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Call for Papers: Global Climate Change and Built Heritage

Guest Editors

Dr Chris J. Whitman, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, UK
Lui Tam, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, UK
Prof Oriel Prizeman, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, UK

Submission deadline for extended abstract: 29th July 2022

Submission deadline for full papers: 30th June 2023

Aims and Scope

Climate change is having a profound impact on our practical, technical, and philosophical approaches to building conservation. From mitigation to adaptation to managed loss, conservators are faced with increasingly challenging decisions for the future of our historic built environment. At the same time, it is recognised that many of these buildings offer important lessons from a pre-industrial age. This special issue aims to collate current research into the complex relationship between climate change and built heritage. Contributions are welcomed that consider the technical and philosophical challenges under the following sub-themes. Where a paper does not fit under a specified theme or spans more than one, please incorporate a note to that effect in a cover letter with the submission.

Papers may include the following topics, but not limited to:

The impact of the continued use of built heritage on climate change

Traditional and historic buildings comprise a considerable part of the existing world building stock. In 2019 greenhouse gas emissions from buildings rose to their highest-ever levels, accounting for 38% of global emissions when including those arising from both construction and operation. The reduction in these emissions is therefore a key strategy in the mitigation of climate change. For our historic built environment, we must balance the conservation of energy and heritage values whilst avoiding unintended consequences and unnecessary carbon emissions from short-sighted and inappropriate retrofits. Manuscripts under this sub-theme might address: re-use as design, minimising the risks of retrofit, decision making methodologies and frameworks, whole lifecycle carbon assessment, the impact of heritage tourism, embodied carbon, and related topics.

The impact of climate change on built heritage

The escalation in the severity and frequency of extreme weather events, such as flooding, forest fires, snow-loads, coastal erosion, and prolonged growing seasons, requires the adaptation of our built heritage. This calls for increased proactive maintenance and conservation, alterations to built fabric and surrounding landscapes, and in extreme cases relocation and managed loss. Manuscripts under this theme might present technical case studies demonstrating mitigation and adaptation approaches or a more discursive exploration of the values and risks associated with action or inaction under these circumstances.

Learning from the Past

As we aim towards a low carbon society, the pre-industrial past may offer solutions and clues as to how we might break our dependency on fossil fuels. Across the globe, there exist buildings and urban landscapes that were designed to work with minimum energy input and enabled living practices to be more attuned to the local environment. Whilst resisting the romanticisation of these examples and pre-carbon societies, there are undoubtedly many lessons to learn from them. Manuscripts under this section might seek to quantify the impacts of passive measures historically or to provide case studies of the resilience of approaches over time.

Built heritage and environmental justice

The environmental aspect of sustainability is necessarily connected with other economic, social, cultural, and geopolitical issues, which are especially prominent when it comes to heritage. Solutions for tackling the climate crisis or the mission to rescue heritage in such a context may not always guarantee equity or justice in various geopolitical contexts. In the moment of a crisis, these solutions deserve critical scrutiny. Manuscripts under this section are encouraged to establish critical accounts of the role of built heritage in tackling the climate crisis through the lens of environmental justice and ethics, or how the solutions to the climate crisis might impact built heritage and the society around it.

Proposed Timeline

Extended abstracts (500-800 words) due                      29th July 2022

Decision on the abstracts                                              28th October 2022

Full paper drafts for workshop                                      31st March 2023

Workshop in Cardiff (or online)                                     April 2023 (TBC)

Paper drafts for peer review due                                   30th June 2023

Comments from reviewers expected by                        29th September 2023

Final full papers accepted by                                         15th December 2023

Publication of the special issue                                      First quarter of 2024

All submissions to this collection will go through rigorous peer review. Reviewers will follow Springer Nature's and the journal's more detailed Peer-Review PolicyAccepted articles will be published online first. The issue is planned to be published in the first quarter of 2024.

We have plans to hold a hybrid format workshop with the authors that have abstracts accepted. The workshop will take place in Cardiff (UK) in April 2023. More information will be provided in the end of 2022.

Extended abstracts should contain the title of the paper, research question(s), methodology and the main (expected) findings and conclusions. Abstracts should be submitted to: (include Special Issue on Climate Change and Built Heritage in the subject).

Further Information

Questions may be addressed by email to: