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Prabowo, B.N.; Temeljotov Salaj, A.; Lohne, J. Urban Heritage Facility Management in World Heritage Sites. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 18 June 2024).
Prabowo BN, Temeljotov Salaj A, Lohne J. Urban Heritage Facility Management in World Heritage Sites. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 18, 2024.
Prabowo, Bintang Noor, Alenka Temeljotov Salaj, Jardar Lohne. "Urban Heritage Facility Management in World Heritage Sites" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 18, 2024).
Prabowo, B.N., Temeljotov Salaj, A., & Lohne, J. (2023, June 15). Urban Heritage Facility Management in World Heritage Sites. In Encyclopedia.
Prabowo, Bintang Noor, et al. "Urban Heritage Facility Management in World Heritage Sites." Encyclopedia. Web. 15 June, 2023.
Urban Heritage Facility Management in World Heritage Sites

Whether public sectors or private institutions, in-house or outsourced, building-level or urban-scale, the critical role of facility management (FM) is to support the core business activities of an organization in accomplishing its objectives. Through the services it manages and provides, FM impacts people’s health, well-being, and quality of life. The definition of the core business of an urban-scale heritage is not widely discussed in the facility management literature. The context of the World Heritage site is used to provide a sharper perspective on the possible urban-scale support services customized for urban heritage areas. The study suggested that a city’s primary objective is to maintain and possibly attract new “desirable” citizens through the provision of excellent services, a quality-built environment, a sense of well-being, health, safety and security, and economic growth. Consequently, the integration of urban-scale support services must be aligned with the purpose of the World Heritage site which is to preserve its outstanding universal values (OUV).

urban FM facility management world heritage urban heritage urban heritage facility management UHFM urban scale support services

1. Introduction

The city as an artificial habitat is an intriguing phenomenon since it provides a location for human civilization to reside. Cities are dynamic, complex, and multifaceted entities that are constantly evolving. The scientific study of cities has emerged as an essential area of research in recent years. One specific aspect of this field is examining urban heritage conservation, which is a system and process within urban development. Urban heritage refers to the cultural and historical value of cities. It encompasses both tangible and intangible aspects, including architectural heritage, historic landscapes, traditional practices, social customs, and cultural expressions. Urban heritage, which can also be addressed using the systems theory of urbanism, is essential in understanding the evolution of cities, as it reflects the cultural, economic, and social history of the communities that reside within them [1]. Therefore, urban development, as a complex and on-going process that is shaped by various factors, needs to consider urban heritage as one of its key components.
Some cities are brand-new and purposely built, while others are hundreds or thousands of years old with a volatile past. There are other cities that eventually perish and are abandoned for a variety of reasons. The evolutionary history of cities around the globe demonstrates that a city is also a complex megastructure [2][3][4][5][6] comparable to a large institution [7][8][9][10][11][12] that occupies a massively built environment and must be managed effectively to function. Nevertheless, a city is not only a tangible structure but also a complex system comprising various subsystems, including the social, economic, political, environmental, and physical subsystems [1][13]. Over time, the proto cities that initially arose from a group of humans who worked in a simple hierarchy evolved into a hub for vast numbers of individuals with diverse characteristics, interests, and needs, which the early founders may not have anticipated. As the complexity grew, it became unavoidable to employ stakeholders who were appointed as regulating authorities, as well as to manage the complicated daily tasks of a city. Today’s urban areas must be managed with exceptional discipline and precision to avoid chaos and long-term urban problems in the foreseeable future.
Cities also require enormous infrastructure and facilities, which must be designed, constructed, monitored, and maintained on an on-going basis to ensure the well-being and quality of life of the citizens. To decrease unnecessary costs and environmental impact, city facilities management must be implemented systematically and effectively. The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) defines facility management (FM) as a field dedicated to supporting people by assuring the functioning, well-being, efficiency, productivity, and sustainability of the built environment, which includes the buildings, the neighborhood, the city, and the infrastructures surrounding them [14][15][16]. FM is readily justifiable at the urban scale given that the city is intrinsically a physically built environment, consists of people with diverse interests and aims, and is arguable, to some extent, as a form of mega-organization or institution.

