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Journal of Cultural Heritage 16 (2015) 210220

Available online at


Original article

Flood risk maps to cultural heritage: Measures and process

Jieh-Jiuh Wang
Department of Architecture, Ming Chuan University, No. 5, Teh-Ming Road, Kuei-Shan District, Taoyuan County, Taiwan

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 24 May 2013
Accepted 11 March 2014
Available online 21 May 2014
Cultural heritage
Global climate change
Risk management
Risk map
Preventive conservation
Vulnerability analysis

a b s t r a c t
Due to extreme climate change, catastrophe normality has become a global trend. The idea of preventive
conservation is now the primary focus of cultural preservation worldwide. Risk maps have become
the tool to predict cultural heritage vulnerabilities because of irreversible cultural characteristics that
can never be duplicated after being destroyed. Because the concepts of risk maps and cultural heritage
preservation are relatively new in Taiwan, this study attempts to create a set of cultural heritage risk
maps. Using ood as its primary disaster type and New Taipei City in northern Taiwan as its targeted
area, this study rst analyses disaster-prone areas using current global preservation approaches. Thematic
analysis and eld study are also used for analysis. Finally, based on cultural heritage vulnerability, the
study examines present heritage preservation strategies and rediscovers the three aspects of sustainable
management, disaster management, and climate change and adaptation in response to cultural heritage
management. In addition, this study analyses the feasibility of using parks as water detention areas to
reduce ood damage temporarily not only to cultural heritage areas but to human lives and property, as
2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
The normalisation of catastrophe has become an unavoidable
trend. In 2009, typhoon Morakot brought heavy rainfall that hit Taiwan mercilessly, causing enormous loss and numerous fatalities.
The loss of cultural heritage sites reached nearly USD 17 millions,
including six national monuments, 11 municipal monuments, and
14 historic buildings [1]. Although a USD 9.3 million recovery
project was later approved, recovery funds and delicate rescue
measures could never replicate the value of the genuine cultural
heritage lost. This typhoon was certainly not an isolated incident;
extreme climate will become more severe and frequent. In addition
to the enormous threat to life and property, irreplaceable artefacts of human civilisation are now disappearing so rapidly that
the process has become a global crisis whose losses no nation can
The present risk concept of cultural heritage conservation in
Taiwan merely covers structural enhancement, reproong of
facilities, insect-proong, and preservative measures but lacks
preventive strategies for large-scale disasters (i.e., debris ow,
tsunami, and ood). Disaster management measures focusing
on cultural heritage deserve more attention than ever. Tangible

Tel.: +886 911 223 188; fax: +886 422 367 096.
E-mail address: jjwang@mail.mcu.edu.tw
1296-2074/ 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

cultural heritage is a component of its physical location; thus,

avoiding certain hazard-prone areas is not necessarily possible.
Disasters are crucial challenges to the conservation of a countrys cultural heritage, and an integrated protection program must
be established and implemented. More tools must be developed
and presented to address the rising uncertainty. Risk mapping is
presently an important, sensible tool and the basic foundation for
developing various strategies for disaster adjustment and relief. A
risk map should not only reect the present situation, but actively
grasp and respond to the development of future dynamic trends
for reducing uncertainty. Hence, this study attempts to examine
the feasibility of a New Taipei City (NTPC) risk map with further
non-structural measures to reduce damage caused by ood.

2. Literature review
2.1. Disasters and types of cultural heritage
2.1.1. Denition and scope of disasters
Disaster generally includes hazard as well as actual disaster. A
hazard is the change in a situation or a series of situations that has
the potential to cause harm or property loss. A disaster is the collapse of a series of social functions that cause loss of life, materials,
economy, or the environment. In addition to the possibility of life
and property loss, the meaning of disaster also includes damage to
or loss of the general value of a countrys cultural heritage and the

J.-J. Wang / Journal of Cultural Heritage 16 (2015) 210220


Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of common disasters and risks to cultural heritage.

ecological system and its environment [2]. UNESCO [2] notes that
the disaster risk to cultural heritage comes from both external and
internal causes. The external cause is the disturbance or damage
to cultural heritage sites caused by typhoon, tsunami, destructive
sabotage, or war. The internal cause is the fragility of the structure or materials of cultural heritage and their sensitivity to the

