World Heritage : Inventory of Earthen Architecture
Earthen architecture is one of the most original and powerful expressions of our human ability to create a built environment using locally available resources. It includes a great variety of architectural and urban manifestations, ranging from simple houses to palaces, from granaries to religious buildings, and further to historic city centers, cultural landscapes, and archaeological sites. The evidence of its cultural importance through-out the world has led to its consideration as a common heritage of humankind, therefore deserving protection and conservation by the international community. Earth architecture plays a vital role in defining the identity of local communities, involving sustainable building techniques and often conveying true artistic expression. There is a growing interest in its ability to contribute to social, ecological and cultural development. However, earthen architecture is increasingly affected by natural and human threats, including floods and earthquakes, damage caused by industrialization, urbanization, mod-ern building technologies, disappearance of traditional conservation practices, etc. It is thus not surprising that about ¼ of sites included in the World Heritage List of sites in Danger.