2. World Heritage Sites in Urban Heritage Facility Management

2.1. The Definition and Origin of Cities

Essentially, a city is a sufficiently large town with its own governance. The expression is derived from the French word “cité,” which is derived from the Latin word “civitatum,” which means “citizenship” [17]. In the context of ancient Greece, citizenship refers to the involvement of individuals in the social and political life of small-scale communities [12]. According to the Degree of Urbanization approved by the United Nations Statistical Commission, a city is proportionately more prominent than a town [18][19]. The expansion of agriculture is intimately related to the emergence of the earliest cities. Later, the greater the population of the community, the safer it was from attack by other tribes. Through time, villages developed in size and eventually transformed into towns and cities [20]. The food surplus from the successful agricultural productions enabled both the specialization of work and the formation of a class structure that can provide the leadership and workforce to build and operate even more complex agricultural systems, which in turn makes possible further increases in the food supply [20][21]. Numerous craftspeople, who were not working as farmers, such as masons, carpenters, jewelers, potters, etc., lived and worked at a considerable distance from the urban center. Through time, the division of labor and professions grew to be more specialized due to the increasing complexity of society [21]. The concentration of a large number of specialists in a small area stimulated creativity, not only in technology but also in religious, philosophical, and scientific ideas [20]. Moreover, some representatives among the citizens and certain specialists were appointed to manage the city’s routine tasks in order to prevent social disorder. These citizens might have acted as the predecessors of the current support service providers or even facility managers.
However, a city is not merely a structure. A city is also a complex system with multiple layers of subsystems. The theory of what a city is, and its subsystems, has been the subject of much debate and discussion among urban theorists and scholars. One influential theory is the systems theory of urbanism, which is a theoretical approach that views cities as complex and dynamic systems made up of interconnected and interdependent parts [1][13]. According to this theory, a city is not just a physical structure but also a system that consists of different interconnected subsystems [1] that interact with each other in a complex and dynamic way creating a web of relationships that shape the urban environment [13]. As a structure, a city refers to the physical form and built environment, such as buildings, streets, and public spaces. As a system, a city refers to the processes and activities that take place within the urban environment, such as economic activities, social interactions, and political decision-making. The system theory of urbanism highlights the importance of understanding the complexity and interdependence of different subsystems within a city to effectively manage urban development, one of which is through urban-scale facility management.

2.2. Urban-Scale FM

Virtually everything must be managed, from simple tasks to complex tasks such as daily city operations. Management is the act or art of managing, planning, developing, directing, or supervising anything to attain a particular objective [22][23]. The management discipline has evolved into many branches, each of which has its character and specialization field, one of which is facility management. Salaj and Lindkvist [24] recommended expanding the FM discipline into an urban-scale practice after Alexander and Brown [25] had earlier proposed a similar concept for community-based facility management (CbFM).
FM services in the building level are exemplified by users’ experience when entering the main entrance, feeling comfortable in the lobby, using a luxurious escalator, meeting in a well-equipped meeting room, and having excellent toilet facilities. The satisfaction due to the pleasant and productive experience is the work of the facility managers operating behind the scenes. It is identical to how the dwellers perceived the city as a lively and productive environment due to the excellent work of the urban facility managers. Arguably, FM support services act as the avant-garde to ensure the efficiency and daily operation of the facilities of built environments, including cities and the infrastructures needed for the dynamic and productive urban environment to be achieved to maintain citizens’ fulfillment. Urban FM, or UFM, as an expansion of building level’s FM, has been discussed by multidisciplinary scholars globally from various perspectives and vantage points. Nevertheless, the FM stakeholders and academics have not yet agreed on a solid Urban FM framework. The idea of enhancing public participation [26], PPPP [27], sustainable neighborhood refurbishment [28], health-directed design interventions in cities [29], urban heritage facility management [30], and place-making [31], among others, are contributing to the development and establishment of Urban FM as an emerging discipline branch of FM. These pieces of knowledge are scattered throughout the intellectual discourses and academic debates. While most urban caretakers have performed urban-scale facility management as part of their day-to-day tasks, the research community has not seemed to structure it in one comprehensive model or framework. This situation, to some extent, resembles the same phenomenon that has occurred in the building-scale FM discipline in its early development. However, nowadays, many institutions and businesses are specializing in the FM industry to improve the organization’s efficiency, cost savings, and flawless operation. Thus, incorporating FM is becoming common practice in society. The same shift is expected to happen with Urban FM in managing urban-scale facilities in the near future. Contextualizing urban-scale FM within WH sites will contribute to establishing Urban FM as a discipline and provide a distinctly new perspective and management approach for WH site preservation through the provision of urban-scale support services tailored for heritage districts and historic towns.

