The past in permanent construction. Heritage in transformation.

The case of the University of Coimbra - Alta and Sofia World Heritage Site.

Keywords: Urban transformations, World Heritage, Protection of heritage, Historic Urban Landscape, Urban development


Four years after the decision to inscribe the University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia on the World Heritage List, it is time to evaluate the changes that have occurred, or are still occurring, in the context of the renovation of its urban space and the context of the city’s sociocultural dynamics. In that sense, this paper will analyse Coimbra’s transformations and the processes leading to them, taking into account three strategic vectors in order to achieve an urban management and its sustainable development: the protection of heritage, the Historic Urban Landscape and urban development. The University of Coimbra assumed its leading role in the dynamic of the conservation of the prebuilt heritage of the classified area and the municipality assumed its role in the protection zone. In this framework for the urban transformation process it is possible to conclude that the best way to keep up to date any sustainable heritage is to use it within the territorial cultural matrix. This World Heritage status could lead to a real conservation process of the existent heritage and to a sustainable balance between urban management and its integrated development leading to a better quality of life for the city.


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