2.1.2. Cultural heritage and ood

Ghose divided the disaster risks to cultural heritage into unpredictable disasters and predictable deterioration [3]. Unpredictable
disasters include disasters caused by natural phenomena and
human behaviours. The ve categories of natural disasters are
geophysics, meteorology, hydrology, climatology, and biology.
Man-made disasters include re, accidents and military conicts.
Predictable deterioration includes vandalism, illicit trafc in cultural property, and environmental deterioration (Fig. 1 [4]). Flood
in this study is classied as an unpredictable natural disaster that
includes torrential rain, spring tides, and typhoons.
Flooding relates to cultural heritage preservation in two major
areas. One area is analysing a oods effect on building materials,
and the other is to investigate the effects of ooding on cultural
heritage sites using a ood map. Both are benecial in establishing
a preventive conservation strategy to decrease ood damage.
Various studies have shown that oods have direct critical
effects on cultural heritage structures and materials. Flooding not
only damages structures that contact the owing surface but also
sabotages the base and subsoil [5]. Flooding weakens the basic
infrastructure of architectural heritage sites, including individual
structures, buildings, and artistic objects and components that are
attached to the buildings. Floods render these objects vulnerable to
various forces and effects [6] and increase building material weathering that destroys the importance and value of cultural heritage
sites. Stone is a commonly used construction material in Europe,
and essential components of civilisation were passed down by ashlars and sculptures. Experiments clearly indicate that oods result
in direct damage and contamination to the surfaces of historical
stone sculptures and buildings [7,8].
Italy was the rst nation to begin investigating the effects of
ood on its cultural heritage via ood maps in the 1990s and
divided disaster risks to cultural heritage into three basic categories: static structural risks, environmental and air risks, and
human risks (Table 1 [9]).
Lanza [10] demonstrated threats by ood to the historic centre of Genoa, Italy, surveying the past 100 years of ood maps to
assess risks comparing locations of relics and buildings. The survey
also offers a low-cost preventive solution to restore the functions
of Genoas existing underground cistern. Prague is also affected by

oods, with major damage resulting from an inadequate geotechnical structure. Protective measures are based on predicting the
extent of ow using historic ow analysis, which includes potential socioeconomic consequences and cultural heritage value loss
to ease the effects of ood on the ancient city [11].
Global climate change has increased the frequency, scope, and
unpredictability of oods, all of which decrease the effectiveness of
various anti-ood facilities. A hydrological stimulation model, GIS
technology, and regional vulnerability assessment provide useful
tools for cultural heritage preservation so that needed resources
for different cultural heritage sites are equally distributed [12].
2.2. The disaster risk management strategies of cultural heritage
Pre-disaster tasks include disaster risk reduction, prevention,
and preparedness. During a disaster is the response phase. After
the disaster, recovery and reconstruction become the most essential agendas. Once a disaster occurs, most cultural heritage sites
cannot be protected from the imminent threat unless preparations
have been effected to protect the sites because there are other priorities to address. However, global climate change increases the
possibility and scale of natural disasters ability to damage the
environment and increase the difculty of protecting ones cultural
heritage. The value of cultural heritage lies in what is irreplaceable
after it is destroyed. Thus, disaster risk assessment and prediction
are critically important for the preservation of cultural heritage.
2.2.1. Risk management
Risk management is the steps and process of effectively
managing possible events and reducing events negative effects,
preventing existing hazards from turning into disasters as well.
Risk management should not only passively reduce the threat but
actively pursue the possibility of innovation and public value. With
the development of an ever-changing environment, risk management gradually becomes comprehensive emergency management.
Three important elements should be included [13,14]:
hazard: to review the present situation using past studies and scientic analysis and to understand and predict possible disasters
in the future to reduce loss;
risk: includes probability and/or likelihood. The probability analysis can be determined by the probability of certain disasters and
their possible intensity;
vulnerability: affected by constantly changing concepts, generally the result of the interaction between a dynamic natural
environment and a complicated social and economic environment.


J.-J. Wang / Journal of Cultural Heritage 16 (2015) 210220

Table 1
The causes of risk assessment in Italy risk map project.
Basic risk categories

Analytic factors

Various risk assessment (instance)

Static structural risks

Earthquake, debris ow, ood, volcanic action,

coastal hydrodynamics

The ood risk rate of historic sites, the

earthquake risk rate of historic sites

Environmental and air risks

Climate phenomena, air pollution, and other


The erosion index of lime material, blackening

index, physical pressure index

Human risks

Population density, residence, the density in

highly developed urban area, passenger trafc,
number of burglaries

Population decrease index, population density

index, pressure of tourist activities, burglary
responsibility index, the tourist activities
pressure at each historic site

Collected from Bianchi by this study, 2010.

