Heritage Conservation Planning

Code: AHVS489L
Apply this course towards: Cultural Resource Management

Course description

This course provides an overview of heritage planning, the field within heritage conservation that addresses interventions to historic places in the context of urban (and rural) planning and development. The objective of heritage planning is to manage change wisely. The course will use a pragmatic approach to consider individual and collective historic places (e.g., buildings, historic districts, cultural landscapes, archaeological sites) in a wide variety of geographical and physical contexts. Heritage planning will be addressed within the larger framework of sustainability.

Learning objectives

  1. Recognize heritage conservation planning as a professional activity that manages change to historic places and is guided by well-established core principles and practices.
  2. Be able to practice heritage conservation within the over-arching frameworks of sustainable development and ethics.
  3. Gain sufficient understanding of the principles of land-use law and how that has served as a basis for heritage legislation, to enable you to apply heritage principles in conformity with applicable laws and regulations.
  4. Gain a basic-level understanding of the principles of urban and rural planning, so that your professional work in heritage planning can be integrated within the larger community planning framework.
  5. Define the principal conservation treatments and identify the situations in which each is most appropriate.
  6. Recall the principal international charters, conventions, standards, and guidelines that define heritage doctrine and describe best conservation practice.
  7. Apply international heritage doctrine in a consistent manner to your work.
  8. Synthesize the results of historical research, physical investigation, and community consultation in order to ‘understand the historic place’.
  9. Review how to determine the cultural significance of the historic place, based on its values, and learn to employ this technique in your work.
  10. Gain the skills necessary to respond in a responsible manner to proposals for interventions to historic places, working to reconcile heritage interests with other competing interests and to move them effectively through the regulatory, political, and public consultation processes.
  11. Prepare a conservation plan.
  12. Assess the potential heritage impacts and other risks of proposed interventions and propose mitigation where appropriate.
  13. Understand the full range of conservation ‘tools’ and ‘incentives’ available to property owners, in order to use them as means for achieving satisfactory conservation outcomes.
  14. Make wise decisions with respect to conservation strategies and interventions.


  1. Though not required, current or prior experience in a heritage or cultural organization would be an asset for success in this course. It is the responsibility of the participant to ensure they can complete all course assignments and contribute meaningfully to all course discussions by drawing from their experience. Please contact the program office if you have questions.
  2. The course is designed to meet the needs of heritage professionals and students involved in the management of historic places, whether they work (or intend to work) in the public or the private sector, and at any level from beginning heritage planner to senior decision-maker. This is not a general introduction to heritage conservation, nor is it a course on conservation architecture or technology.
  3. Access to a computer with a reliable internet connection.
  4. University-level research, writing, and critical thinking skills.


Sharon Vattay

Sharon Vattay, Ph.D., CAHP, is an architectural historian who brings a diverse set of skills offering expertise in the assessment and management of heritage resources. Prior to joining GBCA Architects as an Associate in 2008, Sharon was a Heritage Planner (in the cities of Hamilton and Vaughan) and Lecturer at the University of Toronto. Within the practice, Sharon is responsible for archival research, document analysis, report writing, applying conservation standards and developing mitigative strategies (all in accordance with the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada). Her professional experience is leveraged to help guide our clients through municipal and provincial heritage approvals. Sharon’s knowledge in materials research goes beyond the application of conservation principles to the projects she directs at GBCA, and her passion has led to developing technical skills in hands on masonry projects in Europe and the United States.

In addition to teaching with University of Victoria in the Cultural Resource Management Program and has published and presented papers on architectural history and preservation practice. She is an active member of a number of allied organizations, such as the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada, the Society of Architectural Historians, and the Association of Preservation Technology, and is a professional member of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals.

What participants are saying

"I really enjoyed the structure of the assignments and how they built on each other leading up to the final assignment. I also enjoyed that the final assignment was meant to be as close to a real life example as possible."

"To date, my favourite course. Most useful, relevant readings, assignments correspond nicely to readings."

"This course is very well structured - the assignments are definitely relevant and build up towards the final assignment. The slide presentation was excellent - very informative, relevant to each week and provided great examples."

"It was clear that the instructor is experienced both in the heritage field and academia, and knows how to smoothly run a good class at university level."



Online format using the learning management system (LMS), Brightspace, over a 14-week period, requiring approximately 12-14 rigorous hours of coursework per week.

Students login to the course and communicate with the instructor and fellow students via the Brightspace course site. This course follows an asynchronous delivery model.

This course will use online text-based notes and/or PowerPoint presentations, forum-based discussions, individual and individual assignments, and print and online readings/resources. In addition to completing assignments and activities, participants are expected to contribute meaningfully and frequently to forum-based discussions weekly.

Attendance, participation and decorum

Whether registered as a credit or non-credit participant, you will be expected to:

  • login to the course website on a regular basis throughout each week
  • participate in class activities, and thoughtfully and articulately contribute to course forum discussions by reflecting upon assigned readings and professional experiences
  • submit course assignments on scheduled course deadline dates
  • notify course instructors of any personal leaves throughout the term that will affect class participation well in advance
  • notify the instructor of any situation that will compromise the timely submission of an assignment or activity to work out alternate arrangements well in advance of due date
  • provide work throughout the course that is effectively organized and researched, professionally presented, and well-written
  • interact with colleagues, program staff, and course instructors in a respectful and positive manner at all times

Note: if a student has not signed into the course site website by 100% tuition refund drop date, the Program Office reserves the right to withdraw the student from the course. Participation in online courses is mandatory and online interactions are the most important part of the course learning experience. As such, “catching up” at such a late date without prior approval—and make-up scheduling by the instructor and/or program—is impossible.

Privacy Considerations

In some cases, participants and the course instructor may discuss examples that reflect an actual situation, institution, or community. In order to create an environment where all feel free to discuss and learn from situational issues, it is asked that everyone respect the confidential nature of the institutions and communities being discussed.

While the site is password protected, note that email and course discussion forum groups are never entirely confidential and are subject to freedom of information and privacy legislation. Your use of these communication tools should reflect the public nature of the media.

We ask that you respect the copyright of any and all course materials and note that these are circulated and shared for the purposes of this course only. Further reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Personal information at the University is protected by the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and the University’s Protection of Privacy Policy.

Disclosure of personal information to vendors, systems or services storing or accessing that information outside of Canada is restricted by s.30.1 of FIPPA.

Instructors may use a variety of educational technology in a course including internet-based technologies, or web-based applications, cloud services and social media. The use of technology is intended to enhance and/or deliver students’ education and is part of a students’ engagement at the University. Some of these technologies may collect, use, disclose, and store student and instructor personal information outside of Canada.

In some courses, instructors may require students to use educational technology and social media which stores personal information outside of Canada, in such cases, instructors will try to provide options (such as using an alias to register).

If students do not want their personal information stored or accessed outside of Canada, in certain rare instances, courses may not be available to them. If the course is required for the completion of a degree, alternatives will be provided.

Course Credit

1.5 units at UVic or may be taken on a non-credit basis.

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