Urban Heritage Strategies


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Urban Heritage Strategies

In cities all around the world, built heritage is under pressure from either over- or under development, climate change and water challenges. Especially World Heritage Cities struggle to combine desired conservation with necessary development. Meanwhile, we may observe that heritage plays an increasingly important role in the present-day city. It reflects the image of a society, reveals stories about its past and fosters the cultural identity of a city. If managed properly heritage can effectively contribute to the urban quality and serve as a vital asset for future development.

The Urban Heritage Strategies (UHS) course aims to develop a better understanding of the complex relationship between urban development and heritage management. The course develops the capacity of participants in terms of cognitive knowledge and practical skills to perform management of historic urban cores. It also aims at the exchange of experience with fellow participants and wants to build professional networks. This year’s course is tailored to three World Heritage Cities, designated by UNESCO: Willemstad (Curaçao), Paramaribo (Suriname) and Salvador da Bahia (Brazil). Therefore, the course participants should either work in or have profound knowledge of the selected cities for this course.

The countries in which the cities are located have a partnership on heritage conservation with the Netherlands. For that reason, the Dutch government provides a full tuition fee waiver for selected applicants for this course. Admitted candidates will receive additional information on how to apply for the waiver.

What will I learn?

In this course you will learn about the potentials, challenges and risks the World Heritage Cities face. At the end of the course, you will be able to explain how different urban disciplines interact with heritage conservation. You will study and discuss different perspectives of related disciplines to your local case. Urban management tools will be brought into relation with heritage conservation and vice versa. You will get to know specific urban heritage conservation approaches, like the Historic Urban Landscape Approach, and learn about Heritage Impact Assessments. Overall questions which guide the course are:

• What are the development opportunities and what are the development threats for the World Heritage City?

• How can the Outstanding Universal Value of the site support social cohesion?

• What is the economic significance of the Heritage Attributes?

• Which are the environmental constraints of the listed site?

Throughout the course, you will critically reflect on which strategies work in which contexts and the reasons behind it.

How will I learn?

UHS participants learn through a blend of theoretical lectures, case study presentations and field visits. Additionally, participants are engaged in practical group work. In general, the training provides theoretical, interactive lectures in the mornings, followed by practical workshops or excursions in the afternoons. The content of the training is tailored around a case study approach. Participants will work on their respective World Heritage sites, following the steps of the Action Planning Methodology, as developed by IHS. This means that as a participant, you will learn to critically reflect on and apply urban heritage strategies to your own practice. The outcome of the training is a plan of action for the case study area, based on the knowledge gained and skills acquired during the training.


Postgraduate Diploma


The Urban Heritage Strategies course is developed by IHS in close cooperation with the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.

Admission requirements

  • Educational background: At least a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university in a field related to the chosen course. Three-year bachelors program is a minimum requirement. Evidence of this education (degree certificate) must be provided to access a program.
  • Sufficient command of English: The courses are designed for individuals who are comfortable reading, speaking, and listening to English, and who can actively participate in team projects, presentations, and classroom discussions conducted in English. While we do not require proof of English language proficiency, we expect that you are sufficiently fluent in English in order to fully understand and participate in all aspects of the program. IHS reserves the right to refuse or withdraw admission if we believe English ability does not meet these standards.

Submit your inquiry to find out more about the course dates, scholarship opportunities and other practical details. Rotterdam is waiting for you!

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

Founded in 1958, IHS is the international institute for housing and urban development of Erasmus University Rotterdam founded. For more than 60 years, it has been our mission to develop human and inst ... Read More

Founded in 1958, IHS is the international institute for housing and urban development of Erasmus University Rotterdam founded. For more than 60 years, it has been our mission to develop human and institutional capacities, to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life in cities. Read less