2.2.2. The international development of disaster risk

management strategies
Disaster management focusing on cultural heritage has surged
globally since the 1990s. The Blue Shield Project in 1992, the
Radenci Declaration in 1998, Declaration of Assisi in 2000, and the
2009 Dublin Declaration on Climate Change all showed the worlds
determination to prevent our cultural heritage from all harm at all
The initial development declared the importance of preventive
conservation for cultural heritage, which can never be recovered
after being destroyed. The development and application of new
techniques and tools have gradually been integrated over the last
ten (e.g., prediction of climate change and hazard maps). Moreover,
the emphasis on cross-nation collaboration is growing rapidly. The
following are the common key points.
Cultural heritage is the common property of all human beings
and can never be recovered after destruction; thus, cultural heritage requires designated preventive conservation. Both natural
phenomena and man-made disasters have serious effects on both
tangible and intangible cultural heritage. The effects of disasters
on cultural heritage are expanding because of rapid climate change
and the changing environment caused by human activities.
It is necessary to raise public awareness of the importance of
disaster risk (education and promotion) and train people to address
disaster risk to our cultural heritage. We must recognise, predict,
and assess possible disaster risks caused by climate change utilising
plan-related response strategies. Immediate response can reduce
damage to a minimum.
2.2.3. The risk management of cultural heritage
Risk management includes managing items before, during, and
after the risk. The risk to cultural heritage indicates a situation
that threatens a countrys cultural heritage. Risk management does
not prevent natural disasters from occurring but keeps the effects of
disasters and the amount of loss to a minimum. UNISDR [15] noted
that the function of disaster risk analysis is to assess the probability
of disasters, the level of impact, and the features of spatial distribution. Disaster risk analysis includes the identication of risk factors,
hazard analysis, vulnerability analysis, and the estimated level of
The steps of risk management regarding cultural heritage
preservation are advanced assessment of overall risk evaluation,
risk estimation, risk management, and risk communication [16].
Jokilehto demonstrated that immediate response before, during,
and after the disaster minimises risk to cultural heritage sites [17].
Before disaster strikes, it is essential to determine the minimum
amount of intervention necessary to decrease potential loss. During the emergency, mobilising local resources, enacting short-term
plans and preparing long-term plans are top priorities. Reconstruction and recovery become the key issues after disasters. Because of
climate change, disaster preparation is the most important task.
UNESCO [2] determined that risk management projects addressing

cultural heritage sites should rst identify the goals, scope, and
responsibility and then identify and assess the risks the subject is
facing. The project should attempt to provide preventive strategies
and relief methods and plan emergency preparation projects and
response measures when disaster occurs.
The European Union (EU) oods directive initiates the
assessment and management of ood risk to reduce adverse consequences to a countrys cultural heritage as an explicit task. More
than 3500 cultural monuments, museums, archives, etc., must
be considered in the management planning process in BadenWurttemberg [18]. The assessment of ood risk is based on the
probability of oods and the vulnerability of each object. A rstlevel assessment is processed with a geographical information
system. Municipalities and responsible gures of authority check
the rst-level assessment. To support the activities of concerned
stakeholders, information regarding diverse aspects of preparedness and recovery is provided. Generally, stakeholders establish
object-specic emergency response plans. These plans must be
coordinated with response planning on the local level and vice
versa [18].
2.3. Risk map
2.3.1. The scope and denition of a risk map
A risk map is also called a hazard potential map or a hazard map.
A risk map indicates the setting of hazard situations, warning values, potential hazard areas, the main landmarks, and the possible
scope of effects [19] and presents the hazard potential. A risk map
clearly presents the probability and the effects of disasters, including the evaluation of the loss caused by disasters in certain areas
or the probability of certain-scale disasters, i.e., an earthquake risk
map [20]. The risk map is the substantiation of risk assessment on
the map, which helps responders plan projects and strategies for
all phases of disasters. The predictable or unpredictable effects of
disasters will thus be reduced.
2.3.2. Case study of risk map of cultural heritage
Risk maps of cultural heritage are intended to provide a technical tool for preventive conservation for authorities. For cultural
heritage sites whose value cannot be recovered, preventive tools
are more important than recovery.
Carta del Rischio was begun by the Italian Central Institute
for Restoration in 1992. GIS was applied to establish a cultural
heritage risk map to aid in understanding various environmental
hazards. The map noted specic cultural heritage sites in highly
dangerous environments; predicted possible future damage; established conservation departments of cultural heritage; and provided
managers/owners of heritage properties with various policies,
strategies, and disaster response measures to address the principles
of preventive conservation.
The EU passed a cross-nation-sponsored study named the Noah
s Ark Project in 2002. This projects goal was to discuss the effect

