Budapest Proposals

The participants of the Integrated Urban Conservation Training Workshop [ICCROM] and Urban Archaeology Seminar for World Heritage cities of Central and Eastern Europe assembled in Budapest and in Noszvaj, Hun-gary during the period June 18-24, 2000, concerned that the contribution of heritage to urban quality of life has not been fully integrated to the development of Hungary and the region in which it is situated, agree to the following points.

  • Identity and human development. Our urban heritage is an irreplaceable source not only of identity, but of mutual respect and social inclusion in human development. Efforts to strengthen care for the sources of this identity offer significant comparative advantages in economic development for Hungary and the countries of the region in the context of European integration. As a consequence, urban conservation deserves to be placed at the highest levels within political agendas. If developed with the active and equal involvement of all stakeholders throughout the process, the urban heritage can become the most important force available in the region for strengthening identity in the context of globalisation.
  • World Heritage sites and critical moment for competitiveness. The presence of urban World Heritage sites in the region of Central and Eastern Europe confers additional competitiveness in regional development. Therefore, these sites offer critically important opportunities to develop and test models of best conservation practice. In developing these models, it would be important for urban World Heritage sites to develop innovative management systems through planning processes involving impact assessment analysis in key areas of conservation and developement interest. The numerous institutional changes, the contradictions found in rapidly emerging legal and administrative frameworks, and the limited financial means in the region accompanying efforts to participate in the political unification of Europe demand a fully integrated approach to improving conditions for urban conservation if competitiveness of the cities of the region in the unified Europe is to be achieved.
  • Community development and nature of urban heritage. As an essential aspect of the quality of life, urban heritage cannot be viewed separately from other aspects of community development. Our urban heritage must also be understood as multi-faceted, including all those features, spatial patterns, functions, traditions and skills that contribute to and define the sense of character of historic places. As a consequence, conservation efforts must be directed not just to the monuments or special features of historic urban environments but to all the sources of significance, tangible and intangible, and must involve all those stakeholders for whom these sources hold meaning. In this regard, archaeological resources, as well as other urban heritage, constitute an essential source of understanding in historic cities. Being often overlooked in city development, the care and management of this source merit special attention and full integration within urban planning and development processes.
  • Decision-making and stakeholders. In line with the objectives of Agenda 21, decision-making and authority for heritage as for all other municipal interests, is best localed as close as possible to those affected by the decisions. Commitment to this principle may ultimately require a significant devolution of responsibility and resources from national levels to regional and local levels, while maintaining policy frameworks, research and
    documentation capacity, and conservation standards and principles at national levels. At all levels, effective urban conservation demands an integrated approach, involving the fullest inter-sectoral and inter-disciplinary collaboration in exploring development options. Without bringing together heritage experts, developers, investors and lenders, community groups and residents, and public administrators and managers in order to increase understanding of each others’ legitimate interests and objectives and their ability to work toward mutually acceptable forms of urban development, conservation efforts will remain fragmented and ineffective.

(The workshop and the seminar have been stood under the patronage of two Hungarian ministries.)