11 January 2021

Hamburg convenes partners to better preserve areas of cultural heritage from hazards and risks

ICLEI Member Hamburg (Germany) has convened a group of its partners to join a virtual 'match-making meeting', with the goal to establish milestones for collaboration between research partners, local stakeholders and the city, on the topic of better preserving areas of cultural heritage from hazards and risks.

The Hamburg case focuses on the city's Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District, anchored by the iconic 'Chilehaus', which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Integrating climate change adaptation into management of the sites, including improved monitoring of impacts on built fabric and on citizens, as well as increased community awareness, are the main aims in Hamburg.

Match-making attendees were welcomed by the head of Hamburg’s heritage preservation department, Dr. Anna Joss, who highlighted the relevance of this work, saying: “Natural hazards like storm surges or the rising sea level affect the cultural heritage in Hamburg already today and it will be vital to well monitor the changes and develop tools and methods to become more resilient.”

On day one of the meeting, the team from Hamburg provided insights into the status quo in the city, as well as recent developments. The updated local work plan and its three objectives were presented and discussed; these are:

  1. To expand and improve digital data management for buildings within Speicherstadt and Kontorhausviertel;
  2. To integrate climate change and related hazards within the future revised World Heritage Site management plan; and
  3. To raise awareness in the local community and among visitors on the relevance of climate change to World Heritage Sites.

For the second day, research partners were asked to present their ideas and feedback regarding the local objectives. An active discussion about topics such 3D scans, requirement analysis, resilience assessments, the heritage site management plan, and sensor data brought to light new ways to collaborate and advance work.

Hamburg's World Heritage Coordinator, Bernd Paulowitz, said: “The valuable expertise of our partners will help to enhance the resilience of the Speicherstadt and Kontorhausviertel. Together, we will gather data about the effect of climate change on this heritage site, develop management tools and use our updated knowledge for awareness campaigns and civic participation.”

Now, following this meeting, the team from Hamburg will expedite their work further. “We will continue to work closely with our existing local stakeholders but will also form new co-operations with experts from across the City of Hamburg and beyond. The expert knowledge of local experts is essential to achieve our aims and improve the resilience of the World Heritage Site,” explained Hamburg project coordinator, Dr. des. Uta Mense.

This work is being conducted as part of the ARCH project, in which ICLEI Europe is a partner. For more information on ARCH, click here.

To learn more about the Hamburg case, click here.