World Monuments 2010 list ranges from dockyards to cave art

2010 Watch List calls attention to 93 global heritage sites at risk.

Alfredo Sosa/The Christian Science Monitor
Machu Picchu in Peru is included in the World Monuments Fund's 2010 watch list of heritage sites that are at risk. The famous Incan ruins are inundated by tourists.

The World Monuments Fund's latest list of 93 endangered cultural heritage sites in 47 countries includes the unexpected: a dockyard, animal enclosures at a British zoo, rice terraces in the Philippines, five Scottish graveyards, and Connecticut’s Merritt Parkway.

The 2010 Watch List also includes Machu Picchu in Peru, Phajoding monastery in Bhutan, desert castles in Uzbekistan, traditional townhouses in Japan, the Suq al-Qaysariya in Bahrian, gingerbread houses in Haiti, petroglyphs in Pakistan, US buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and "the cultural landscape of Hadley, Mass."

Nine of the sites are in the US. One is little known: the Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in New Orleans, seriously damaged by hurricane Katrina. More famous is Taos Pueblo in New Mexico.

The places on the list -- from libraries and archaeological remains to forts and cave art –are threatened by urban sprawl and development, natural disasters, and neglect, says the nonprofit group dedicated to preserving global cultural heritage.

"Not all the sites on the Watch are in imminent danger," says Erica Avrami, WMF;s research and education director. "Many face challenges on the horizon, providing the opportunity to engage in dialogue and decision-making now, so as to avoid problems in the future."

What does this have to do with the environment? "Heritage conservation can be an effective tool for community development, economic growth, and sustainable land use," she adds.

Notes Bonnie Burnham, president of WMF: "The 2010 Watch makes it clear that the cultural heritage efforts in the 21st century must recognize the critical importance of sustainable stewardship."

She also told AFP that the common factor linking the places on the latest list is "places that define and enrich our lives and our environment -- and our world wouldn't be the same without them."

Bloomberg reports that Ms. Burnham also said:

The sites on the 2010 Watch list make a dramatic case for the need to bring together a variety of sectors -- economic, environmental, heritage-preservation and social -- when we are making plans that will affect us all.

Here's the complete 2010 list, with excellent links to why the sites are included. The group has been issuing these lists every two years since 1996, with some success at not only calling attention to places at risk but helping alleviate the dangers. Here's a list of previous watch sites.

Editor’s note: For more articles about the environment, see the Monitor’s main environment page, which offers information on many environment topics. Also, check out our Bright Green blog archive and our RSS feed.

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