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Do we need more top lists?

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Author elsslots
#31 | Posted: 3 Dec 2015 12:37 
Can we use survey site for compilation of results now (like we had done in top 50 missing or visited sites). Here we can give 1 point for each vote and then we can check the results and come up with nomination list for top 200.

We will do that at final stages. That's the voting. Now it should be a qualitative discussion on merits first.

Author elsslots
#32 | Posted: 9 Dec 2015 00:44 
clyde: I'd prefer to be able to choose the Top 200 from the whole WH listWe could still do this in the end, but I like doing the excercise of going through all 1031 first to get a better feel for:- how we define "the best" (iconic and unique are two criteria that already were brought forward)- sites we haven't visited ourselves (for most people that's over 50%)- balance between the variety of sites

Now we're well on our way, and in the light of the remarks made in the "Out of the race - last chance" post, I start to lean more to this point of view brought forward by Clyde. There will always be some personal favourites left, that would make your own Top 200 "personal".

See the current status: , I have been looking to present it by order of year of inclusion, another way to look at the whole batch.

Author Assif
#33 | Posted: 9 Dec 2015 09:53 | Edited by: Assif 
I can see several discrepancies between Els's list and mine:

Chengde - I guess it is out for the garden, then it is fine. For the residence there is some support.

Belem - same here. It is out as a memorial but probably in as a christian residence.

Hani - 2 supporters
After been to both Filipino and Chinese sites, I choose Hani rice terraces for its better preserve, bigger sites and more beautiful. Also much older since the new discovery that actually the sites in Philippines is only 300 years old!!

Reunion - 3 supporters
Pitons Reunion (at least we have to keep one volcanic plugs, another is already out of the list)

Lavaux - 2 supporters

Author Assif
#34 | Posted: 10 Dec 2015 04:43 
Bwindi too has some support.

Author elsslots
#35 | Posted: 18 Dec 2015 00:15 
I've now brought 210 sites over to , from categories that have been discussed fairly well.

51x Yes
62x Maybe
97x No

I think we should become a bit more strict, at least in cutting down the Maybe's.

Author Solivagant
#36 | Posted: 18 Dec 2015 01:16 | Edited by: Solivagant 
So we are running at c24% Yes and 27% Maybe.
Assming that this doesnt change as we complete the other Categories then on average we need to reduce the Maybes approx 50/50 across Y/N if we are to exclude them completely
I suggest we await reconsidering the Maybes en masse until we have done a complete run through the List.
This will clarify what we have got and still have to do. We would also have covered all the categories/ sites which overlap and where we were waiting to do a full comparison. We will also have a bigger population against which to measure the Maybes.
I am a bit reluctant to suggest it now in case we use it as an excuse to prevaricate - but I wonder if it is not a reasonable approach to leave a number of Maybes - given that we have had a full discussion as above. So we finish up with 3 categories of site - those where we as a Community have (at least near) unanimity that they are the "best", similarly for those which should not be in that list, followed by a "Category 2" List where we are genuinely undecided.
This seems rather better to me than "enforcing" a spurious division by e.g voting and itself reflects the uncertain and judgemental aspects of what we have been doing. Especially if we record in short form the reasons for which sites have been assigned to the 3 categories.
Our "personal" vote, whilst being informed by the "Community List", will be just that - a "Personal" selection. It will be interesting to see just where the personal lists differ from the Community list and reflect Nationalism, places visited etc, love of wine etc etc!

Author elsslots
#37 | Posted: 21 Dec 2015 12:17 
We're now at 433 sites:
- 88x Yes (ca. 20%)
- 134x Maybe (ca. 31%)
- 211x No (ca. 40%)

Author Assif
#38 | Posted: 21 Dec 2015 17:13 | Edited by: Assif 
In the current Yes list here is the geographic distribution out of 88:

1) Asia: 29 sites
2) Europe: 24 sites
3) Africa: 13 sites
4) North and Mesoamerica including Caribbean: 12 sites
5) South America: 7 sites
6) Oceania: 3 sites

