Dealing with multiple hazards and threats on cultural heritage sites: An assessment of 80 case studies

Purpose: Cultural heritage (CH) sites are not only important components of a country’s identity but can also be important drivers of tourism. However, an increasing number of extreme events associated with the impacts of climate change, natural hazards and human-induced threats are posing significant problems in conserving and managing cultural heritage worldwide. Consequently, improved climate change adaptation and enhanced hazard/threat mitigation strategies have become critical (but to-date under researched) considerations. This paper aims to identify the key hazards and threats to cultural heritage sites, the most common types of risks to CH and the strategies being adopted to mitigate or even eradicate those risks. Design/methodology: This paper reviews 80 CH case studies from around the world, which have been presented at a UNESCO International Training Course between 2006-2016. The case studies cover 45 different countries and provide practical insights into the key challenges being encountered in a variety of ‘at risk’ locations. Findings: The analysis assesses the key natural hazards and human-induced threats to the sites, an overview of the typical impacts to the tangible components of heritage and identifies the types of strategies being adopted to mitigate the risks, some of which could be transferred across cultural and geographical contexts. Originality: The paper provides a wealth of useful information related to how challenges faced by CH sites might be addressed in the future