J.-J. Wang / Journal of Cultural Heritage 16 (2015) 210220

of global climate change on heritage buildings and cultural landscapes. It was the rst systematic European investigation of the
causes and possible occurrences of damage to cultural heritage
sites because of climate change. This project conducted experiments and presented courses of action to prevent stone, marble,
wood, and other materials of European cultural heritage structures
from being affected by climate factors. The project created maps
of European cultural heritage areas affected by climate change.
The outcome included climate maps, heritage maps, damage maps,
risk and multiple risk maps, and subject research data. These maps
were available to owners and managers of cultural heritage structures, policy-making departments, and national cultural heritage
groups [21]. The substantial achievement of this project serves as
an excellent model for integrated interdisciplinary study.
3. Study area
According to article 3 of Cultural Heritage Conservation Law
(Taiwan), cultural heritage refers to the seven designated or registered types of heritage with historic, cultural, artistic, or scientic
value. The study seeks to develop correct and advantageous disaster management measures to protect cultural heritage when oods
strike as well as to reduce risk by environmental planning and
design. Therefore, features of the tangible objectives in the study
refer to sites that are immovable, would be difcult to recover
after destruction, and are closely attached to the environment; this
would include ve types: national monuments, municipal monuments, historical architecture, relics, and cultural landscapes.
This study takes NTPC in Taiwan as its example. The cultural heritage types in NTPC represent its historical background. Evidence
of human settlement from the early prehistoric age was discovered
at the Tamsui River; relics were also excavated from areas in Shulin
and Tucheng. During the Spanish and Dutch colonial periods in the
17th century, Western-style buildings, ports, and fortresses were
built at this rivers estuary. A large number of immigrants from
China migrated there during the Qing Dynasty, not only expanding settlement to the upper and branch river areas but also leaving
massive numbers of traditional Mingnan-style buildings, e.g., mansions, colleges, and temples. Japanese culture rushed in during the
Japanese colonial period, a time when modern industry was rst
introduced to Taiwan. The architectural style was a mixture of traditional Mingnan, Japanese, and Western inuences. Therefore, NTPC
is famous for its architectural varieties and the richness of its cultural heritage that witnessed the urban development of northern
Taiwan and its historic memories.
There are 29 administrative districts in NTPC, with a total area
of 2053 km2 . According to the latest (to 2013/03) information from
the Cultural Affairs Department of NTPC, there are four relics, six
national monuments, 61 municipal monuments, 38 examples of
historical architecture, and four cultural landscapes. Of a total of
113 cultural heritage sites, 32 are located in Tamsui, followed by
14 in Xindian. Six districts have no designated cultural heritage
sites at all. The distribution and amount of cultural heritage in each
district are shown in Table 2 and Fig. 2, respectively.
4. Research design
4.1. Research method
The effects of climate change on cultural heritage are mainly
divided into direct physical effects and indirect effects [22]. Direct
effects refer to the physical effects on tangible cultural heritage
sites caused by natural phenomena; indirect effects refer to social
and economic changes caused by climate change. Climate change
indirectly affects the conservation, management, and operation of