I would say that despite our awareness this list is still fairly Eurocentric. Europe has more sites than Africa (including north), South America and Oceania combined. It has almost as many sites as Asia which is significantly larger in both population and size and features comparable (I would like to claim) richness in both culture and nature.
What can we do to counter this trend? I would say it is not enough to see we are critical of European sites. It is as important that we are not as critical of sites from other continents. It is especially important with sites from especially underrepresented areas such as Central Asia, SE Asia, the Americas, Africa and Oceania.
Maybe, as I suggested on another thread, we could best combat it by making corrective discrimination against Europe when trimming down the Maybe list. Currently it holds 56 European sites out of 134 (about 40%). In doing so maybe we could restrict the percent of European Maybe sites which may compete on moving up to the Yes list (maybe to 15% of all sites that move up). Another possible measure would be to let Maybe sites from underrepresented areas (I would say Central and North Asia, SE Asia, Subsaharan Africa, South America, Caribbean and Oceania) to automatically move up to the shortlist. Hence, only sites from better represented areas would need to compete on the rest of the spots. I would further look to European sites being disfavoured even in this context.

Author Solivagant
#39 | Posted: 22 Dec 2015 02:55 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I would say that despite our awareness this list is still fairly Eurocentric.

A few points
a. The "excess" proportion of European sites is caused to some extent both by their OVER-representation and by the UNDER-representation of other continents. We can do something about the former but not the latter. We have the "List" we have from which we are reducing - we can't bring in un-inscribed sites from other Continents even where we recognise their unfortunate absence. Nor should we exclude valuable/unique European sites just because to include them would cause arithmetic imbalance across the regions!
b. I don't think we should adopt "positive discrimination" by being "not as critical of sites from other Continents". It is an impossibility of course when making value judgements, but it would be nice to think that we had been entirely even-handed across all continents and cultures. Our lack of knowledge, different "cultural values" and limited practical visiting experience in some parts of the World will all make this difficult.
c. Different cultures have differently shaped "Heritage footprints". WHS is about "Tangible" heritage. I think it is perfectly reasonable that, for historical reasons, which we can all list, Europe is going to have a rather bigger footprint in terms of "structures" for instance than others. In this domain I would expect that, even if we had perfect judgement, then "Europe" would continue to have larger numbers of cultural sites in relation to its area and population than other continents.
d. The mixture of Cultural and Natural values in a single list has always been a problem area - the mere fact that Natural sites have other World wide (and indeed, UNESCO sponsored) lists, whereas Tangible Cultural sites do not, demonstrates that the combination of Natural and Cultural across a single List isn't entirely satisfactory. On the whole, this is an area where Europe is going to be less "strong" since it has a smaller proportion of its area still in a natural state than other Continents and also covers a smaller range of natural regions. But - how do we value a Natural biome v a cultural style and how small do we grind in each - what, in Natural terms is the equivalent level of "High Byzantine" in Cultural ones? I know that Assif wanted to correct another inequality in the List i.e the "under-representation" of Natural sites (which would of course have a geographic "knock-on" effect). My own view is that the WHS List is always going to "specialise" in Cultural matters and that Natural sites have other means of achieving recognition and protection and that we should not try to be as "granular" in representing different types of Nature as we are in representing different types of Culture. I have no answer as to how "granular" we should be in either but to illustrate -for Cultural sites we should perhaps aim at representing "Sub-sub-categories", whereas for Natural ones we should only aim at "Sub-Categories"? If we do this then a number of African, Meso-American etc Natural sites get excluded simply because we are just not aiming to be so "specific" at the "specialist level" for them.

So, in my view, we should accept that European sites are inevitably still going to be proportionally over-represented in our results and should not adopt any form of discrimination against them to prevent this. Our aim should be to reduce the Eurocentricity of the List solely by
a. Removing duplication of similar sites (and sometimes this action will impact non-European sites too - e.g similar forested Natural sites and all those African CLs?)
b. Measuring "value" using the same scale at least across Cultural sites - this means not grinding to the level of "different periods" of a style for the European whilst only going to the level of a single representation across a massive period for the non- European.
c. Trying to filter out our personal preferences and fill our knowledge gaps when choosing sites for this exercise. I have already found that a major interest in making the choices so far has not been the repetition of my pre-existing preferences but the attempt to understand each site via reading at least its AB evaluation!! Similarly regarding the discussions regarding e.g non Christian religious sites

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 Do we need more top lists?

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