Fundamentals of preservation of historic urban and cultural landscape

This course is part of the programme
Doctoral study programme Cultural Heritage Studies

Objectives and competences

Students must get acquainted with the fundamental theories and methods of the urban conservation planning and design, as well as core theories and methodological approaches for the recognition and management of the cultural landscapes. They will be able to interpret territorial assets by connecting cultural and environmental information towards urban and cultural landscape preservation and planning.
Particular attention will be given to the emerging approach from the Unesco recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape as well as on the role of the urban spaces in the overall regeneration process of urban areas and their surroundings.


No specific prerequisites are required.


h1. 1. Introduction
1.1. Aims and contents of the course program
1.2. Presentation of the teaching instruments and the course implementation phases
1.3. Student’s obligations
1.4. Study suggestions

h1. 2. Basic concepts and practices in urban preservation
2.1. Overview of the history of the conservation policy of urban and environmental heritage from its origin in 19th century to date
2.2 Evolution of planning in Italy:
-the fundamental stages of the rehabilitation and regeneration of the historic centres from the Unification to date;
-overall cultural debate with specific reference to the contribution of ANCSA (National Association of Historic and Artistic Centres);
-case studies
2.3. Evolution and comparison of national and regional legislation on urban and environmental planning
2.4. Emerging tools for the enhancement of the traditional conservation plans and preservation regulations:
-guidelines for the quality of buildings
-guidelines for the quality of the surrounding environment and landscape
-guidelines for the quality of the public spaces;
-management plans for the WH Sites

h1. 3. Landscapes and cultural landscapes: concepts and practices
-A brief history of the landscape concept
-The evolution of the theory and its recognition since 1920 to date
-The European Landscape Convention
-The World Heritage Convention on cultural landscape
3.1. Principles and methods for the assessment of the cultural landscape
-Data gathering, Analysis , Interpretation, Contextualization;
-Landscape resources, management and planning structure;
-Values and valuation, the Outstanding Universal Value, Integrity and Authenticity;
-The protection and the enhancement: strategies and actions
3.2. The management plan
-the Italian Guidelines for WH sites management: aims and structure
-the management system and the management structure;
-the legislative and institutional framework
-international case studies and experiences

h1 4. From the Urban and Environmental Conservation Plan to–Historic Urban Landscape- HUL approach
-The urban morphological, geographical, symbolic and visual features and the local identity
-The typological urban conservation approach
-The assessment of the urban development scenarios and socio-cultural dynamics
4.1. HUL origins , references and definition
-The recognition of urban values: shifting emphasis from historic centre to wider geographical, historical, economic and social context
4.2 HUL identification and HUL approach: critical steps
-surveys and mapping of the natural, cultural and human resources;
-identifying values including participatory planning and stakeholder consultations
-assessment of the vulnerability
(identifying development , socio-economic and climate change pressures);
-identification of heritage sensitivity (integration of urban values and their vulnerability into a wider
framework of urban development and its implementation projects)
-actions for conservation and development;
-establishment of the partnerships and management and the coordination of the stakeholders

h1. 5. The definition of the urban and environmental conservation aims, strategies and actions : case studies

Intended learning outcomes

The course is providing the fundamental conservation knowledge and planning instruments which are applied in the urban and environmental heritage protection, planning and management also through the comparative analyses of case studies with different typologies and from different cultural, social and legislative contexts. It will provide sound theoretical background for the understanding of fundamental concepts and their historical evolution. The aim is to conspicuously improve the knowledge of the preservation, planning and management approaches, methodologies and practices.


  • M. Agnoletti, (edited by), The Conservation of Cultural Landscapes, CABI
  • M. Baridon, Naissance at renaissance du paysage, Acte Sud, Arles 2006
  • A. Berque, Les raisons du Paysage, Paris 1995
  • V. Calzolari, Storia e natura come sistema, Argos, Roma 1997
  • P. L. Cervellati, R. Scannavini, Bologna: politica e metodologia del restauro nei centri storici, Bologna 1974
  • F. Choay, L’allegoria del patrimonio,( ed. it.) ,Officina, Roma 1995
  • P. L. Cervellati, C: De Angelis ,R. Scannavini, La nuova cultura della città, Milano
  • AA,VV; Roma Parigi, Paris Project, nn.23-24, s.d.
  • P.Falini, F. Ciardini (edited by), I centri storici, Politica urbanistica e programmi di intervento pubblico, Mazzotta Milano 1978
  • P. Falini, F. Ciardini , L’analisi del centri storici, Officina, Roma 1981
  • P. Falini (edited by), Il Recupero rinnovato, Officina, Roma 1986
  • P. Falini (edited by) , I territori della trasformazione urbana, Officina, Roma 1997
  • P. Falini et al., La reconstruction urbana, Las Palmas, 2002
  • P. Falini (edited by), Lucus, Spoleto 2006
  • P. Falini (edited by), Il progetto urbano in Francia, (forthcoming)
  • P.F alini (edited by), Piano di Gestione del sito di Assisi, Basilica di San Francesco ed altri luoghi francescani, 2009
  • P. Falini (edited by), Linee guida per la qualità del paesaggio di Assisi, Assisi 2009
  • B. Gabrielli, Il recupero dell’esistente, Etascompas, Milano 1993
  • R. Pickard (edited by), Conservation of the Built Heritage ( vol. II),
  • R. Pickard (edited by), Management of European Historic Centres, E&FN SPON, Londra 2000
  • N. Mitchell, Rössler M., Tricaud P.M., (edited by), World Heritage Cultural landscapes, A handbook for conservation and management, 2009 E-version
  • C. Sauer, The Morphology of Landscape, University of California Publications in Geography, 1925
  • E. Sereni, Storia del paesaggio agrario italiano, Einaudi, Torino 1961
  • F.Toppetti (edited by), Paesaggi e città storica, Teorie e politiche del progetto, Ancsa, Alinea, Firenze 2011
  • G. Zucconi, La città contesa. Dagli ingegneri sanitari agli urbanisti, 1885-1942, Jaka Book, Milano 1989


25% Assessment of the assignments. 75% Individual research papers and public discussion of the course contents.

Lecturer's references

Paola Falini is full professor of Urban Planning at the La Sapienza University of Rome, where she is member of the Ph.D in Urban and Regional Planning at the School of Specialization in Garden Architecture and Landscape Design and member of Master in planning, conservation and management of minor historical centres and of the landscape-environmental systems.
She is 'UNESCO consultant in the field of the urban preservation and regeneration. She is lecturer in many universities in Italy and abroad. She is responsible for the International Relations (as well as vice-president) of the National Association for the Historic Artistic Centers (ANCSA) and for the European Section of the Gubbio Award. She has received the prestigious award from the Architectural Institute of Japan for the outstanding contribution to the culture of Architecture in the year 2014.