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WHS Hotspots

 
 
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Author nfmungard
Partaker
#31 | Posted: 5 Jul 2018 05:00 | Edited by: nfmungard 
Solivagant:
If we start duplicating Hotspots a few kms away from each other but with virtually the same WHS within them where do we stop??

The Turin hotspot does not group the same WHS locations that the Milan hotspot does. It also represents a separate historic entity (Piedmont) and is well worth the hotspot as it ties together all these sites. Finally, unlike Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield Turin is a WHS itself.

Author elsslots
Admin
#32 | Posted: 5 Jul 2018 13:26 
I started with removing Portovenere from the Milan hotspot, and adding Ivrea there.

Looking at the Milan hotspot, I think it is stretched too far across all of Northern Italy (although the travel times might be perfectably doable as the transport connections are very good from there). I think its situation is quite similar to Brussels: from Brussels it is also easy to get to the Paris and Amsterdam hotspots, but one would not stay in Brussels to visit sites close to Amsterdam or Paris. We have limited the Brussels hotspot in scope accordingly.

So we could:
- keep Turin hotspot
- keep Veneto hotspot
- trim the Milan hotspot to its immediate surroundings and without much overlap with the Turin and Veneto hotspots (name different locations for example would be a bonus)

Author Caspar
Partaker
#33 | Posted: 6 Jul 2018 16:20 
I was looking at the Amsterdam hotspot: Antwerpen with Plantin and belfry is 1.20h by train and Lier with its beguinage and belfry well under two hours. Shouldn't they qualify?

Author elsslots
Admin
#34 | Posted: 7 Jul 2018 04:06 
Caspar:
I was looking at the Amsterdam hotspot: Antwerpen with Plantin and belfry is 1.20h by train and Lier with its beguinage and belfry well under two hours. Shouldn't they qualify?

They have been deliberately excluded, see my story in #32 about the Brussels, Amsterdam and Paris hotspots. Even Paris is a doable day trip from Amsterdam. Maybe I can point out in the description that most of the Brussels hotspot is doable on a day trip from Amsterdam too.

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#35 | Posted: 7 Jul 2018 06:25 
elsslots:
Maybe I can point out in the description that most of the Brussels hotspot is doable on a day trip from Amsterdam too.

I thought about showing neighboring hotspots as an alternative. We could add these to the site map and put a comment in how "close" they are.

For me the goal would be to show hotspots as cultural / historical entities and less as an introduction to a country's high speed rail network.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#36 | Posted: 7 Jul 2018 07:58 | Edited by: Solivagant 
nfmungard:
I thought about showing neighboring hotspots as an alternative. We could add these to the site map and put a comment in how "close" they are.
For me the goal would be to show hotspots as cultural / historical entities

Sounds good -
a. "Hot spots" are Regions/Areas with one or more potential "centres" depending on transport, personal wishes etc.
b. We could have a "macro map(s)" for hotspots - Worldwide and/or Region - we really need a "view" which is bigger than "Country" in order to highlight hotspots which either cross countries or are adjacent - but only to have a "Worldwide" map is probably too big? We could subdivide the, now, rather long list (86??) of Hotspots, by Region so that geographically adjacent ones were more "identifiable".
c. Hotspot names could be adjusted to be more "regional" - not absolutely but, as per recent discussions, Turin could become "Piedmont" with Turin as centre and Milan could become "Lombardy" with Milan as centre.
d. Duplication of sites in more than one Hot spot could be reduced (but not necessarily totally eradicated so as to allow for WHS with locations in more than one region). So the WHS currently duplicated in the Turin hotspot would be removed from the Milan Hotspot. Anyone staying in Milan could easily identify the existence of the Turin hotspot and make their personal plans "accordingly". There would thus be a reduced pressure to include sites in a hotspot which were at or beyond the practicalities of day return travel - at least where there are adjacent hotspots!
e. No need immediately to change names of all or many hotspots - could be an evolutionary approach.

Author Sjobe
Partaker
#37 | Posted: 7 Jul 2018 13:55 
What I have understood from the previous messages, the rules for hotspot sites are as following:
- public transport
- travel time under 4 hours one way
- back to center within the same day
- distance no more than 200 km from the center
- practical considerations, citing Els: "should be realistically practical to go back and forth within a day (given circumstances such as road conditions, border crossings, opening hours of the WHS, availability of transport at all etc)".

