Using heritage risk maps as an approach to estimating the threat to materials of traditional buildings in Tainan (Taiwan)

Ping Sheng Wu, Chun Ming Hsieh, Min Fu Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Academic studies concerning how climate influences Asian heritage are rare. The object of this study was to utilize the concept of heritage climatology together with a spatial analysis approach that includes respective climate parameter risks to cultural heritage sites. The study area, Tainan City, Taiwan, is in a subtropical zone south of the Tropic of Cancer. Tainan has nearly 300hundred years of rich history and a multicultural background. This study used maps to gain information about potential climactic threats to Tainan's cultural-historical legacy. There are four kinds of map that use ArcGIS to analyse and demarcate regions not only by climate parameters but also by risk to heritage. These four types of map are climate maps, heritage climate maps, heritage maps and heritage risk maps. Climate maps give the short- to medium-term general status of the climate in Tainan City and thus served as the foundation of the other maps used in this study. Heritage climate maps give data concerning index factors that influence wood and stone materials. Heritage maps show locations of cultural heritage sites on an administrative map and categorize them according to their historic value. Heritage risk maps use accumulated calculations to superimpose the heritage climate map onto the heritage map in order to evaluate the risks to heritage sites in certain areas and categorize the levels of risk. Heritage sites in mountainous areas generally need to be protected from heavy rain, whereas downtown city environments, due to the urban heat island effect, require better protection against heat and cracking. By comparison of our field study results and climate risk maps, we found that in urban areas wooden materials have a higher risk of structural cracking, colour fading and bio-degradation, while coastal areas have a higher risk of weathering of stone materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-447
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cultural Heritage
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jul

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Conservation
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications


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