Fairmount Water Works on the Schuylkill river in Philadelphia
Toward a Research and Action Agenda on Water and Heritage? A First Attempt at Refining Terminologies, Concepts and Priorities






Over the last several years, a variety of academic and professional partners have started to explore the relationship between water and heritage. A key challenge for communication and collaborative action in this important and growing field is a lack of shared terminologies, concepts and priorities. As water managers around the world look for inspiration from the past, heritage professionals focus on the protection of water-related sites and practices, historians explore continuities and spatial planners anticipate future needs. As a result, the future-oriented field of water management, the preservation-focused interests of heritage, and the analytical or design-oriented fields struggle to intersect, as do professional practice and academic analysis. A closer investigation of the respective interests and thematic foci of each group involved in the water and heritage field is much needed. Such an investigation needs to start with a clarification of goals, terms and concepts of both water and heritage in order to clarify different research agendas and to facilitate collective action.

How to Cite

Hein, C. (2023). Toward a Research and Action Agenda on Water and Heritage? A First Attempt at Refining Terminologies, Concepts and Priorities. Blue Papers, 2(1), 22–33. https://doi.org/10.58981/bluepapers.2023.1.02





challenges, concepts and new approaches


ICOMOS. 2017. Delhi Declaration on Heritage and Democracy. https://www.icomos.org/en/resources/ charters-and-texts.

Miles, James, and Lindsay Gibson. 2022. “Rethinking Presentism in History Education.” Theory & Research in Social Education 50, no. 4 (2022): 509–29.

Karim Nawaz. 2022. “’Catch the Flood Before it Catch- es You’: Spate Irrigation in Arid Regions of Pakistan.” Blue Papers vol.1 issue 2 (2022): 32–41. https://blue- papers.nl/index.php/bp/article/view/26.

Steinmetz-Jenkins, Daniel. 2020. “Beyond the End of History: Historians’ Prohibition on ‘Presentism’ Crumbles under the Weight of Events.” Chronicle of Higher Education (14 August 2020).

UNESCO. n.d. “Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.” Accessed 18 March 2022. https://whc.unesco.org/en/conventiontext/.

UNESCO. 2022. Basic Texts of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. 2022 ed. Paris: Intangible Cultural Heritage Section Sector for Culture.

UNESCO 2023a The United Nations World Water Development Report 2021 VALUING WATER, https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000375724.

UNESCO. 2023b. “Ir.D.F. Woudagemaal (D.F. Wouda Steam Pumping Station).” https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/867.

UNESCO. 2023c. “Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout.” https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/818.

UNESCO. 2023d. “Seventeenth-Century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht.” https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1349/.