I think the last one is very important factor that can be easily forgotten when one is too much concentrated on travel time and distance. I also wonder how many of the hotspots are estimated by driving a private car to the site. Looking the hotspots there are some sites which are just under or even over the threshold of 4 hours travel or 200 km. It makes me think how many of above mentioned practicalities have been taken into consideration.

Anyway, these are my quick suggestions:

Helsinki hotspot

The Helsinki hotspot should be removed because Struve sites are not doable from Helsinki according to our rules (public transport under 4 h and back the same day). I have studied bus timetables carefully but I didn't find a way to make it. I think also that Helsinki is not really a hotspot place as we understand it.

Stockholm hotspot

Visby should be removed because the trip (bus/train + ferry + change time) takes about five hours one way.

Moscow hotspot

Yaroslavl should be removed because, even though it is doable just under 4 hours travel one way, the distance from the centre is more than 250 km.

There are also some hotspots without center. Some of the cases are quite obvious but some are not. It would be nice if someone could add the center and explain how one could visit all the sites from that center.

Note! It would be reasonable to update the text "Cluster of at least 4 WHS within reach for a return day trip from a center". It would be informative especially for new members if the sentence includes also the details.

Author Assif
Partaker
#38 | Posted: 7 Jul 2018 15:26 | Edited by: Assif 
Thanks for your suggestions, Sjobe. I agree we should be looking more carefully into our hotspots. However, it seems we are now discussing to different interpretation of hotspots:

1) What is reasonably close to be done from a centre - practicality test.
2) What makes sense to do from a centre due to geographic coherence, e.g. regional historic identity.

I think the latter is worth having regardless of hotspots - I would be in favour of listing regions such as Tuscany with all their respective WHS even if they can be reached from a common centre within a day. This would not constitute a hotspot though as we have defined it, but maybe could become a new type of connection (a region/province with more than 4 WHS).
For the hotspots I would prefer a stricter approach than practiced so far. Maybe we should take go through all the hotspots and reevaluate the feasibility according to the definition above.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#39 | Posted: 7 Jul 2018 15:53 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Sjobe:
What I have understood from the previous messages, the rules for hotspot sites are as following:
- public transport
- travel time under 4 hours one way

Those could indeed be the rules we adopt but i don't think we have been using them up until now.
I have found a post i made in July 2011 above on this topic
"Alternatively we could base the maximum distance on what can be done by public transport from a centre but it is a fact that many/most of us are likely to have a car - but there are also practical considerations like fuel costs which anyone planning trips would take into account. A drive of 2.5 hours each way plus 2-3 hours to see a site plus an hour or so for refreshments etc is a perfectly reasonable day trip but I would suggest that we regard 200 kms each way as the reasonable distance which should be covered for the purpose of a "Hot Spot" Connection both for time and cost reasons - yes, much greater distances could be done and, I suppose if someone has come from the other side of the world, and driving 400 kms each way in a day is the ONLY way they are going to be able to see a particular site then they would do it (as would I!)."
No one gainsaid this and I believe we have been operating generally on
a. Private transport is allowed
b. 200kms each way max (even though it might be possible to travel far more than this and back in a day either with private or public transport (Motorway or Hi speed train)
That is not to say of course that we have maintained these rules religiously - both becuase they were not that clear and because we WH travellers are nothing if not "creative" when devising plans and itineraries and there has undoubtedly been a tendency to stretch the rules in order to be so!!
But, as we said before, the aim was never to identify the FURTHEST one might be able to travel out and back in a day but to highlight areas where there were at least 4 WHS "reasonably close" to each other. nfmungard's proposal to identify other near or overlapping hotspots would provide the basis for people to devise their own itineraries at the pace which suits them best

Author Sjobe
Partaker
#40 | Posted: 7 Jul 2018 17:08 | Edited by: Sjobe 
Solivagant:
No one gainsaid this and I believe we have been operating generally on
a. Private transport is allowed
b. 200kms each way max

OK, I tried to gather information about what has been said about this but I have understood it wrong. I checked again and Els has indeed mentioned "mode of transport is unspecified, but I prefer to see public transport links" but "WHS lies at most 200km from center". Four hours travel time seems to be my interpretation of what have been usually accepted to a hotspot and what is not. The rules of hotspot are a bit unclear for me – what is accepted and what is not. But that is not a big problem:)

