Vulnerability and adaptation of cultural heritage to climate change: case studies in UNESCO heritage sites in Scotland and Italy

Elena Sesana, Alexandre Gagnon, John Hughes

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Climate change already poses a challenge to the conservation of cultural heritage. Moreover, with climate change our cultural heritage will potentially be exposed to more pressures and new risks not previously experienced. Thus, management practices will need to be adapted to include those additional risks and vulnerabilities. Previous research investigating the connections between climate change and cultural heritage has focused on producing climate change risk maps at the European scale. However, for climate change to be incorporated into preservation frameworks and management practices from government policy level down to the practice in the field, data, information, and assessment methods need to be available at a scale relevant to decision-makers. This paper reviews current structures in heritage management and identifies opportunities, barriers, and information requirements for mainstreaming climate change into conservation frameworks. For this purpose, semi-structured interviews were conducted with academics, professionals and experts in institutions associated with the management of cultural heritage as well as with the managers of two UNESCO heritage sites: New Lanark in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, and Crespi d’Adda in Capriate San Gervasio in the province of Bergamo in Italy. The data collected reveal gaps in knowledge on the relationship between the impacts of climate change, the management of the sites, and the best practice of conservation. Information requirements are highlighted and recommendations for best practice in considering climate change in the management of cultural heritage are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2017
Event3rd European Climate Change Adaptation Conference: Our Climate Ready Future - Scottish Event Campus, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Jun 20179 Jun 2017
Conference number: 3


Conference3rd European Climate Change Adaptation Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Cultural Heritage
  • Climate change
  • adaptation


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