Norwegian cultural heritage management is known for its leading role with regards to in-situ preservation of archaeological deposits and protection of individual monuments and sites. However, Norwegian urban surface- and groundwater management is internat ionally lagging behind on implementation of innovative sustainable solutions as well as improvement of legislative issues. This also leads to tension in local planning systems, especially in urban areas.
Cultural heritage protection can often be related to water. Either water as a preserving agent of vulnerable organic deposits or foundations, or water as a factor that may stabilise or destabilise the ground that bears our buildings and monuments. Cultural heritage protection is therefore often related t o surface -and groundwater management. This poses a threat, certainly in view of climate change and the current need to adaptation in urban water systems. The challenge is to enhance urban water management practise, and integrate cultural heritage managem ent early in urban land- and water planning processes to avoid loss of cultural values. By facilitating this integration, Urban WATCH will contribute in safeguarding vulnerable cultural heritage above and below the ground against possible threats from a c ontinuously changing urban environment, also in light of climate change.
Urban WATCH will develop and test new research-based environmental monitoring and assessment methods, as well as develop multi-disciplinary management strategies and guidelines to e ncourage real sustainable urban land- and water management in a changing urban environment.
In the urban landscape, vulnerable cultural heritage is literally and socially, an integral part of the foundation for value creation and vital inner cities. Ther efore, the project addresses not only the challenges, but also the possibilities for developing effective strategies for realizing sustainable development at the local level with an emphasis on planning processes.