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#41 | Posted: 8 Jul 2018 01:32 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I have tried to go back to basics on this
a. We started the concept as far back as 2008 (!! https://www.worldheritagesite.org/forums/index.php?action=vthread&forum=5&topic=5 ) to help us WH Travellers identify WHS which were reasonably "close together" and could therefere potentially "yield" a lot of WHS visits for relatively little travelling..
b. At the time the only tool to help with this which showed WHS was the UNESCO "interactive map" - http://whc.unesco.org/en/interactive-map/ . It was pretty useless then - and still is!! Zooming is slow and awkward, it doesn't show national boundaries, cities, roads etc, nor individual WHS locations and it has no indication of scale (an early idea was to base hotspots on "radii" from locations on these maps)
c. Since then (2007 WHC) another 242 WHC have been inscribed, many more places/areas have become "Hot spots" and our knowledge of all the WHS and their locations has increased considerably so we understand their locations better -and thus identify more hotspots!.
d. We have introduced our own Mapping - far superior to that of UNESCO, it shows all WH locations and is fully integrated with more detailed maps. We also have preset "country" and also "Hot spot" views to assist with zooming. But it too still has its "weaknesses" - for instance at any particular "zoom" level one cannot easily know the scale.
e. We now have 86 "hotspots" identified and it has actually become a bit hard to know where hotspots are - one has to read all the way through the list to find one (if you know what you are looking for) - and even then do we really know what we are likely to "find" in the "Saxony-Anhalt" hotspot for instance?? If you simply want to know whether there is a hotspot in a particular region then you must "guess" what it might be called! We have also not been entirely consistent in determining and applying "definitions" for hot spots with a tendency to be "creative" in identifying WHS which could be included!
f. One could ask if the Hotspot concept actually adds much now. It doesn't require an Einstein to look at our maps and, reasonably quickly, identify areas with lots of "dots" - on the basis of which we could each do our own individual planning! I think it does but we are still caught between the twin objectives of showing both "geographic proximity" and "travel practicality". My view is that "travel practicality" is too complex a subject to try to cover in a hotspot - both in terms of all the alternative modes available and different "travel styles". (I think of our "joke hotspot" where we showed that Warsaw was achievable in a day return from London!!!) We have reviews for such matters after all.
g. So - I think we should limit definition of Hotspots to "geographic" rather than "travel practicality" rules (whilst still excluding "impossible" transborder or mountain crossings etc!!). I suggest that wee should also address Assif's suggestion for "Cultural hotspots" i.e. all WHs related to Italian, German, French etc "provinces" separately. If we adopt "Geographic proximity as the basis for Hotspots" e.g a strict 200kms radius, Then does it really matter if we duplicate WHS across several adjacent hotspots? If we are going to have tightly defined hotspots however I think we do need a "tool" to identify them and where they are on a bigger map. Also we need to make it easier to see them in relation to each other. A regional Hot spot map could achieve this. It could also be useful if Hotspot maps had a preset (or even "amendable") "Radius circle" on them to show, whatever the zoom, where the 200kms lay? Is this possible?
h. There remains the issue of "Hotspot centres" - if the 200 km rule is to be paramount then the determination and location of the "centre" becomes more important and the area covered is defined by it - but where do we stop - Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and Liverpool each as a separate centre for a Northern England Hotspot?? That would just complicate matters unnecessarily! We need some "rule"/"convention" to avoid excessive duplication and overlaps - possibly along the lines that any "hotspot" needs to have at least 25% (??) of its WHS unique to it?? I don't see that a "centre" actually possessing a WHS is relevant. Also we would need to avoid choosing some tin pot village just because it "conveniently" encompasses an extra WHS within its 200kms radius!!
i. I don't think that the above suggestions would mean a large scale revamp of our existing hotspots - we can take our time to
i. provide the new "Hot spot map" to assist identifying location of hotspots and adjacent ones
ii. Make sure all Hotspots have a centre and a radius on the map if possible?
iii. Review the geographic limits of WHS in each hotspot.
iv Introduce new hotspots where justified

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#42 | Posted: 8 Jul 2018 05:07 | Edited by: nfmungard 
Sjobe:
Stockholm hotspot

Visby should be removed because the trip (bus/train + ferry + change time) takes about five hours one way.

Moscow hotspot

Yaroslavl should be removed because, even though it is doable just under 4 hours travel one way, the distance from the centre is more than 250 km.

Seeing both additions were from me, my counter argument.

