Since the 1970s sustainability has evolved as a significant mode of thought in nearly every field of intellectual activity. In 1992 the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro brought the ideas of sustainability and development to the forefront of global politics.
For historic resources— whether a cultural landscape, town, building, or work of art— which cannot be physically regenerated but only retained, modified, or lost, sustainability means ensuring the continuing contribution of heritage to the present through the thoughtful management of change responsive to the historic environment.
This volume brings together contributions from specialists in a wide range of fields— archaeology, architecture, conservation and management, city and regional planning, anthropology, biology, economics— who examine issues of sustainability as they relate to heritage conservation. The topics range in scale from individual buildings and sites to cities, landscapes, and other historic environments. The volume offers a global perspective and demonstrates that conservation must be a dynamic process, involving public participation, dialogue, consensus, and, ultimately, better stewardship. Through its dual focus on theory and case studies, the book also makes an important contribution to the larger debate on quality of life and the environment.