A concern for preserving features of the built and natural environment stretches back for several millennia, but only over the past century or so has there been a concerted and systematic effort to work towards saving these types of places. Many such Top 10 endangered places or buildings lists are released every year, but one of the more intriguing is the biennial list of the top 100 most endangered sites issued by the World Monuments Fund, headquartered in New York. This year the list includes sites on all seven continents -- as one of the sites is the expedition hut of the noted explorer Ernest Shackleton, located in Antarctica. The list of sites is compiled from hundreds of local nominations, and selected by a panel of 10 international experts. The list also includes such sites as Lower Manhattan, the entire steam-powered former railway system of Paraguay, and the Nineveh and Nimrud Palaces in Iraq. All of the sites on the list are threatened in some form or fashion, ranging from such conditions as war, general neglect, and encroachment from an influx of tourists.
The first site will take visitors to a news piece from the online edition of Archeology Magazine about the recent list. The second link leads to another news piece from the Voice Of American news service that includes an audio version of the report by journalist Barbara Schoetzau. The third link leads to the homepage of the World Monuments Fund where visitors can learn about outreach programs and peruse the complete list of the 100 most endangered sites. The fourth link leads to the 2003 list of America's Most Endangered Historic Places, as selected by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. That list includes the Modernist TWA Terminal at JFK International Airport, the historic bathhouses in Hot Springs National Park, and the Ocmulgee Old Fields in Macon, Georgia. The fifth link takes visitors to a list of the 24 new sites added this past July to the World Heritage list roster, which includes Franciscan missions in Mexico and the wooden churches of southern Little Poland. The final site takes users to the homepage of the Edinburgh World Heritage Site, which is one of the few major urban areas to be so designated (along with parts of Prague) in the Western world.