Vanwege de coronamaatregelen kan de onderwijsvorm of tentaminering afwijken. Zie voor actuele informatie de betreffende cursuspagina’s op Brightspace.


nl en

LDE Living (World) Heritage Cities


Deze informatie is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Admission requirements

This course is an (extracurricular) Honours Class: an honours elective in the Honours College programme. There are limited spots available for non honours students. Admission will be based on motivation.


With the majority of people living in cities and the number of urban dwellers increasing each day, national and international policies are directed towards stimulating livability and a sustainable future for life in the city. The origin of a large number of metropoles in the world extends way back. Their inner city follows ancient waterways and roads; buildings and other structures are original or make use of foundations of predecessors. We as modern city dwellers live in an environment that to a large extent depends on decisions made by previous generations. But modern city life constantly asks for adaptations. The internal dynamics of the city changes the appearance and functions of the city in a fast pace.

Especially in the case of World Heritage cities, these adaptations are significant. Numerous tourists, eager to experience the ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ of the place, require accommodation, food, entertainment and souvenirs. Developers are looking to buy historical buildings and convert them into hotels and tourist shops. Traffic constantly puts the old and narrow streets under pressure. Inhabitants increasingly move out of the city, into less gentrified outer zones. Slowly, the character of the city changes. While the core and buffer zones of the site were once enlisted as World Heritage because of both the integrity of the cities’ parts and authenticity of its functions, now these are exactly the elements that are under threat (with the ultimate risk of ‘de-listing’). The desire to assign World Heritage status to living cities often overshadows the awareness of the implications this would have for the city and its inhabitants. It also raises the question as to whether it is possible to find a balance between an authentic and a dynamic city life?

Course objectives

In the Honours Class ‘Living World Heritage Cities’ we will look at different issues related to (World) heritage cities. It is an explicit aim of this class to explore the historical development and heritage of cities and ask: What is ‘living heritage?’ Can studying the diversity of long-term urban traditions effectively inform design for sustainable urban futures? Who are the stakeholders and how are they involved in new developments? We will be looking at research and projects conducted all over the globe. Topics may range from Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) to place-making, and from landscape biography to urban resilience.

“Living (World) Heritage Cities” aims to shed new light on these issues by combining insights, concepts and research methods from history and archaeology, geography and the social sciences, and planning and design (architecture, landscape design and urban planning).


Fridays on March 16, 23; April 6, 13, 20; May 4, 18 from 15:00 to 17:00.


Faculty of Archaeology, Van Steenis building
Einsteinweg 2 2333 CC Leiden
Room: E002B


Preliminary programme (lectures may shift):
1) 16 March: Lecture Urban Conservation and World Heritage by dr. Ana Pereira-Roders
2) 23 March: To be announced
3) 6 April: Lecture Heritage Impact Assessment by drs. Mara de Groot
4) 13 April: All-day excursion by dr. Linde Egberts (destination and literature to be announced; excursion has not yet been confirmed, may be replaced by lecture or other instruction form)
5) 20 April: Lecture Heritage and Design by dr. Marie Therese van Thoor
6) 4 May: Lecture Changes and Challenges of the Living World Heritage Cities by Uditha Jinadasa
7) 18 May: Lecture Landscape Biography by prof. Jan Kolen (not confirmed)

Course Load

This course is worth 5 EC, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.

  • Lectures: 6 lectures of 2 hours

  • Excursion: 1 excursion (day-trip): not yet confirmed.

  • Literature reading & practical work: 10 hours p/week /50 hours

  • Assignments & final essay: 75 hours

Assessment method

  • 10% Participation assessed continually through participation in seminar and structured activities

  • 30% (15% each) Two reaction papers to a session’s reading(s) of 1000 words.

  • 60% A final case-application paper of 3000 words.

All parts must have been positively assessed in order to pass the course.

Blackboard and uSis

Blackboard will be used in this course. Students can register for the Blackboard site two weeks prior to the start of the course.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally

Reading list

Preliminary reading list:
Logan, W.S., 2002, The Disappearing ‘Asian’ City: Protecting Asia’s Urban Heritage in a Globalizing World, New York ; Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Meurs, P., 2016. Heritage-based design. TU Delft, Heritage & Architecture. ISBN 978-94-6186-592-2 (open access at website of Delft University of Technology)

Perera N. and Habarakada, S. 2015. From Resisting to Familiarizing Impositions living in the World Heritage Site at Galle Fort. In: Perera, N. Peoples Spaces: Coping, Familiarizing, Creating. Routledge. pp. 82-101

Updated reading list to be announced at start of the Honours Class.


Enrolling in this course is possible from Monday November 6th until Thursday November 16th 23.59 hrs through the Honours Academy, via this link. It is not necessary to register in uSis.


Dr. Maaike de Waal