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From Timbuktu to Coney Island

Sankore Mosque Timbuktu

Three prominent keynote speakers, Rochelle Roca Hachem, Emily Wadhams and David Bragdon, will address preservation and sustainability issues from international, national and city perspectives at MAS’ Conference on Preservation and Climate Change in New York City (October 15-17).

World Heritage At Risk, Rochelle Roca Hachem, UNESCO’s Programme Specialist for Culture.

The impacts of climate change threaten the world’s natural and built environments, especially the world’s fragile heritage sites. Peru’s Chan Chan, one of the largest and most important pre-hispanic earthen architecture cities in the Americas, is threatened by erosion caused by increasing numbers of El Niño events; Desertification threatens Mali’s Timbuktu, once an intellectual and spiritual capital of Africa; and the medieval center of Prague is threatened by repeated flooding caused by increased levels of rainfall in Northern Europe that many scientists ascribe to climate change.

Rochelle Roca Hachem will discuss how climate change is threatening the world’s historic landmarks and living cultures and what steps UNESCO and the international community are taking to raise awareness about adapting to those impacts in order to safeguard these precious places.

Historic Preservation and Sustainability: Where Do We Fit In? Emily Wadhams, Vice President for Public Policy, National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Climate change constitutes one of the major challenges of the 21st century and mitigation and sustainability policies are being drafted at the federal, state and local level in order to reduce the potential effects of global warming. Emily Wadhams will discuss the challenges and opportunities for the preservation community in the United States in light of these plans, and explore what preservation has to offer in meeting sustainability goals. She will also address the ways in which preservationists need to embrace change, especially with regard to improving energy efficiency in older and historic buildings and helping to shape smart growth policies.

PlaNYC 2.0, David Bragdon, Director, City of New York, Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.

PlaNYC is New York City’s comprehensive long-term sustainability plan, which includes initiatives and goals aimed at improving the infrastructure, environment and quality of life in the city. Local law requires that PlaNYC be updated every four years, with the first update due on Earth Day 2011. David Bragdon will deliver a keynote address about ways in which the plan will be updated this year and how New Yorkers, and preservationists, can weigh in on any changes. Bragdon just recently joined Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability after serving as the President of the Portland, Oregon Metro Council.