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Edinburgh World Heritage/Learning/Managing heritage in a changing world


This pilot online training course has been developed as part of the Interreg-funded AtlaS.WH project which is working towards sustainable heritage management in five European urban World Heritage Sites. Learn more about the AtlaS.WH project here.

Edinburgh World Heritage works in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council and Historic Environment Scotland to manage the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site. Over five modules, we will explore the key questions around how Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site can be best managed in in the context of our vibrant, fast-changing capital city.

You will study the principles governing the management of an urban World Heritage Site in the UK, and enhance your learning with case studies and examples of best practice from Europe and the wider world. This course will help to inform your thinking about heritage and maximise the wider benefits it can bring to city management.

About the training

The modules have been designed as a set to be worked through in order, however you are welcome to pick which ones are most relevant to you. Each module sets out learning objectives, engaging content and case studies, summary quizzes and checklists.

Who is this for?

This training is aimed at anyone who wants to understand how Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site is managed within a living and breathing capital city. This may include heritage professionals, council officers of any department, developers, architects and students.

How long will it take?

Each module will take approximately 20 minutes to complete.


We are currently testing our online training course. If you would like to submit feedback about this training, please get in touch via email.

Module 1

World Heritage: an introduction

Managing heritage in a changing world

Time to complete: 20 minutes

This module will introduce you to the basic principles of World Heritage Sites, from the origins of World Heritage protection to some of the finer details of what makes the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site exceptional. 

Begin module 1

Module 2

Managing a World Heritage Site: UK and Edinburgh context

Managing heritage in a changing world

Time to complete: 20 minutes

This module will introduce you to the fundamentals of how heritage is managed in the UK by taking a close look at the UK planning system infrastructure. It explores what tools we have at our disposal to manage urban World Heritage Sites like Edinburgh.  

Begin module 2

Module 3

Managing a World Heritage Site: European context

Managing heritage in a changing world

Time to complete: 20 minutes

This module will expand your understanding of heritage management into a European context. It will focus on the AtlaS.WH project, an Interreg-funded project in the sustainable management of urban World Heritage Sites. It will examine the project’s philosophy and reach some conclusions regarding the current state of heritage management in Europe, as well as key takeaways for Edinburgh, as we move closer to more sustainable ways of managing our heritage. 

Begin module 3

Module 4

The future of managing a World Heritage Site: what does sustainable best practice look like?

Managing heritage in a changing world

Time to complete: 20 minutes

This module will build on some of the examples of best practice we have seen in the previous module to set out what are the common themes and requirements that should be included in an ideal urban World Heritage Site Management Plan. This module will take a closer look at the AtlaS.WH methodology for writing a sustainable management plan for World Heritage Sites, as well as touch on the UNESCO Operational Guidelines, and Historic Urban Landscape. In the next module, we will explore how we can apply these ideals to Edinburgh’s next Management Plan. 

Begin module 4

Module 5

The future of managing a World Heritage Site: Edinburgh’s call to action

Managing heritage in a changing world

Time to complete: 20 minutes

This module will summarise some key questions to consider for taking the management of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site forward. Then, this module will end with a call to action to suggest ways in which you can build on your learning from this course. 

Begin module 5

Wish you were here?

Focusing on the designing and sending of postcards, these activities challenge children’s understanding of their heritage as part of their identity.


Learn more

Atlas.WH project

seeks to address contemporary challenges related to the sustainable management of historic cities and protection of their identity, while stimulating economic and cultural development.


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