2.3. World Heritage Sites as a Protected Urban Area

The concept of “World Heritage” is innovative when it was introduced for the first time. Traditionally, inherited cultural assets were restricted to specific people or communities [32]. With the relatively new terminology of “World Heritage,” a cultural item is deemed universal, has a broader reach, and is incorporated into global human history. During the completion of the Aswan Dam in Egypt in 1959, the Ramses II temple at Abu Simbel was in danger of being demolished. This resulted in the establishment of the WH movement [33][34]. The UNESCO launched an international campaign to salvage the critical heritage asset, which sparked a debate about the necessity of a worldwide treaty to protect the most significant cultural and natural heritage sites all over the globe. In 1972, UNESCO came up with an agreement that included natural and cultural assets worldwide. The agreement’s purpose is to protect areas of worldwide significance that also contain outstanding universal values and belong to all of humanity [35]. Therefore, the permanent protection of this asset is of the utmost importance to the global society and is becoming the defined terminology of WH that we know today.
The concept of WH also represents a shift in thinking about cultural heritage from a narrow focus on individual buildings or monuments to a broader understanding of cultural landscapes and the complex relationships between people and their environment. The notion of WH has helped to encourage a more holistic approach to heritage management, one that seeks to balance conservation with sustainable development and community involvement [30].
To be listed as an urban-scale WH, a site must meet at least one of the following criteria: (1) exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning, or landscape design; (2) bear a unique or exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization that is living or that has disappeared; (3) be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural, or technological ensemble or landscape, which illustrates a significant stage(s) in human history; (4) be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use, which is representative of a culture (or cultures), especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change; and (5) be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance [36]. Sites must also meet the conditions of integrity and authenticity, meaning they must be intact and genuine representations of their cultural heritage values. Additionally, they should be well-preserved and have adequate management and protection systems in place. Furthermore, failure to maintain the outstanding universal value(s) will result in the delisting of the sites from WH status, such as the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary, Oman (2007), Elbe Valley in Dresden, Germany (2009), and the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City in Liverpool, United Kingdom (2021).
Heritage has extended to include groups of structures, historical urban centers, parks, and nonphysical heritage such as surroundings, social characteristics, and, more recently, intangible attributes [37][38][39]. The phrase “tangible” describes the physical objects that have been developed, conserved, and handed down through the generations of a community. It consists of creative accomplishments, built legacies such as structures and monuments, and other artifacts of human innovation instilled with cultural significance. In contrast, the “intangible” terminology refers to the expressions, rituals, symbols, knowledge, and abilities that individuals, groups, and communities acknowledge as being representative of their collective memory [40][41]. However, most tangible heritage can only be interpreted and comprehended through reference to the intangible. Consequently, society and values in the WH site context are intricately interconnected [41] and progressively becoming relevant for urban-scale FM as a people-oriented discipline.
Depending on how it is managed and valued, heritage can be both an asset and an incumbrance to urban development. Heritage can be a significant asset to urban development because it provides a city with a distinct and valuable sense of identity, history, and culture. Heritage sites can attract tourists, stimulate economic growth, and increase property values. Additionally, preserving and supporting heritage can foster a sense of community pride and cohesion and contribute to a city’s social and cultural fabric. Managing an urban-scale WH site requires finding the right balance between the need for preservation and the necessity for urban development to meet contemporary living standards and urban facility management services. This can be challenging to achieve, as urban development and the preservation of cultural and historical values can sometimes be in conflict [30][42]. Historic preservation may limit the ability of developers to build new buildings or make alterations to existing protected building, resulting in conflicts between preservationists and developers. Urban WH sites, which frequently attract large numbers of visitors, can also potentially introduce management challenges for the site and its surrounding communities. Managing WH visitors is being further complicated by overtourism, inappropriate visitor behavior, and the damage of heritage sites [43]. Many urban WH sites are located in developing nations or areas with limited resources, which can present additional challenges in terms of conservation funding and management resources [44][45]. This does not even take into account the existence of facts regarding climate change and natural disasters, which can pose significant threats to WH sites, which are sometimes located in areas prone to earthquakes, flooding, and other natural disasters [46][47]. In Røros, Rjukan, and Notodden, three WH preserved towns of Norway, climate change has resulted in unusually wet winters over the past several decades, which has increased the difficulty of preserving the wooden materials on the facades and structures of the protected buildings. Providing heritage-oriented urban facility management support services could also be a potential approach for achieving the optimal balance in the management of WH sites.
Heritage preservation and urban development are closely related to urban-scale facility management (Urban FM) because they both aim to improve the quality of life for urban residents. Urban FM plays a crucial role in ensuring the preservation of historic buildings and sites, as well as fostering urban development through the efficient and sustainable management of urban-scale support services. In this way, Urban FM acts as a link between the past and the present, preserving the history of cities while ensuring their continued growth and development. Effective urban facilities management can ensure that historic structures and sites are maintained to the highest standards and can be utilized for a variety of purposes. This requires close collaboration between different technical departments of the governing authorities and stakeholders to ensure that urban facilities are efficiently maintained and managed, and that any necessary repairs and upgrades are performed promptly. Urban FM can also play a significant role in promoting sustainable urban development by ensuring that urban-scale support services are managed to reach optimum efficiency while retaining historical significance. Heritage preservation, urban development, and Urban FM have a complex and multifaceted relationship. By collaborating, these distinct disciplines can contribute to the development of thriving urban areas that are rich in heritage and history while also meeting the needs of a growing and changing population.

