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A  P  P  E  N   D  I  X

International Charter for the Protection of Historic Towns,

as adopted 1988 by the International Commission on Monuments and Sites

(reproduced in: Conservation and the City, by Peter J. Larkham, London 1996)

I. Definitions

1. 'Historic towns' and 'historic districts' will be defined as all groups buildings and space that comprise human settlements and whose unity and integration into the landscape endows them with historic, artistic, architectural, urbanistic or scientific value. Such values exist irrespective of the period and the culture that gave birth to them and do not depend on the manner of their construction, which may have been planned or spontaneous. A historic town may comprise one or more historic districts. As living entities, and subject to cultural, economic and social evolution, historic towns and districts must inevitably change, as they have done in the past.

2. 'Protection' will be defined as all actions necessary for preserving a historic town or district and promoting its harmonious evolution. This action includes identification, conservation, restoration, rehabilitation, maintenance and revitalization.


II. General principles and objectives

3. The principles set forth in the Venice Charter apply to historic towns and districts as long as it is understood that the priority objective of protection is rehabilitation.

4. The protection of historic towns and districts should be part of a coherent policy of economic and social development and of town planning as well. Protection must recognize the diversities in settings, cultures and economic development in the urban area, the region and the country concerned.

5. The protection of historic towns and districts must satisfy the needs and aspirations of residents. It must not only meet the demands of contemporary life, but also assure the preservation of cultural and architectural values.

6. The success of a protection plan depends on the participation of the residents, which must begin as soon as preliminary studies are undertaken and continue throughout the protection process.

7. Districts must not be cut off from one another, and a historic district must be linked to other districts by visible integration and through a clear definition of its role.

8. Wherever possible, local life styles should be preserved and encouraged. New uses of space and new activities should be compatible with those already existing, and the creation of 'museum' towns and districts destined only for tourists must be avoided. The rights and aspirations of the population must be respected, as its social and economic activities often depend on the organization of the setting.

9. In a historic town or district the following physical features are to be preserved:

a) form and shape, including the distribution of buildings, their height, mass and overall appearance, as well as the general character of the streets and squares and their layout, the rhythm of space and the distribution of land parcels;

b) urban fabric, meaning the connections between different districts and the road network;

c) the overall aspect of the town depending on the angle from which it is viewed, the relationship of masses, perspectives from within the town including breakaway views;

d) the harmonious relationship between the buildings and the natural setting, which, together, form a single landscape;

e) the specific quality of the historic town or district as reflected in the contributions made by various cultures to the architectural heritage of the ensemble;

f) works of symbolic value such as town halls, towers, archaeological monuments, etc.;

g) fortifications (walls, ramparts, towers, bastions, gates, etc.);

h) connections with historic monuments that are located outside a historic town or district;

i) the other elements that lend the townscape its specific character, such as construction materials, colours, roofs and inner courts and all decorative elements (statues, grilles, the pavement, street furniture, etc.);

j) parks, gardens and open spaces, and bodies of water or streams;

k) traditional institutions and centres that contribute to cultural and social life, including universities, places of worship, markets, shopping districts, public promenades;

l) traditional crafts and business activities that are basic to the community's cultural identity and daily life.


III. Actions and methods

10. Planning for the protection of historic towns and districts must be a multidisciplinary effort involving a wide range of professionals and specialists, including archaeologists, art historians, architects, town planners, restorers, photogrammeters, civil, structural, traffic and soil mechanics engineers, jurists, sociologists, economists, etc.

11. When a historic town or district is located within a larger urban or metropolitan area, the plan for the historic area should be integrated into town, metropolitan and regional plans by determining the principal function and role of the heritage and values to be protected.

12. The protection plan must clearly set forth the principal line of action, but it must be flexible enough to allow for changes in life styles and provision should be made for periodic review of the plan.

13. Rehabilitation must aim at improving housing, sanitation systems necessary public utilities. It should aim at increasing employment opportunities and promoting new economic activities, as well as encouraging those traditional activities compatible with the role and function of the area and its values as determined beforehand.

14. Wherever possible, demolition in historic towns or districts must be avoided. If new buildings are necessary their architecture should be harmonious with the historic town or district's existing scale, character, buildings and construction materials. They must also be compatible with the town or quarter as originally conceived and they should add to the enhancement of the area. Concern for harmony must determine the choice of supports, cables, antennas and signs, as well as street furniture and pavement.

15. If integration of new districts within historic towns or districts is difficult to achieve, and if there is a risk that new buildings are not compatible, consideration should be given to the creation of transition zones, possibly composed of green belts.

16. The road network must be located outside the area while providing access to it. New roads must be compatible with the townscape. Solutions must be imagined to resolve the contradictory demands of traffic and the values to be preserved. Pedestrian zones and public transport must be favoured and parking facilities should be planned outside the district or even the agglomeration.

17. Historic towns and districts must be protected against the pollution, noise, shocks and vibrations caused especially by traffic. Preventive measures must be taken to protect the ensembles against the consequences of natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods.

18. Legislative or administrative measures must be enacted in order to provide the protection plan with the legal force necessary for rapid and efficient action. An administrative mechanism must be set up to assure financial support for the protection plan.


IV. Social participation

19. The rehabilitation of a historic town or district must satisfy present needs and aspirations and meet those of the future, especially social demands. Social and economic measures must be taken to encourage the residents to remain in the town or district concerned.

20. The residents must be informed and their interest in the protection process awakened so that their participation will stimulate the efforts of public authorities. Technical and financial assistance must be available to encourage action on the part of the residents and reduce the inconveniences of the protection process.

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