This research focusing on the world architectural heritage sites registered in the World Heritage List established by UNESCO aimed to analyze its spatial distribution characteristics and influencing factors at the world and regional level to provide a scientific basis for further architectural heritage conservation. Firstly, this study explored the spatial distribution characteristics of the world architectural heritage sites using the ArcGIS spatial analysis method. Then, we used the space–time statistical method to analyze their spatial and temporal distribution characteristics. The main findings are as follows: (1) world architectural heritage sites are distributed in clusters with imbalanced patterns and a strong degree of concentration: in Western Europe, Eastern Asia, and Northwestern Latin America, with clear country distribution, especially in Italy, China, and Mexico; (2) the time of construction can be divided into four stages: the ancient historic sites stage, the uniform and stable stage, the stage of growth in Asia and Europe, and the stage of growth in Europe, America, and Africa; (3) different types of heritage sites are unevenly distributed, and the type distribution differs significantly between regions, with regional uniqueness. The authors also analyzed the influencing factors of the spatial distribution characteristics and highlighted the important influence of the geographical environment, historical evolution, economic strength and discourse power, international heritage protection situation, and registration policy. This study may provide basis for specific guidance and directions for heritage protection for various countries and regions.
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