2.4. The Dynamics between Urban Heritage Protection and Urban Planning

Urban heritage and WH sites play crucial roles in urban planning, as they can make better informed decisions regarding the preservation and development of urban historic and cultural resources [48][49]. Urban heritage sites are areas or locations within a city that have historical or cultural significance, such as old neighborhoods, historic buildings, monuments, and public spaces. These locations can contribute to the identity and unique character of a city and are commonly major tourist attractions. Integrating the preservation of urban heritage sites in urban planning can help maintain a sense of continuity with the past, increase the cultural value of the city, and attract visitors and investment. When making decisions about zoning, land use, and development regulations, urban planners should consider the historic significance and outstanding universal values of these WH sites, as they are typically accorded special protection and conservation status in urban planning. As a result, urban planners may impose stricter restrictions on development near WH sites, or work to establish buffer zones that protect the site from undesirable and uncontrolled development [50][51]. Thus, the preservation and management of WH sites can contribute to the protection of a city’s cultural and historic identity and to the promotion of sustainable development that respects and enhances the value of these vital resources.
The inscription and listing of a site as a UNESCO WH site can bring various social and economic benefits while also imposing certain urban planning restrictions for future development. WH sites attract a large number of tourists, who can contribute to the local economy by creating jobs, generating revenue from ticket sales, and increasing demand for local goods. The increased attention and visitation can also heighten awareness of the cultural and natural significance of the site. UNESCO promotes sustainable tourism practices that prioritize responsible and eco-friendly tourism [43]. This can lead to a more balanced economic development that considers the site’s conservation requirements and local communities. WH sites are also eligible for funding and technical assistance from the World Heritage Fund, which can support conservation efforts and promote sustainable development. Furthermore, the process of the inscription as a world heritage includes a rigorous evaluation of the site’s value, authenticity, and integrity, as well as ongoing monitoring to ensure the site’s outstanding universal value is maintained. This may result in increased oversight and scrutiny of planning and development decisions in the area.

