Town of Luang Prabang is located at the Luang Prabang provice, which is situated at the Northern part of Laos. Town of Luang Prabang was inscribed as the world heritage site in 1995 based on the following Outstanding Universal Values:
Criterion (ii): Luang Prabang reflects the exceptional fusion of Lao traditional architecture and 19th and 20th century European colonial style buildings.
Criterion (iv): Luang Prabang is an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble built over the centuries combining sophisticated architecture of religious buildings, vernacular constructions and colonial buildings.
Criterion (v): The unique townscape of Luang Prabang is remarkably well preserved, illustrating a key stage in the blending of two distinct cultural traditions.
This research project aims to promote sustainable development using integrated approach, by motivating local experts and communities to participate in the cultural heritage preservation and development.
Since the beginning of our collaboration with Department of World Heritage, Luang Prabang (DPL), multiple needs assessments were carried out to identify most applicable and useful information and communication technology to assist sound development of heritage site of Luang Prabang. Collaborative works have ranged from development of heritage database with open source software, management of landscape using VR panorama, establishment of knowledge management system, chronological analysis on landscape and environmental changes using GIS, development of mobile learning application for public awareness, to riverbank management using drone. Through various project activities, we have closely worked with local architects, urban planners, ICT specialists on specific activities with technologies to help develop strong local human resources. Our evidence-based analysis was presented in special symposiums to commemorate 15th and 20th anniversaries of World Heritage inscription of Luang Prabang in 2010 and 2015. The following section illustrates the summary of our collaboration.
Summary of Projects
Phase 4: 2017 – Present Present Research on Sustainable Introduction of GIS Analysis for Preserving Landscape of World Heritage Site in Lao PDR
DPL is revising Heritage Development and Preservation Master Plan (PSMV) including regulations on construction at the present which is 23 years after the World Heritage inscription. For the revision, the analysis of the landscape changes is an urgent need for DPL to reflect the result of the analysis of the revised PSMV. Besides, DPL needs to reflect the opinions on the current regulations of local residents in the next PSMV. As a result, Tokyo Tech team focuses especially on buildings, analyses the landscape changes using GIS, and surveys reasons behind the changes by questionnaire in collaboration with DPL staff. In the end, it aims at making the result useful to DPL for revising the current PSMV.
The analysis was conducted with 6 attributes: 1) building usage; 2) building architecture; 3) building materials; 4) building roof materials; 5) building story; and 6) building condition.
The examples are shown below.
Example 1: Building Architecture
Example 2: Building Materials
Example 3: Roof materials
Phase 3: 2013 – 2015 Research and Practice on Sustainable ICT Application for World Heritage Site in Developing Country
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) had been rapidly developed, so the necessity for reviewing methodologies of previous project activities was becoming important. Responding to the necessity, the following three activities related to the application of ICT were conducted for the sustainable heritage preservation: 1) introduction of mobile learning application; 2) pond and wetland analysis using GIS; and 3) application of drone for riverbank monitoring activities. To be concrete, development of mobile learning application for raising public awareness of heritage preservation, visualization and analysis of ponds and wetlands using GIS, and application of a drone to monitor the riverbank from the sky, were conducted. In these activities, it aimed not only at introducing and utilize new ICTs but considering the sustainable methodologies of ICTs by comparing the previous project activities
Workshop on Mobile learning application
Workshop on Monitoring of the riverbank using drone
Workshop on GIS analysis of ponds and wetlands
- Institute of Technology was awarded a medal of friendship in the 20th world heritage site inscription anniversary
- The 2nd UNESCO Mobile Learning Week in Paris, February 18th to 19th
Phase 2: 2009 – 2011 GIS Development in World Heritage Sites in Developing Countries
According to “Reactive Monitoring Mission to the Town of Luang Prabang World Heritage Property, Lao PDR” published by UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 2007, Luang Prabang might be enlisted as heritage in danger due to increasing illegal construction in the heritage area if there were without any protection policy. There are regulations on heritage preservation, but the current management system is not capable to conduct an effective analysis. Therefore, GIS analysis was considered as an effective method for effective analysis. In this research, the application of GIS for the sustainable World Heritage development was investigated. In addition to GIS, two activities were conducted: 1) development of Virtual reality (VR) panorama street view to visually manage the landscape; and 2) Knowledge Management System “Evernote” was introduced and applied to share information between DPL and Tokyo Tech, and to sustainably manage knowledge for training future staff.
Workshop on VR panorama
Workshop on Knowledge Management System
Workshop on GIS analysis of six core villages
- Summary of Project Activities
Phase 1: 2005 – 2007 Application of ICT to Promote Sustainable Development, A Case Study: Town of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR
From 2005 to 2007, the joint project “Application of ICT to Promote Sustainable Development, A Case Study: Town of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR” was implemented between UNESCO, the Maison du Patrimoine (MdP) which is Luang Prabang’s core administrative organization concerned with heritage, and Tokyo Tech. Tokyo Tech undertook the project to introduce proper Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), with the goal of emphasizing the importance of the conservation agenda in sustainable developing while also building the capacity of the local population to use such technologies. Through the project, two application of ICT for conservation and sustainable development were identified. First, the development of database. The database was created to make effective management and utilization of significant information on Luang Prabang. Second, the establishment of ICT center. ICT center was established to provide ease access to information and knowledge on the World Heritage Site to local communities and visitors.
- Interim report of local activities No.1 (2005.04~2006.03)
- Interim report of local activities No.2 (2006.04~2006.12)
- Interim report of local activities No.3 (2007.01~2007.12)