Going Beyond pp 161-173 | Cite as

Shaken Cityscapes: Tangible and Intangible Urban Heritage in Kathmandu, Nepal, and Yogyakarta, Indonesia

  • Simone SandholzEmail author
Part of the Heritage Studies book series (HEST)


Many cities around the globe (still) comprise of historic fabric, particularly in the urban core areas. Very often intangible values, such as beliefs, events, habits or rituals, are intrinsically linked with it. This paper argues that urban heritage constitutes a crucial source of identity for present urban inhabitants, an important factor for sustainable and resilient urban development. Traditional Asian planning and architecture are not only linked to strong cosmological beliefs but at the same time a manifestation of craftsmanship skills and construction techniques. Such local wisdom comprises, among other things, knowledge of appropriate building technologies to withstand natural hazards—an aspect linking conservation and (disaster) resilience.

This paper analyses the cities of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and Kathmandu, Nepal, two iconic places within their national borders which—still—comprise of impressive urban tangible and intangible heritage. At the same time, both cities are prone to different natural hazards and have suffered severe earthquakes within recent years. After assessing the potential urban heritage has for risk reduction, ranging from physical assets like regular community-based maintenance to making use of cultural expressions for awareness raising, conclusions are drawn regarding the contributions of heritage for urban resilience. Reference is also made to the Historic Urban Landscape approach, as it is linking different aspects and layers of the city, with a potential to establish more sustainable recovery processes.


Kathmandu Nepal Yogyakarta Indonesia Asian urban heritage Historic city centres Intangible heritage Urban change Disaster risk Risk reduction 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)BonnGermany

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