All urban communities, whether they have developed gradually over time or have been
created deliberately, are an expression of the diversity of societies throughout history.
This charter concerns historic urban areas, large and small, including cities, towns and
historic centres or quarters, together with their natural and man-made environments.
Beyond their role as historical documents, these areas embody the values of traditional
urban cultures. Today many such areas are being threatened, physically degraded,
damaged or even destroyed, by the impact of the urban development that follows
industrialisation in societies everywhere.