cultural heritage. Moreover, these indirect effects are somehow

equal to the physical effects that require longer observation and
study because their variables are more complicated. A 2007 investigation noted that 46 cultural heritage sites worldwide are suffering
from or threatened by the physical effects of global climate change
[22]. The increasing frequency of hurricanes and storms, increase in
sea level, erosion, and oods are the most signicant effects. Levels
of destruction may be macro-level, mediate-level or micro-level.
Based on a possible single destructive event or massive destruction by ood, this study is categorised according to mediate-level
4.1.1. Simulation of a ood-prone area
According to Regulations for Publication of Flood Potential
Information (Taiwan), ood potential refers to possible ooding
that is simulated with basic survey data of designed precipitation, specic topography, and objective hydrological accumulation,
assuming ood control facilities are operating normally. An inundation potential map is the reference for the Ministry of Economics
and local governments to create an inundation potential map and
testing manual in accordance with article 4. An inundation potential map reects the possible inundation conditions in a specic
environment using hydraulic criteria in a certain area.
The precipitation analysis of ood-prone area simulation in
this study adopts the Simple Scaling Gauss-Markov (SSGM) as the
precipitation pattern. The simulation is set at an accumulated precipitation of 200600 mm within 24 hours. The SSGM establishes
a precipitation pattern in accordance with the random fractal features and the dimensionless features of the Gauss-Markov process.
The SSGM describes the highest value event of the dimensionless
year with the non-stationary, rst-order Gauss-Markov process.
The SSGM satises the features of peak precipitation statistics in
the Gauss-Markov process, which reaches maximum likelihood. Its
advantages include [23,24] the following:
the SSGM meets the statistical features of peak precipitation percentage;
the time span of precipitation corresponds to the features of a
maximum torrential rain event process;
different types of torrential rain result in different rain patterns;
after correct scaling transfer, the rain pattern is applicable to
various durations of designed torrential rain;
the precipitation adopted by the pre-set rain pattern is roughly
identical to the precipitation of the pre-set intensity durationfrequency curve.
The river map and the administrative district map are provided
by NTPC; the altitude Digital Terrain Model (DTM) map is provided by the Centre for Weather Climate and Disaster Research
of National Taiwan University. In this study, the altitude of NTPC
is divided into 16 equal parts. Altitude 0300 cm is divided into
20 cm gradations, and altitudes above 300 cm belong to an individual range. In addition, this study considers the relation between sea
level and the astronomical tides and storm tides (meteorological
tides). Sea levels are taken at the downstream boundary established
as a condition of ood-prone simulation. Therefore, the ood-prone
map is initially set at a daily precipitation of 200600 mm, with an
altitude below 300 m. After simulating the precipitation, the height
of ooding is divided into ve levels, establishing dividing borders
at 0.5 m, 1 m, 2 m, and 3 m.
4.1.2. Geographic information system
This study utilises GIS (ESRI ArcGIS Version10) for establishing
layers of present cultural heritage. GIS integrates the numerical values to simulate the ood-prone layers for various precipitations
and assesses the relation between cultural heritage and oods.


J.-J. Wang / Journal of Cultural Heritage 16 (2015) 210220

Table 2
Amount of each cultural heritage type in New Taipei City.
Administrative district

National monument

Municipal monument

Historical architecture

Cultural landscape










http://www.ntpc.gov.tw/ (accessed 2013/03).

Utilising ArcMap, this study attempts to understand related spatial information and present needs, review, and statistical analysis
of patterns and attribute information in these layers. The study also
overlays elevation maps and cultural heritage locations to understand the dependence of cultural heritage upon its surrounding
environment. The study not only identies the initial distribution

of cultural heritage, each affected cultural heritage and the affected

percentage in each district but conrms the situation using a eld
survey. Finally, the study views the distribution of park areas in each
district for further overlaying and chooses the spot for ood detention, which will be the essence of implementing non-structural
mitigation in urban planning.

Fig. 2. Distribution map of cultural heritage in New Taipei City.

J.-J. Wang / Journal of Cultural Heritage 16 (2015) 210220


Fig. 3. Research steps.

4.2. Research setting

5. Results

This study adopts the ISO/DIS 31000 risk management process,

including understanding the environment and situation, identifying the risk, risk assessment (risk analysis, risk evaluation), risk
treatment, supervision, and audit. Risk assessment refers to the process of comprehensive risk identication, analysis, and evaluation:

5.1. Risk identication and assessment

risk identication: identifying the source, effect, scope, cause, and

potential result of risks;
risk assessment: risk analysis that addresses the details of change,
goals, available information and resources of risks. Risk evaluation determines the priority of risks based on the results of risk
analysis, including the risk grades;
risk treatment: choosing one or several suggestions or advice on
risk management. Determining whether the remaining risk can
be reduced by practical implementation;
supervision and audit: in addition to recording the process of risk
management, continuous monitoring of environmental changes
to readjust the measures of risk treatment.

