essential source and center for the promotion of music in Europe, are the key factors based on which it was inscribed as a WHS in 2001 (WHC UNESCO, 2001:41).
However, while keeping a foot in its past, Vienna has always had an eye on the future. It is a city that has not wanted to take a preservative approach to the management of its urban heritage – one which turns the city into a “museum” (Nowotny, 2009; City of Vienna, 2009: 28; City of Vienna, 2014:37). As illustrated by figure 17 and 18, through several strategic initiatives and instruments designed to monitor and guide development within the historic city, Vienna has been able to, in the past, conserve and integrate its historic urban fabric. It has demonstrated a stance that cities must adapt to changing times but, they should do this in a manner that least compromises the vast reserves of value that its unique heritage and culture bring (Schicker, 2009; Madreiter, 2014; Denscher, 2014; Zunke, 2014; Trisko, 2014; City of Vienna, 2014:52).
However, recent changes in legislation have contributed to rising concerns on the maintenance of this individuality and identity in the future. The new urban development plan (STEP 2025) has altered regulations – specifically, the clause on restricted high-rise zones part of the High-Rise Concept 2002, has been removed in the High-Rise Concept 2014. New constructions are now individually assessed to determine their feasibility and suitability (ICOMOS, 2015: 5-7). This has led to the development of another instance of contention between the local bodies and UNESCO – the proposal for the Vienna Ice Skating Club (est. 1899)/Intercontinental Hotel (built 1964) adjoining the Weiner Konzerthaus (built 1913) in Heumarkt. In 2013, the owners launched an international architectural competition whose brief was to reimagine the hotel and the plot used by the ice-skating club to develop a public space that was complementary to its context and integrated neighboring heritage zones like the Beethoven Platz, ‘Grunderzeit” buildings across the street and Weiner Konzerthaus.
The hotel was built before Vienna was inscribed as a WHS, and its scale and design was already deemed by advisory bodies as one which “strongly disturbed” (ICOMOS, 2014:1) the visual axis from the Belvedere Palace and its gardens. However, the winning design was one which proposed that the existing 45m high building be replaced by a 75m high one (Rasinger, 2017:104). The 2014 ICOMOS technical review found this solution “unacceptable” as, instead of reversing the negative visual impacts, it would only further diminish the authenticity and integrity of the historic skyline and, it “highly recommended” developing a “long-term policy Module 2 (0923294): Are Conservation and Development Mutually Exclusive in the Historic Urban Landscape? A Study of Liverpool and Vienna.
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to restore the integrity of this view step by step” (ICOMOS, 2014:1). Following this, UNESCO urged the City Council to revisit the proposal, halt granting consent to any other major developments in the WHS prior to consolidating the planning policy, and undertake Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) for all future high-rise proposals (WHC UNESCO, 2016:118-119). Negotiations have now resulted in the reduction of height of the tower to 66.3m (Rasinger, 2017:104). But, this is one of several proposals – a similar issue is also being negotiated since 2008 in the proposal for the Vienna Central Train Station (initially 100m high) (WHC UNESCO, 2008:110). In December 2017, the Austrian Ombusdman too declared that the proposed development in Heumarkt was a serious case of “maladministration” (Ombudsman, 2017). Figure 19: The Vienna Intercontinental Hotel buildings as seen from Lothringerstrasse (Source: Annexure V of the ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring Mission to the World Heritage Property “Historic City of Vienna” (Austria) (C1033),2015. Available at http://whc.unesco.org/document/140325)
In July 2017, dissatisfied by the HIA and visualisations of the Vienna Intercontinental Hotel/ Ice-Skating Club project proposal and the initiative taken by the local authorities to re-examine changes in governance and legislation like the High-Rise Concept 2014 and the Glacis Figure 21: CGI of the proposed Intercontinental Hotel buildings superimposed on an aerial view of the Historic City of Vienna (as seen from the North-East) to suggest the impact they will have on the city’s skyline (Source: Annexure V of the ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring Mission to the World Heritage Property “Historic City of Vienna” (Austria) (C1033),2015. Available at http://whc.Figure 22: Comparison of current and proposed views of the Historic City of Vienna as seen from Belvedere Palace Gardens as a result of the proposed Intercontinental hotel buildings (Source: Annexure V of the ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring Mission to the World Heritage Property “Historic City of Vienna” (Austria) (C1033),2015. Available at httpInterestingly, Vienna has faced a similar issue earlier (2002-2004), in the case of the Wien Mitte project. In this project, UNESCO found the high-rise building proposal to be averse to the visual integrity of the historic core (WHC UNESCO, 2002:37). The Wien Mitte proposal was however, not located on as imperative a visual axis as the Intercontinental Hotel/Ice Skating Club, as it was located in the buffer zone of the WHS (Rasinger 2017, pers. com.). An analysis of the situation in Liverpool and Vienna reveals that that the two cities are fundamentally facing the same issue – economic interests driven by market forces are taking precedence over conservation concerns in key historic precincts. The leadership in both cities is leaning toward achieving more conventional notions of development like, creating jobs, increasing housing stock, etc. However, there seems to be a slight difference in the changing attitude of both cities – Vienna is sticking its ground on the decisions being taken but, Liverpool is now (at least in principle) making attempts to try and resolve the issue in a manner acceptable to all.
In Liverpool, is the added complication of the city trying to come out of a period of neglect and regression (Rodwell, 2014). While the attendees of the Engage series were in agreement that development should not take precedence, it should be noted that they only represent a