News Release

A landscape-based approach to urban heritage management: People, spatial biography, and ecosystem

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Higher Education Press

The High Line in New York City


The High Line in New York City

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Credit: Elizabeth Villalta

This article first identifies the current definition of urban heritage that includes both “old” and “young” monuments. Their protection has also shifted from solely preserving “old” values into a more holistic process to retain “old” values and manage the change in their adaptive reuse to gain “new” values, towards a more people-centered and landscape-based approach. Furthermore, a concept of ecosystem for urban planning and development is introduced, involving both the worlds of people, flora and fauna, and the sphere of spatial biography as well as other (in)tangible contexts, aiming to develop sustainable human habitats. The management of the change in human habitats as an ecosystem is built on the protection of place identity, which is the manifestation of historic urban landscape’s tangible and intangible attributes. Public participation is also recognized to be an important tool. To implement such a landscape-based approach, experts need to play an active role in promoting wide public participation while digital technologies open new ways for outreach, co-creation, and citizen-led decision-making platforms such as social media, (gamified) apps, and digital urban commons. Through public participation, local spatial biography can also be better identified, which extends people’s footprints from the community to local individuals at micro-scaled features within urban tissues. Finally, this article proposes recommendations for landscape architects to share the responsibilities of urban planners and heritage professionals, integrating heritage management into long-term sustainable urban development.


The work entitled “A Landscape-based Approach to Urban Heritage Management: People, Spatial Biography, and Ecosystem” was published on the journal of Landscape Architecture Frontiers.


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