This study uses NTPCs cultural heritage as its object and ood
as its main risk to assess risks of massive destruction to cultural
heritage by ood. The study utilises GIS to conduct risk assessment
of cultural heritage:
this study establishes an SHP database on cultural heritage to
mark these locations in each district;
this study overlays the cultural heritage distribution map with
a ood-prone map of daily precipitation (200 mm, 350 mm,
450 mm, and 600 mm) as well as classifying ooding depth at
ve levels from 00.3 m, 0.31 m, 12 m, 23 m, and above 3 m;
this study also designates a ooding depth above 0.3 m as a serious threat to cultural heritage preservation to assess ood risks
to cultural heritage sites in each district;
high-risk cultural heritage locations are selected, and hazardprone factors to these locations are analysed. Fig. 3 shows the
research steps in this study.

Fig. 4 indicates affected areas that mainly cover Tamsui, Luzhou,

Sanchong, Xinzhuang, Shulin, Yonghe, and Xizhi. Analysis results
from overlaying cultural heritage locations and ood-prone maps
show that no cultural heritage is affected when daily precipitation
reaches 200 mm and 350 mm, respectively. If daily precipitation
reaches 450 mm, 5% of cultural heritage sites are affected whereas
16% are affected at 600 mm. Municipal monuments are the most
affected on both accounts, followed by historical architecture and
national monuments. Surprisingly, relics and cultural landscape are
unaffected whatever the level of precipitation (Figs. 5 and 6).
The aforementioned indicates that historic background and
the terrain of districts are signicant in cultural heritage sites
affected by ood. Early settlements were established according
to transportation accessibility or commercial advantages. Early
development resulted in more cultural heritage sites in particular areas. For instance, during the period of Japanese occupation,
immigrants would rush to Ruifang because of its rich mining and
gold resources, which contributed to the mining-related cultural
heritage we currently enjoy. Supported by shipping in early days,
districts alongside the Tamsui River, i.e., Tamsui, Xinzhang, Xidian, and Xizhi, were developed earlier and faster, leading to huge
numbers of cultural heritage sites. Fig. 6 indicates that plain terrain is more vulnerable to ood than hilly terrain. Those ancient
cultural heritage sites located on plain terrain are obviously more
vulnerable to ood.
This study conducts a detailed investigation of cultural heritage sites affected by ood in Tamsui, Luzhou, Sanchong, Xizhuang,
Shulin, Yonghe, and Xizhi. Flooding depth is categorised in four
levels, 0.31 m, 12 m, 23 m, and above 3 m. Establishing a ood
depth above 0.3 m poses a serious threat to cultural heritage preservation; thus, ood risks to cultural heritage in each district are
Table 3 indicates that cultural heritage sites remain unaffected when daily precipitation reaches 200 mm and 350 mm,
respectively. Six cultural heritage sites are affected when daily precipitation reaches 450 mm for a ood depth of between 0.3 and 1 m


J.-J. Wang / Journal of Cultural Heritage 16 (2015) 210220

Fig. 4. Affected cultural heritages distribution in different precipitations.

although most sites are located in Tamsui, and the Shihs old mansion sustained more damage (at a ood depth of between 1 and
2 m) than the others. When daily precipitation reaches 600 mm, the
ooding increases and affects up to 17 cultural heritage sites. The
ood depth is between 0.3 and 1 m, mainly in Tamsui; the Shihs
old mansion would be at a ood depth above 3 m.
Analysis indicates that the majority of the affected cultural heritage sites are located in Tamsui, suggesting that Taipeis early
development was concentrated in the Twatiutia and Tamsui areas
because Tamsui was the main trading port in northern Taiwan during that time. Because of the increasing commerce, business, and

foreign military troops stationed there during different periods,

Tamsui has a greater variety of relics and heritage sites than other
districts. The estuary terrain also renders it more vulnerable to ood
than other districts. Cultural heritage sites affected by 450 mm precipitation are also affected when daily precipitation increases to
600 mm. The higher the precipitation, the more the cultural heritage is affected. Hence, cultural heritage sites located in lower
precipitation areas are at greater risk of ood and more vulnerable
to continuous effects and damage.
In addition to historical context, the risk level of cultural heritage sites also relates to landform and terrain. Planning and design

Fig. 5. Affected cultural heritages in different precipitations.

