Francesco Bandarin is an Italian architect and urbanist specialising in Urban Conservation. From 2000 to 2010, he was director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. From 2010 to 2018, he served as Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Culture, currently advisor to ICCROM and the Aga Khan
As Director of the World Heritage Centre, Francesco Bandarin was responsible for the implementation of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and, to that end, coordinated institutional activities relating to the inscription of sites on the World Heritage List.
Francesco Bandarin also advocated for the conservation of urban heritage in a broader sense. During his tenure as Assistant Director-General, the UNESCO Culture Sector spearheaded initiatives which helped to establish culture as a sustainability issue in and of itself.
In 2014, he served as President of the Jury of the Venice Biennale of Architecture. In 2019 and 2020, he chaired the World Judges Panel for the Prix Versailles.
Keynote Title: Urban heritage: a test for conservation
Urban heritage is a relatively late comer in the field of heritage conservation, as it is only in the 1960’s-1970’s that historic cities started being the subject of heritage conservation policies. While in most cases physical conservation policies were successful, they proved completely unable to face the market forces that have pushed for gentrification processes and mass touristization of historic areas. Citizens and local governments’ reactions to this situation have developed in recent years, albeit with limited results. The state of affairs calls for a critical reflection on the nature of urban heritage, its perspective in view of the intense urbanization processes underway in many regions of the world.