Documenting Heritage for Climate Change: Inventories as Memory Tools
Recent studies have shown that previous assessments about the vulnerability of coastal regions due to flooding through climate change were based on old and unreliable datasets, and that the reality that coastal communities will face in the very near future is much more difficult. Flooding at the scale that is predicted is not simply a matter of resources, and major, dense cities will simply disappear. Such events will induce large-scale migration events and can challenge political stability or induce conflict.
The implications of these apocalyptic scenarios for heritage (both built heritage, as well as collections housed in archives, libraries and museums) are dire. National registers and inventories can aid in documenting what might be lost under water, fire, or conflict, and help in preserving the memory of sites and objects for future generations. Digitization of archival collections or 3D rendering of heritage sites are only partial solutions to address disasters, because they are slow, resource-intense, and vulnerable to environmental conditions. Inventories, done in a consistent, accurate and methodical way, can aid in rapid collection of information through the collaboration of the public and national authorities.
In this talk, I will discuss various approaches and strategies for documenting heritage to respond to challenges posed by climate change.