The urge for technological progress is an integral part of the human being and thus closely linked to the history of humankind. Many World Heritage Sites bear witness of the impressive technological achievements of different eras. Especially since industrialization in the middle of the 19th century, technological progress has steadily gained momentum on a global level. On the one hand, there is a danger of abandoning structures and relics that have grown over centuries and therefore losing important parts of the world heritage. This concerns in Europe, for example, old coal and steel regions and production structures, but also transformation in the agricultural sector, among other things due to increasing globalization and displacement of local cultivation practices and knowledge. On the other hand, technological change always opens new possibilities and perspectives. More efficient production methods are replacing outdated structures including new environmentally friendly processes, for instance in the field of renewable energies. New Earth observation satellites and detection methods enable innovative methods to map and monitor World Heritage Sites even more precisely and a more multi-facetted manner. The chapter is therefore dedicated to technological change and understands it both as a threat to the world heritage and as a perspective for its preservation at the same time.
Prof. Dr. Alexander Siegmund, UNESCO Chair on World Heritage and Biosphere Reserve Observation and Education, Department of Geography – Research Group for Earth Observation (rgeo), Heidelberg University of Education
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