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UNESCO management plan, Bruges



UNESCO listed the inner city of Bruges as a World Heritage site in 2000. Nine years later, the city asked for a new strategic plan in order to optimize the management of the World Heritage site. On the one hand this comprised a revision of the actual spatial planning policy, on the other hand this required a new vision on managing such a valuable historic city centre. In the plan, a new vision on heritage was developed, but always referring to sustainable and contemporary city development and urban growth. Preservation and development need to be equal partners.


In a first research phase, a complete analysis of the evolutions the city underwent since the drafting of the first spatial planning documents in the 1970’s was carried out. Different urban issues were considered: housing, social cohesion, economy, mobility, education, tourism,… In a parallel analysis the unique qualities of the city were assessed; the movable and immovable heritage, the urban dynamics and the actual policy and decision making processes were researched and evaluated.


As a result of this analysis, a SWOT-analysis led to concrete recommendations and specific attention points. This resulted in a general model for urban development of the World Heritage site and its wider context. Zooming in on the World Heritage site, a second model, specifically targeting at the issues of preservation and conservation, was elaborated.


Both the analysis and the models for urban development served as basis for the actual management plan. This management plan took into consideration the "operational guidelines" as drafted by UNESCO. It acknowledges the outstanding universal value of the site and offers scenarios for management. In order to have full support of the different stakeholders, the plan was thoroughly discussed with all stakeholders.


Client: City of Bruges

In collaboration with: Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation, KULeuven



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