“Revisiting Kathmandu” is an international symposium on the conservation of living urban heritage. It takes place in the context of a rapidly changing understanding of heritage as a concept that does not only include monuments any more, but complex urban spaces, where people live, work, worship and celebrate festivals. As values and aspirations of society change, urban settlements must adapt and respond to this change.
The symposium will discuss on how to maintain the delicate balance between conserving what represents the intrinsic character and value of the historic city, while, at the same time, allowing for the change that is required for the city to continue to live.
Each day of the symposium, which will be opened in the evening of 25 November 2013, will discuss these issues around one specific theme: authenticity, community, management and disaster risk reduction. Each day’s programme will include a keynote speech, presentations of case studies, group work and discussions. Additionally, there will be various supporting activities and posters presented in the evenings.
The Kathmandu Valley is a highly relevant venue to discuss the four themes of the symposium for a variety of reasons. The Nara Document on Authenticity adopted in 1994 has its origins in the controversy that arose from the restoration methods employed on the I Baha Bahi courtyard monastery in the Kathmandu Valley and the discussions at the World Heritage Committee in 1993. The same controversy also led to a decade long discussion and to the inscription of Kathmandu Valley on the list of World Heritage in Danger in 2003. It was removed from the list in 2007 when the Integrated Management Plan was adopted by the Government of Nepal. The Plan is being reviewed with discussions on community involvement. At the same time, disaster risk management is being given high priority in the document, as the return-period for a large earthquake in the Valley is looming.