The 20th anniversary since the historic centre of Riga has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List

The historical centre of Riga is a town-constructive monument with a unique landscape consisting of the multifunctional character of the city centre and it’s unique architecture – Art Nouveau buildings, the circle of boulevards, wooden structures etc.

In Riga’s various planning documents, which are within the competence of the City Development Department, special attention is paid to the panorama and silhouette of the historical centre of Riga, it’s prospects and scenes in the Daugava landscape. Preserving the cultural heritage, monitoring and adapting the new trends to the historical environment also transmits the vision and objectives set out in the ‘’Riga Sustainable Development Strategy 2030’’.

It should be remembered that at the time when the historic centre was included in the World Heritage List, there was a transition from the centralized urban planning system of the State to the planning of local governments. A planning authority was established in Riga and a new Riga Development Plan was developed, which came into force in 1995. However, this layout provided  a too general look for the complicated central part of the city and therefore a separate unit was set up to ensure the planning of the spatial development of the historic centre. The most significant accomplishment in this area is the territory planning of the historic centre of Riga and its protection zone approved in 2006.

At present, the development of local planning for two strategically important urban areas of the city- the Skanste area and the northern part of Zaķusala- has been finished. The development of  local planning for track area of a national landmark railway line “Rail Baltica” will continue. Some elaborate detailed planning with a high degree of detail should also be noted- Andrejsala Detailed Planning, Detailed Planning of the Andrejosta Territory, Detailed Planning of the Area of ​​the Latvian Riflemen Territory etc.

The Department has already implemented several significant urban development projects in the territory of the historical centre of Riga and its protection zone – Revitalization of the Spīķeri quarter and the creation of the Daugava embankment promenade from the Railway Bridge to the Salu Bridge; Grīziņkalns Park and Ziedoņdārza Reconstruction. Work on the next projects has begun – 1st stage revitalization of Riga Central Market Quarter, 1st stage revival of Skanste territory and rebuilding of Mūkusala embankment promenade.

The status of the UNESCO World Heritage Site makes it possible for the city of Riga to be seen in the context of global urban competition, while at the same time it sets higher requirements for real estate owners – maintenance of buildings and territories, construction of new objects and high-standard renovation of public outdoor space.

In order to compensate for the difficulties that have been created regarding the public benefit, local government support to real estate owners is gradually expanding and diversifying.

With the aim of promoting the preservation and restoration of the cultural heritage for the public benefit, the municipality of Riga grants significant real estate tax rebates to owners of cultural monuments and properly maintained buildings of cultural heritage as well as  provides support for the co-funding of the restoration or renovation of buildings.

Thinking about the future, we have begun work on an in-depth advancement of a number of complex issues of the city centre in the development of new planning documents related to the creation of high-quality public spaces, strengthening of housing functions, preservation of cultural heritage, and it will be the basis for an integrated management plan for the Riga Historical Centre and its protection zone. . Such an approach will contribute to the preservation of the values ​​of the world importance and the fulfilment of the international commitments that we, as a state and its capital, have undertaken to accede to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

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