J.-J. Wang / Journal of Cultural Heritage 16 (2015) 210220


Fig. 6. Affected cultural heritage types in different precipitation.

measures can reduce or eliminate risks to cultural heritage sites

and may effectively protect and conserve various forms of cultural
heritage. Cultural heritage will also be an important component of
disaster prevention and protection in the future.
5.2. Risk treatment: non-structural measures
Because cultural heritage is closely connected to the environment, design and planning should incorporate the concepts of
non-structural mitigation and preventive measures in response to
ood. For neighbouring areas that are vulnerable to ood, ood
detention areas appear to be a possible measure. Taking advantage
of the altitude, it is possible to direct water to gather at a lower place
such a park or greenbelt and reduce the risk of ood to cultural
heritage sites.

This study utilises elevation maps that overlay cultural heritage

sites and parks in various areas. The base map uses a park as the
centre and selects areas appropriate for ood detention within a
radius of 500 m (Table 4). The map also shows that although Tamsui
has more cultural heritage sites than other areas, parks that can be
used for ood detention are barely adequate. The cultural heritage
in the district is at greater risk than in other areas (Fig. 7).
After conducting a eld survey analysing areas that have adequate parks, the study tries to analyse the ood detention feasibility
of parks and the drainage system in the high-risk cultural heritage
areas. In those areas that have fewer parks available for detention,
the eld survey hopes to reduce the effects of ood using ditches or
oodways from nearby parks. Areas that contain insufcient parks
and greenbelts should consider nearby park areas to reduce the
possible hazards of ooding from nearby ood channels.

Table 3
Affected cultural heritages in different precipitation.
Daily precipitation (mm)

Flooding depth (m)


Heritage types

Cultural heritages



> 0.3


> 0.3






Tiansi bridge ruins

The Chens old mansion, Tiansi
Guangfu Temple
Ciyou Temple
Taiwanese railway ruins, Chiatung

The Shihs old mansion


Fort San Domingo

Tiansi bridge ruins
House of no. 16 on Jhongjian Street
House of no. 14 on Jhongjian Street
The Chens old mansion, Tiansi
Kinoshita Seigais old house
Police dormitory in
Japanese-occupied period
The Lis residence
Octagonal Hall
Xianse Temple
Guangfu Temple
Ciyou Temple
Memorial cemetery of 13
anti-Japanese ruling martyrs
Crosscreek Villa
Taiwanese railway ruins, Chiatung

The Shihs old mansion

Rev. Mackay clinic house


600 new locations















NM: national monuments; MM: municipal monuments; HA: historic architecture.







J.-J. Wang / Journal of Cultural Heritage 16 (2015) 210220

Fig. 7. Park area distribution map to cultural heritage ood detention in New Taipei City.

J.-J. Wang / Journal of Cultural Heritage 16 (2015) 210220


Table 4
Amount of available park area and the affected cultural heritage in New Taipei City.








Park area
Detention park area
High-risk cultural heritage









6. Discussion
The study process revealed some issues worthy of further discussion from the perspective of theories and practices.
From the perspective of theories, the biggest issue is whether
there are enough tools to create risk maps. Risk mapping requires a
top-to-bottom policy for training in the process and the investment
of resources to develop the mechanism in response to the rapidly
changing environment. More hopeful results can be achieved for
future cultural heritage sites in response to disasters caused by climate change. The current research results elicit more real issues
that belong to the risk identication phase. However, multiple
visions and suggestions should be included once current research
moves into the risk assessment phase. Moreover, issues such as
viewpoints and participation of citizens and non-governmental
organisations or non-prot organisations are all worthy of further
The present location of cultural heritage sites, the possible
disasters and the risks should be examined before discussing the
necessary preventive measures and the corresponding level of protective capabilities. The study results show that only 16% of cultural
heritage sites would be affected by ood although continuous protective measures are the key to cultural heritage preservation. If
the protection is insufcient, a countrys cultural heritage may
be completely damaged, either immediately or gradually. From
the perspective of disaster management after the development of
a risk map, cultural heritage protection will be meaningful only
after acknowledgement of the facts that cultural heritage may be
harmed; that risk can be reduced; and that emergency planning,
intervention of response measures, and emergency response plans
or measures are necessary. Or, if a relic is all that is left after the
damage, what type of secondary conservation intervention should
be implemented?
The risk map currently covers nearly all contingencies. From
earthquakes and air pollution to population density, all these would
damage cultural heritage sites. The cause of a disaster should be
dened more broadly and integrated into further studies. Compound disasters should also be considered in the discussion of
cultural heritage conservation. Compound causes of disasters and
the results of expanded disasters lead to double damage. The differences between a single-hazard and all-hazards also lead to various
risk maps. In Venice, for example, the rising water level and the
pressure of the tourist population may lead to serious results. An
effective mechanism or measures must be planned and promoted.
The follow-up research should focus on local heritage and local
disasters so that potential risks to cultural heritage sites can be
examined from the perspective of compound disasters.
From the perspective of actual practices, the issue of cultural
heritage conservation is as important as the development of sustainability. Cultural heritage conservation should be based on
the only one earth concept, and each countrys cultural heritage is unique. Cross-collaboration and active participation aim
at improving the mechanisms to respond to climate change to
preserve cultural heritage by sharing experiences and techniques.
Cross-sectional cooperation must be further enhanced so that the
functions and effects of risk maps will be improved more precisely and effectively. For example, the Noah s Ark Project is

