A new UNESCO Chair on Water, Ports and Historic Cities has been created in the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus university consortium, working closely with the LDE PortCityFutures Centre. Professor Carola Hein has been appointed as Chair holder.
The mission of the Chair is to advance investigation on cultural heritage in relation to water and ports and contribute to solving contemporary challenges by exploring the deep history of water, heritage and ports in the context of space and society. The Chair will strengthen awareness of the socio-spatial interconnectedness of water and urban heritage and raise awareness of role of historic water and port related structures for sustainable development. It will develop methods that allow for the exploration of history, including through big data, to understand the historical interconnections between water and heritage and between ports and cities by building a database of existing water and port-related World Heritage sites that can be used in open access publications, education and public information. The Chair’s exploration will become the foundation for training at multiple levels, including bachelor and master's level education, professional education, summer schools and open online education. The Chair aims to facilitate transdisciplinary cooperation among international scholars and UNESCO Chairs as well as associations in the water, port, history and urban heritage fields through events and diverse activities. It aims to create greater awareness of the linkages between spatial, institutional and cultural developments and to disseminate findings to both academic and general public. The Chair will use the understanding gained through these methodologies and through collaborations with partners on the relationship between water and urban heritage for the application, refining and use of the UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape in design projects, including for pilot projects around the Mediterranean. It will cooperate closely with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the World Heritage Cities Programme, and other related UNESCO Chairs on relevant programmes and activities.