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Heritage Unbounded

Sep 25, 2018

With its rice terraces and water temples, the subaks of Bali’s cultural landscape blend the natural, cultural, and spiritual through a cooperative social system of management. The 2012 designation of the Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the Subak System as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy, as a World Heritage site, brought about the potential for additional preservation alongside increased tourism but continued challenges to site management remain.

Dr. Stephen Lansing, co-director of the Complexity Institute & a Professor in the Asian School of the Environment at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, talks about these challenges and potentials. Dr. Lansing worked on the successful nomination of Bali as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The nomination efforts developed out of his study of the subaks and water temple networks of Bali, a system key to the World Heritage site’s eventual designation.

Learn more about the UNESCO nomination process, the subsequent impacts on site management, and the future of Bali’s cultural landscapes.

Documents related to the World Heritage Site of Bali referenced in the podcast are available at UNESCO.

Additional links to Dr. Lansing’s work on Bali’s subaks including publications, film, and video are available at