoretical evolution towards Preventive and Planned Conservation
    • Outlining the origins and history of PPC
    • Fundamental educational, legal and organisational models:
    The School of Milan (recognition and selection - M. Dezzi Bardeschi, A. Bellini); * Institutionalised approach (Pilot plans-Franceschini , Urbani pilot plans); Bottom –up practices: (Monument watch- Monumentenwacht Vlaanderen)
    • From Being to Becoming: Conservation and Co-Evolution
    • The Toolkit of Planned Conservation:
    Preventive monitoring and data assessment (inspection, data interpretation and management, dissemination- sensitisation, implementation)
    • Preventive and Planned Conservation and social issues: involvement, cultural production and societal impacts

3.1 Planned Conservation and Sustainability Issues
• The inherent sustainability of historic buildings and preservation
• The Problem of Standards and Re-use of Built Cultural Heritage
• Selected topics in traditional technologies for sustainability (maximisation of air flow, mitigation of their impact on the local environment and comfort)

  1. Heritage, resilience and sustainability
    • The notion of the city wealth
    • Conservation, improvement and management of city wealth
    • Resilience, creativity and sustainability in city development
    • Toward a new paradigm in city development : the human scale of urbanization
    • Urban planning and integrated conservation of cultural and natural heritage in local development
    • Case studies

4.1. Methods and tools
• Evaluation tools in planning and design
• Tools for landscape and urban integrated planning
• Financial tools in planning and conservation
• Evaluation tools and Decision making
• Collaborative design

Intended learning outcomes

The students will obtain:

  • the skills to deal with the concepts of sustainability having cultural heritage as main working context
  • skills to critically engage with culture as factor of urban sustainable development
  • knowledge of principles and dynamics of planned conservation approach


− Feilden, B.M. 1982 (3rd edition in 2003),Conservation of Historic Buildings, Oxford: Butterworth
− Teutonico J.M. & Matero F. (eds.), Managing Change: Sustainable Approaches to the Conservation of the Built Environment, proceedings 4th US/ICOMOS international symposium, Philadelphia, The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 2003
− Della Torre S., Canziani A., Comprehensive plans for a culture–driven local development: emergence as a tool for understanding social impacts of projects on built cultural heritage, in Processes of emergence of systems and systemic properties. Towards a general theory of emergence (Fourth National Conference of the Italian Systems Society (AIRS), Castel Ivano, edited by G. Minati, M. Abram, E. Pessa, Singapore, Word Scientific, 2007, pp. 79-90
− Della Torre S., Petraroia P., Integration of Maintenance and Management Activities with authorization procedures for listed Architectural Heritage, in Proceedings Maintenance Management 2007. Third international Conference on Maintenance and Facility Management, Roma, 2007, pp. 87-90
− Mälkki M. & Schmidt-Thomé K. (eds.), Integrating Aims. Built Heritage in Social and Economic Development, Aalto University, Centre for Urban and Regional Studies Publications, Helsinki, 2009
− Mendes Zancheti S. & Similä K. (eds.), Measuring Heritage Conservation Performance, CECI & ICCROM, Olinda & Roma, 2012
− Van Balen K. & Vandesande A. (eds.), Reflections on preventive Conservation, Maintenance and Monitoring of Monuments and Sites, ACCO, Leuven/Den Haag, 2013
- L. Fusco Girard, P. Nijkamp (eds.), Cultural Tourism and Sustainable Local Development , Ashgate, Aldershot ,2009
- L.Fusco Girard, T.Baykan, P.Nijkamp(eds.), Sustainable City and Creativity , Ashgate, Aldershot, 2011
- Fusco Girard L.( The cultural base of cities for improving their resilience ,creativity and sustainability, in Colletta T. editor, The role of integrated conservation of cultural heritage for a creative, resilient and sustainable city, Franco Angeli, Mìilan,2013
- Fusco Girard L.(2013), Creativity in small cities governance: some experiences, in BDC, n13 Issn: 1121-2918
- Fusco Girard L. , Toward a Smart Sustainable Development of Port Areas: the Role of “Historic Urban Landscape”. Special Issue: Port Cities and Port Areas as Hotspots of Development. Sustainability Journal. ISSN 2071-1050, 2013
- Fusco Girard L. (2013). Space, cityscape and wealth creation/maintenance/management: the role of urban planning. Special Issue: Cities as Wealth Creation. International Journal of Sustainable Development, forthcoming


Based on assignments evaluation and public presentation of research work

Lecturer's references

Stefano Della Torre is full professor at Politecnico di Milano (Italy), where he holds the position of Head of ABC Department (department of Architecture, Built Environment, andCostruction Engineering) . He is president of Building Smart Italian Chapter, Principal Investigator of the project Built Heritage Information Modelling/Management, granted by Italian Ministry and Teacher of Preventive Conservation of Cultural Heritage in the Scuola di Specializzazione in Beni Culturali, University of Macerata. He is also Consultant to Regione Lombardia for Planned Conservation policies and consultant to Fondazione Cariplo in the Project Distretti Culturali . He is the author of more than 250 publications.