Definition-is the assessment of consequences (positive and negative) and identifying, predicting, evaluating the effects of a plan, policy, program, or actual projects prior to the decision to move forward with the proposed actionTypes of heritage impact assessment/History-The types of impact assessments include global assessments (global level), policy impact assessment (policy level) and environmental assessment (project level).-Impact assessment evolved during the 1960s in response to growing public interest in theprotection of the environment from the consequences of development, using models andapproaches from the natural sciences, particularly ecology. The aim was to empower theenvironment in decision-making and development planning. The success of the impactassessment model as a planning tool since the beginning of the sustainable developmentdebate of the 1970s led to its wider application, including applications to heritage.
It wasfirst applied to archaeological resources of known importance that were threatened withdestruction due to infrastructure development projects. Impact assessment applied toarchaeological and other cultural heritage resources is now gaining universal acceptance asan essential development planning and heritage management tool.Heritage Impact Assessment-is a systematic process of identifying the probable results of a proposed policy or action on the cultural heritage of a place and its communities.-In recent years the UNESCO World Heritage Committee has addressed related to threats to World Heritage properties from various forms of large-scale development. These developments include roads, bridges, tall buildings, “box” buildings (e.
g. malls), inappropriate, acontextual or insensitive developments, renewals, demolitions and new infrastructure typologies like wind farms, as well as land-use policy changes and large scale urban frameworks. The Committee has also examined threats from excessive or inappropriate tourism. Many of these projects have hadthe potential to impact adversely on the appearance, skyline, key views and other differentattributes that contribute to Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). In order for the ICOMOS and the Committee to evaluate satisfactorily these potential threats, there is a need to be specific about the impacts of proposed changes on OUV.
Importance of HIA-HIA provides the methodology to safeguard the integrity of heritage resources in the face ofthese threats from development, or other scenarios of external change; to negotiate asustainable balance between the forces of change, progress and conservation in ways thatmaintain the authenticity of the threatened heritage, preserving its significance, meaning,and function in the life of the community; and to mitigate the adverse impacts ofdevelopment and change, enhancing and adding value to the heritage as a result.-It also ensures the continuity and continued relevance of culture in the community and protects significance of heritage assets from exploitation, misuse and degradation as a result of change.-The development of new and diverse applications of HIA to deal with “real world heritage problems such as HIA of adaptive reuse proposals for historic properties; to evaluate the sustainability of tourism at heritage places.
-Importantly, HIA has been adopted reflectively to assess the impacts of proposed or ongoingheritage conservation projects, which often pose a grave threat to heritage.What is assessed?-There are different definitions of what Cultural Heritage should be assessed in an HIA. Tangible, immoveable heritage is the main focus especially nationally and internationally protected heritage.
Intangible heritage, however, is not considered in the HIA processes of international funding agencies and many national frameworks.-Some systems recommend that given constraints of time and money, assessment shouldfocus on the most significant impacts in order of priority; the problem with this approachis one of sequence where someone has to identify what are the “most significant impacts” before the impact assessment itself is carried out. This concept is dangerous as it implies that only high-profile, legally protected and well defined “used” resources need focused protection.Resources which have legal protection and/or international recognition are guaranteed to receive attention, while the undocumented areas of archaeological and heritage potential are ignored. Most frameworks provide no guidance on how to find them and instead rely at best on “chance finds”.Important players and what they do-Because HIA is integrated into larger strategic plans and development projects, there areplayers at a number of different levels. There are those who decide whether or not aproposed project needs a HIA, those who write the scope and tender documents, specialistswho actually implement the HIA, reviewers who assess the HIA and approve the project,and finally, those who implement and then monitor mitigation measures.
-It is agreed upon that professional input into this complex process is essential, butapproaches differ on the degree of such input and at what stage it should be required.Some apply strict vetting and listing of professional qualifications while others work on theunderlying assumption that a HIA will not be carried out by cultural heritage professionals atall. It is accepted that in the majority of cases it be carried out by someone who isappointed to be the heritage generalist.
He/she will come from some other background, andwill most likely be covering heritage on a part-time basis while still being responsible fortheir own discipline. Cultural heritage practitioners are consulted but not integrated intocultural heritage identification and safeguarding except in “exceptional cases” . As a result, there is a risk that poorly informed decisions at the early stages of the HIA will negate later findings and compromise the effectiveness of the whole process.Obstacle-This development of varied approaches and methods of HIA for different agendas has enriched the practice but has also resulted in methodological confusion and mixed standards of implementation and reporting.
Guidance to help deal with this situation is very sophisticated including international principles, guidance from international organizations, guidance for specific types of heritage, from countries where HIA is part of the EIA process, and for specific types of development. The targeted users vary from site managers to consultant practitioners, government heritage authorities and funding banks. All state the importance of safeguarding heritage, or at least of tangible heritage, and urge the inclusion of cultural heritage into the formal EIA process.Now-Looking at these adaptations of HIA informs us regarding the current state of practice andreveals a great deal about the potential of the methodology and how it can be furtherdeveloped. At the national and regional levels worldwide work continues on settingstandards and procedures for HIA. ICCROM has been focusing on the development ofmethodology for HIA in its many applications, working for example in Asia with the AsianAcademy for Heritage Management (AAHM, online) and the World Heritage Institute forTraining and Research in Asia and the Pacific (WHITRAP) on training and manuals for globaluse. Similarly, ICOMOS has prepared guidance specifically for the use of HIA at WorldHeritage properties (ICOMOS, 2011) and the World Bank continues to refine their safeguardpolicies using impact assessment procedures and approaches.
-In recent years there has been a growing interest in developing the theoretical underpinningof HIA. HIA can be seen as one of a suite of tools that help support more sustainabledecision making and planning, but there is a wide range of views as to how effective it canbe from a theoretical point of view. HIA like EIA was built upon the rationalist model that ifwe provide better and more information to decision makers then they will inevitably makebetter and more rational decisions. This is clearly contrary to political and social reality.Current research and critique of HIA is focusing on these issues and on how to expand,reinforce and develop the scope of HIA (Roders & van Oers, 2012).