IFLA: Cultural Landscapes Committee

inventory > introduction

Inventory of Cultural Landscapes

An inventory of the valued cultural landscapes of a town, city, region, country or multi-national area is an important first step in protection. An inventory begins a process of broader recognition and protection that the IFLA CLC is encouraging. While many countries and regions have been carrying out cultural landscape inventory efforts for decades, others have just begun. Some of those who have made progress on inventory efforts are contributing to the Best Practices in this website to advance this important work by submitting a project summary. In 1996 ICOMOS issued principles (see ICOMOS-Principles for Recording Cultural Heritage pdf) on recording cultural heritage noting the following reasons for documentation:

The recording of the cultural heritage is essential:

  • To acquire knowledge in order to advance the understanding of cultural heritage, its values and its evolution;
  • To promote the interest and involvement of the people in the preservation of the heritage through the dissemination of recorded information;
  • To permit informed management and control of construction works and of all change to the cultural heritage;
  • To ensure that the maintenance and conservation of the heritage is sensitive to its physical form, its materials, construction, and its historical and cultural significance.

Recording should be undertaken to an appropriate level of detail in order to provide:

  • Information for the process of identification, understanding, interpretation and presentation of the heritage, and to promote the involvement of the public;
  • A permanent record of all monuments, groups of buildings and sites that are to be destroyed or altered in any way, or where at risk from natural events or human activities;
  • Information for administrators and planners at national, regional or local levels to make sensitive planning and development control policies and decisions;
  • Information upon which appropriate and sustainable use may be identified, and the effective research, management, maintenance programs and construction works may be planned.

Recording of the cultural heritage should be seen as a priority, and should be undertaken especially:

  • When compiling a national, regional, or local inventory;
  • As a fully integrated part of research and conservation activity;
  • Before, during and after any works of repair, alteration, or other intervention, and when evidence of its history is revealed during such works;
  • When total or partial demolition, destruction, abandonment or relocation is contemplated, or where the heritage is at risk of damage from human or natural external forces;
  • During or following accidental or unforeseen disturbance which damages the cultural heritage;
  • When change of use or responsibility for management or control occurs.
All of these very sound reasons apply to the inventory of cultural landscapes of heritage value.

The preservation of historic gardens depends on their identification and listing.

ICOMOS Florence Charter, 1981