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Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 747; doi:10.3390/su8080747

Analysis of the Changing Landscape of a World Heritage Site: Case of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR

Department of International Development Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo 152-8550, Japan
School of Environment and Society, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo 152-8550, Japan
Global Scientific and Computing Center, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo 152-8550, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Victor T. King
Received: 28 June 2016 / Revised: 24 July 2016 / Accepted: 29 July 2016 / Published: 4 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainability of Culture and Heritage)
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The Luang Prabang World Heritage Site experienced tremendous change caused by rapid development and tourism growth. It is recognized that change is inevitable in evolving historic urban cities. Adequate information is essential in formulating strategies to manage change without compromising heritage values. Existing studies are critical of the impact of tourism negatively transforming Luang Prabang but lack in-depth analysis and a significant sample size to clearly discern the changes. This paper addresses the need to visualize the significant changes affecting the built environment of the core inscribed area of Luang Prabang World Heritage. Geographic information systems (GIS) were applied to compare the landscape between 1999 and 2009 based on indicators adopted from the Safeguarding and Preservation Plan (PSMV). Four significant changes were identified as follows: (1) there was an evident shift from residential to touristic use, particularly to guesthouses; (2) Lao traditional architecture has replaced modern architecture; (3) modern building materials have replaced traditional building materials; and (4) traditional roof materials have replaced modern roof materials. Changes in landscape were interpreted and factors that caused the changes were identified from the local stakeholders’ perspective. View Full-Text
Keywords: World Heritage Site; change; built environment; GIS; Luang Prabang World Heritage Site; change; built environment; GIS; Luang Prabang

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Leong, C.; Takada, J.-I.; Yamaguchi, S. Analysis of the Changing Landscape of a World Heritage Site: Case of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. Sustainability 2016, 8, 747.

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