Research and Teaching on Historic Urban Landscapes

UNESCO Chair on Historic Urban Landscapes and Heritage Impact Assessments

The UNESCO Chair on Historic Urban Landscapes and Heritage Impact Assessments was established by UNESCO decision in April 2022 at RheinMain University of Applied Sciences in the Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering. It is the only UNESCO Chair in Hesse and the only UNESCO Chair at a university of applied sciences in Germany. The chairholder is Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Kloos.

Definition of Historic Urban Landscape

The contextual research and teaching framework of the UNESCO Chair on Historic Urban Landscapes and Heritage Impact Assessments is the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape adopted by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 2011. This statement (36 C / Resolution 41, 2011) is based on the recognition of the multi-layered nature of urban World Heritage sites and incorporates tangible as well as intangible values. The term "historic center" or "ensemble" is expanded to include urban contextualization: open spaces and gardens, visual references, economic, social and cultural processes are included. Literally, it states:

„The historic urban landscape is the urban area defined as the result of a historic layering of cultural and natural values and attributes, extending beyond the notion of ‘historic centre’ or ‘ensemble’, to include the broader urban context or geographical setting. This wider context includes notably the site’s topography, geomorphology, hydrology and natural features, its built environment, both historic and contemporary, its infrastructures above and below ground, its open spaces and gardens, its land use patterns and spatial organization, perceptions and visual relationships, as well as all other elements of the urban structure. It also includes social and cultural practices and values, economic processes and the intangible dimensions of heritage as related to diversity and identity.“ (UNESCO, 2011)


  • 2022: Kloos, Michael. Cultural Landscape Compatibility Study Upper Middle Rhine Valley – A Proactive Tool for Preventive Monitoring of Complex World Heritage Landscapes, in: Albert, Marie-Theres et al. (Eds.): 50 Years World Heritage Convention: Shared Responsibility – Conflict & Reconciliation, Springer, Cham, Switzerland
  • 2021: Ashrafi, Baharak., Neugebauer, C., Kloos, M. “A Conceptual Framework for Heritage Impact Assessment: A Review and Perspective” Sustainability 2022, 14, 27. Verfügbar unter: https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010027
  • 2021: Ashrafi, B. Kloos, M. Neugebauer, C. (2020). „Heritage Impact Assessment, beyond an Assessment Tool: A comparative analysis of urban development impact on visual integrity in four UNESCO World Heritage Properties”. Elsevier Ltd, Journal of Cultural Heritage. Volume 47, Pages 199-207, ISSN 1296-2074. Verfügbar unter: [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.culher.2020.08.002]
  • 2020: Mohsehni, Farnaz, Kloos, Michael and Weidner, Silke: A Historical Analysis and the Identification of Driving Forces behind the Evolution of the Urban Macro Skyline of Shiraz in Iran. Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development
  • 2020: Kloos, Michael und Abrihan, Cristian: Leitbild für das Bauen im Weltkulturerbe Wachau. Veröffentlicht in: Mitteilungen aus Niederösterreich Nr. 6/2020: Die Wachau. 20 Jahre UNESCO-Welterbe, St. Pölten2020
  • 2020: Kloos, Michael: Historic Urban Landscapes and Heritage Impact Assessments. Beitrag KNUCH International Conference South Korea – Sustainable Conservation of Cultural Heritage, 2020 Korean National University for Cultural Heritage (KNUCH)
  • 2020: Kloos, Michael: Kulturregionen managen am Beispiel des Welterbes Oberes Mittelrheintal, in: Mitteilungen des Rheinischen Vereins für Denkmalpflege, 2020

Theses and PhD projects

  • Ashrafi, B. Towards an Integrated Heritage Impact Assessment Methodology in the Context of Sustainable Urban Development
  • Al-Absi, Muhammad Fathi Hasan. Developing a framework for sustainable and resilient land-use development in world heritage properties' buffer zones
  • Mohseni, F. Safeguarding Visual Aspects of Historic Urban Landscape through integrating Heritage Management with Urban Planning. The case of Shiraz / Iran

Lectures at RhineMain University of Applied Sciences


  • Cultural Heritage in International Context
  • Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for World Cultural Heritage Properties



  • History of Urbanism
  • Special Areas of History of Architecture II 
  • Strategies in Built Heritage Conservation

Lectures and Trainings at International and National Events

  • 08.-13.10.23: HERILAND -International course for European students in Amsterdam (Blended Intensive Learning Programme, funded by Erasmus +) Organised jointly with the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, University of Gothenburg and RheinMain University of Applied Sciences. Offered as an elective in the BKE degree programme and is to be anchored in our Master's curriculum in the future.

  • UNESCO Chair of RheinMain University of Applied Sciences taking part in the Conference on Protecting Historic Cities and Landscapes, Mantua UNESCO Chair, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

  • 11.-12.09.23: RWTH Aachen - Lecture at the UNESCO Symposium International Cultural Heritage and Urban Transformation
  • 23.08.23: Lecture as part of a visit by Chinese students from Tongji University at RheinMain University of Applied Sciences as part of a Summer School
  • 05.07.23: Federal Foreign Office Berlin: Training event on impact assessments for site managers of German UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • 23.05.23: Universiteit Antwerpen / Belgium: Guest lecture in the Heritage Studies programme
  • 26.05.23: Heritap Chat - Tongji University Shanghai, China: Online course on impact assessments for professionals and site managers
  • 11.05.23: Biebrich Palace / Wiesbaden: Lecture on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the AG Städtebauliche Denkmalpflege
  • 30.01-03.02.2023: Lecture and participation in - SAH - Sustainability for Architectural Heritage, advanced training week, Aachen, RWTH Aachen University
  • 24.11.22: Prague: Guest lecture at an international conference on the 30th anniversary of the World Heritage status of the city of Prague
  • HERILAND - a pan-European research and training network on cultural heritage in relation to Spatial Planning and Design



Resilience and Urban Heritage

Bursa / Turkey, 10.04.2024Workshop on Heritage Impact Assessments in Bursa
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HERILAND Workshop in Amsterdam: Focus on cultural heritage and sustainability

Amsterdam / Netherlands, 06.11.2023 – Students from Rhein Main University of Applied Sciences took part in a European cultural heritage workshop in Amsterdam as part of a Blended Intensive Learning Programme (BIP).
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Sustainability and resilience: annual conference of the UNESCO Chairs

Erlangen/Nuremberg, 09.10.2023 – RheinMain University of Applied Sciences UNESCO Chair Joins Annual Conference of German UNESCO Chairs Hosted by Erlangen UNESCO Chair in Digital Culture and Arts in Education, Nuremberg

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Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Kloos

Email: unescochair-fab(at)hs-rm.de
Phone: +49 611 9495-1414

Baharak Ashrafi (M.A.)
Research assistant and PhD candidate

E-mail: Baharak.Ashrafi(at)hs-rm.de

Safeguarding cultural heritage in urban agglomerations is an interdisciplinary task per se. This interdisciplinary approach is also expressed by the fact that eight other colleagues from various degree programs in the Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering are integrated into the concept of the UNESCO Chair. This combines the existing know-how for research and provides new ideas for teaching and international cooperation.