First of all, I think hotspots should serve the community by providing travel ideas. Often a site may look way too far and it may never occur to you, but there is actually a way to see it. E.g. there is a direct bus to the Iwami Silver Mine from Hiroshima, even though you cross the full island to get there.

The recent discussion were focused on sites being repeated in multiple hotspots. E.g. most sites in Berlin Hotspot can be done from Hamburg Hotspot without any complications as a day trip. I regularly go to Berlin to work there for a full day and it's easy possible. Same by the way applies to the Sachsen Anhalt one, too. While it may make sense to show a site like Wittenberg both for Berlin and Sachsen Anhalt as it lies on the border, showing Berliner Siedlungen der Moderne for Hamburg seems weird. Last but not least, if we had a Frankfurt hotspot it would essentially cover most of Germany due to Frankfurts central location in Germany and the highspeed railway network.

For this reason we tried to come up with a clearer definition of what hotspot a site/location should show in. For me the goal was on not having the same site repeat X-times just because there is a fast train from e.g. Paris to nearly everywhere in France. The proposal was to look for cultural/historic entities in these cases. To me it was not about taking away valuable information what is logistically feasible in cases where a site only matches one hotspot anyhow.

Now in the two mentioned cases:
* Yaroslawl is part of the golden ring and clearly belongs to the greater Moscow cultural area as a consequence. It also belongs to no other hotspot and it is well served by a day of visit. If you visit Moscow, doing a trip to Yaroslawl is stressful, but feasible. The train left this morning at 7:35 and arrived at 10:53h. The return train is available at 13:52 arriving at 17:10h. Thanks to www.bahn.de. 3h seem fine, especially knowing this is not a high speed train but a normal russian train and the overall distance isn't that great.
* Visby is only listed in the Stockholm hotspot. It is also offered as a packaged deal from Stockholm, i.e. the bus connections are perfectly synced to the ferry arrivals/departures. It can be done in a day (I even made it to Kalmar the same say without synced buses). They even show the bus departure/arrival times for Stockholm. https://www.destinationgotland.se/en/ferry/about-your-trip/before-crossing/bus-and-tr ain-connections/. If I was travelling today, the bus would leave at 9:25 arriving 14:25. Return trip would be 17:45h-22:00h. A long day indeed, but every WHS traveller can make up their mind if they want to do this. Or not. But they should at least be aware that such an option exists.

Author Sjobe
Partaker
#43 | Posted: 8 Jul 2018 07:09 
Solivagant:
My view is that "travel practicality" is too complex a subject to try to cover in a hotspot

Actually I think that if we had this restricted to only public transportation, as I incorrectly thought it would be, then hotspots according to travel practicality would be quite a simple thing. I think them as "user cases/scenarios".

A "user case/scenario" could be like following. Take some specific day and ask some practical questions. If you answer "Yes" to all the questions and you are able to verify this process, then you have a site to a hotspot:
1) Is a site open this day, what are the opening times?
2) Is the distance to center less than 200 km?
3) Is there public transportation to the site?
4) In the timetable, is there realistically doable option back and forth in less than, say 4 hours one way?
5) Given the combination of the opening times and travel time, is there enough time to visit and experience a site properly?
6) Are some other practical questions possible / taken into account: change times, border crossings, required walking times to and inside a site, etc?

To me, who use almost entirely public transport when travelling, this kind of hotspot thinking would give real value. Using private car is totally different thing – everything is easily and quickly reachable. You can come and go whenever you want. These two types of travel would come to very different hotspot lists.

Author Sjobe
Partaker
#44 | Posted: 8 Jul 2018 07:23 
nfmungard:
Often a site may look way too far and it may never occur to you, but there is actually a way to see it.

I agree.

nfmungard:
For this reason we tried to come up with a clearer definition of what hotspot a site/location should show in... The proposal was to look for cultural/historic entities in these cases.

I absolutely second those.

nfmungard:
Now in the two mentioned cases

I know these two are totally doable and I could see myself doing those the same way. At the same time my proposals have been turned down because of over 200 km distance or more than 4 hours of travel time. Of course there could be also some other reasons for not to accept them, but I try to find out if there are some common and consistent rules for this.

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#45 | Posted: 25 Jul 2018 05:29 
not sure what the south china see hotspot refers to, but these sites certainly fail to meet the hotspot criteria. meanwhile, it may make more sense to check for more chinese hotspots (guangzhou?) using the local rail way network.

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