based on the prediction of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the general climate model (HadCM3) and the
regional climate model (HadRM3) created by the Hadley Centre
established by Britain in response to climate change. The project
predicts the effects of climate change in Europe and includes the
possibility of greater risks. Members of each department should
present information based on their own expertise and integrate
the data into the nal outcome. This important procedure covers
existing achievements and information from every section so that
the risk map can be presented more precisely. The efforts that the
Hadley Centre made for establishing interdisciplinary collaboration
on climate change model are worthy of emulating.
From the perspective of sustainable management, how should
we respond to the trends of climate change and disaster development considering the requirement of cultural heritage reuse? The
balance between use and protection to avoid the compound effects
of natural and human disasters appears tricky as always. Finding the
balance denitely requires more careful planning. In addition, the
conservation of a countrys cultural heritage is generally regarded
as an intellectual property. There will be increasingly more dependence on insurance in the future. If cultural heritage conservation is
connected to insurance, the commercial cores of insurance companies will invest more energy in research and calculations. Risk
maps can serve as a relatively important tool for insurance. Risk
maps such as the American ood insurance rate map will work.
Utilising the experience and actuarial capacity of private insurance
companies, the maps will be improved to be more precise and serve
as a more effective protective tool in response to preventive conservation. Understanding risk in the planning of risk maps leads
to their use as a public education tool, which will increase their
signicance as protectors of cultural heritage.
7. Conclusions
Cultural heritage threatened by global climate change and the
risk management of disasters have been ignored for a long time.
Many scientic techniques to address these issues have been developed, and various tools have been created; however, more rational
tools are required to respond actively to the uncertainty of largescale disasters.
This study collects the present measures being used in other
countries and uses NTPC as an example. The study presents the
initial study procedures and provides the initial results of risk identication. Based on the extent of hazard and vulnerability analysis,
this study provides steps and methods of risk analysis and assessment accompanied by a eld survey. The survey gradually discerns
feasible strategies in Taiwan and the possible effects of natural
disasters on cultural heritage. The following are the major ndings
of this initial study:
this is the rst interdisciplinary cultural heritage risk analysis
using GIS to analyse disaster management and cultural heritage
in Taiwan. With the advantages of GIS disaster-prone analysis,
this study establishes a set of operation measures of risk evaluation and management via disaster-prone and cultural heritage


J.-J. Wang / Journal of Cultural Heritage 16 (2015) 210220

the case study of NTPC indicates that when daily precipitation

reaches 450 mm and 600 mm, the level of affected cultural heritage in NTPC is 5% and 16%, respectively. Municipal monuments
and historical architecture are the two types of cultural sites that
would sustain the most damage, mainly in the Tamsui district.
The amount and distribution of affected cultural heritage sites in
NTPC are inuenced by its historic background and topography.
Lower-lying areas are more vulnerable to ood than high terrain;
GIS is also used for planning an ideal risk strategy to reduce ood
effects on cultural heritage sites using non-structural approaches.
The Tamsui district has more cultural heritage sites than other
districts and is more vulnerable to oods; however, the district
lacks detention areas, thus exposing the cultural heritage sites to
more risk;
more research studies should focus on the study of various disaster categories (e.g., earthquake and debris ow) to establish the
overall landscape of natural disaster risks faced by cultural heritage sites in Taiwan.
Climate change and disaster issues will create more difcult
challenges for cultural heritage conservation. Risk mapping is also
an important tool currently. Nevertheless, more should be tools
developed to confront this increasing uncertainty.
This paper is subsidized by Ministry of Science and Technology,
Taiwan (101-2221-E-130-034-).
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