2.5. Projected Nature of Heritage Values

The projected nature of heritage values refers to how the values attributed to a particular heritage site or object are projected onto the surrounding community. In other words, how people in a community view a particular heritage site or object can significantly impact its preservation and conservation. One key factor influencing the projected nature of heritage values is the community’s values and beliefs [52][53]. Various factors can shape these values and beliefs, including cultural traditions, historical events, and socio-economic factors. For example, a community that places a high value on the preservation of historic buildings may be more likely to support the conservation of an old, dilapidated structure than a community that places a lower value on historic preservation.
Another factor influencing the projected nature of heritage values is how heritage sites and objects are managed and promoted by city officials and other stakeholders [52]. Effective management and promotion can help enhance the perceived value of a heritage site or object, increasing community support for its conservation and preservation. For example, suppose a city invests in restoring and promoting a historic neighborhood; in that case, residents and visitors may view the area as a valuable cultural asset, which can help sustain community support for its preservation [53].
In addition to these factors, the projected nature of heritage values can also be influenced by the actions of individual community members. For example, a local historian who writes a book or talks about the history of a particular heritage site may help increase awareness and appreciation of its value among community members. The famous Norwegian artist and painter Harald Sohlberg played a significant role in creating awareness of Røros, a remote area in Norway, which is now a protected WH site.
Shifting baselines can impact the reliability of heritage studies, as personal knowledge and value-driven observer bias can lead to the incorrect exclusion of properties [54]. To minimize observer bias, Spennemann (2022) [54] argued that community heritage studies should involve local professionals, a representative sample of community members, and a formal community-wide survey, which should include questions designed to elicit memories of locations cherished by previous generations. Once a property is listed, its values remain fixed, whereas the projected values are subject to change. This means that listed properties may lose or gain significance and value over time. The planning regulations associated with listing can limit the freedom of action of property owners, and development actions may no longer be directly proportionate with the increased significance [54].
Therefore, the projected nature of heritage values is a complex and dynamic phenomenon shaped by various factors, including community values, management strategies, and individual actions. To successfully conserve and preserve urban heritage, it is essential for city officials and other stakeholders to understand and work with the projected nature of heritage values to build and sustain community support for heritage conservation and preservation efforts.

2.6. Motivations of Managing Urban Heritage and Being Listed as World Heritage Sites

Diverse motivations exist for designating and inscribing a site as a WH site and for managing urban heritage areas, which can influence the priorities for urban-scale facility management. In the typical heritage planning trajectory of identification, nomination, evaluation, listing, and preservation, the epistemological basis of nominations and evaluations is infrequently examined; therefore, understanding this theory of knowledge, along with the motivations behind nominations and listings, enables us to evaluate whether the heritage-listed properties are representative of the cultural, social, and economic realities of a community as revealed by their historic trajectories [55].
Furthermore, preserving and managing urban heritage areas can contribute to sustainable development by encouraging the reuse of existing buildings and infrastructure, decreasing the need for new construction, and preserving the embodied energy and cultural value of existing resources. Nevertheless, the management and acknowledgment of cultural heritage are subject to both moral and physical ownership, which extends not only to the physical manifestation of a heritage asset but also to its intangible characteristics [55].
The motivations mentioned above can influence the priorities of urban-scale facility management, which may include maintenance, repair, and the preservation of historic buildings, public spaces, and other cultural and historic resources. In addition, facility management priorities may include promoting sustainable development, improving the tourist experience, and preserving cultural and historical resources for future generations. Urban planners and facility managers can develop effective management strategies for these important resources by providing heritage-oriented urban planning and support services by understanding the motivations for inscription as WH list assets and managing urban heritage areas.

2.7. The Authority of the Municipality in Managing Urban-Scale Heritage Assets

The authority and power of a city administration to manage heritage assets can vary depending on the laws and regulations in a particular jurisdiction. City administrations generally have a certain degree of authority to manage heritage assets within their boundaries, but legal and practical constraints often limit this authority.
The municipalities usually exercise their authority to manage heritage assets by using land use planning and zoning [49], heritage designation and protection [56], and building codes and standards [57]. City administrations have the power to regulate land use and zoning within their boundaries. This can include the designation of heritage districts or zones, which can provide some degree of protection for heritage assets located within those areas. In many jurisdictions, municipalities have the authority to designate heritage properties and structures, which can provide a degree of protection against demolition, alteration, or other forms of damage or destruction. Municipalities also may impose and establish building codes and standards that apply to all structures within their jurisdiction, including heritage assets. These codes and standards may require that owners of heritage properties adhere to certain preservation standards or obtain permits before making any changes to the property [57].
However, many heritage assets are in private hands, and owners of these assets generally have a great deal of control over how they are managed and maintained [58]. Municipalities often have limited authority over the actions of private owners and may need to rely on education, incentives, and partnerships with heritage organizations and advocacy groups to encourage owners to preserve and protect heritage assets. In some cases, city administrations may be able to use legal tools such as heritage easements, expropriation, or financial incentives such as tax credits to encourage owners to preserve heritage assets. However, these tools can be challenging to use and may not always be practical. While city administrations have some power and authority to manage heritage assets within their jurisdiction, they must often work within legal and practical constraints and rely on a range of partnerships and incentives to encourage private owners to preserve and protect these critical resources [58].


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Subjects: Urban Studies
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