The International Conference on Fortified Heritage: Management and Sustainable Development aims to be a forum for debate on the preservation and civic integration of built military heritage. While often forgotten and neglected, many defensive structures offer a great opportunity to transform the spaces they occupy into revitalising focal points of city life through their restoration and the implementation of functional improvements in accommodation, facilities and accessibility.
Attending the conference will be many international experts with an interest in sharing their experiences of cities engaged in transferring and integrating into civic life structures that had previously served a defensive purpose. The conservation of their military heritage (buildings, landscape, urban fabric, etc.) is of great importance as for many cities it represents a badge of identity.
Subjects to be covered range from restoration and conservation techniques and methods to the social and economic impact of conservation, or the opportunity that military monuments offer to tourist, sociocultural and other urban sectors.
The presentation of solutions from diverse sites will familiarise attendees with different approaches that have come under consideration and thus enable them to study and compare a wide variety of best practices.
The problems and opportunities are common to many sites and landscape environments in the different regions and countries. It is our intention that the topics for debate and the papers presented at the conference emphasise these common features while at the same time helping to share international experiences in transforming and adaptating defensive structures and complexes to civic ends.
The aim is for the military monument to be regarded as more than just a memorial or cultural reference point, or even a mere place or object. Defensive heritage is moving towards broader and more ambitious scenarios where it typically becomes an opportunity to drive forward economic or leisure activities. Co-operation between cities and countries, such as the Fortius project set up by Pamplona and Bayonne, represents an opportunity to share knowledge and experience, and also to undertake joint upgrading and promotion initiatives that serve to boost their heritage potential.
The need to achieve sustainable development will be discussed in all its aspects (environmental, economic, social and cultural), entailing questions related to upkeep and conservation, as well as the necessity for a management plan (short, medium and long term) that is responsive to the needs and aspirations of the community.
These days, heritage conservation and safeguarding, especially with defensive structures, faces new and complex problems. Their physical degradation is not just a consequence of the ageing of the materials or the action of the environment. Among other factors, pollution, climate change, poverty, religion, tourism, commercial exploitation and ideology are now at the forefront of new approaches, preoccupations and visions emerging around the theme.
Part of the project known as Fortius: tourist and cultural enhancement of the fortified heritage of Pamplona and Bayonne, this conference is directed at researchers, architects, town planners, landscape gardeners, historians, sociologists, economists, government employees and others working in the field of heritage and the city.