The World Monuments Fund (WMF) has announced its 2018 watch list of heritage sites threatened by conflict, natural disaster, climate change, urban development and neglect. Among them are the historic Souk of Aleppo, which was burnt and badly damaged during the ongoing Syrian Civil War; Blackpool Piers in England, threatened by rising sea levels; a series of sites in Alabama tied to the Civil Rights Movement; the Italian city of Amatrice, which was completely destroyed by a 2016 earthquake; and locations in the Caribbean, the US Gulf coast and Mexico that were hit by recent hurricanes and earthquakes—a last minute addition.

“Each of the 2018 Watch sites has deeply significant human meaning,” said the fund’s new director Joshua David, who took part in the full selection process for the first time. “They are places where we live, work, create, play, and worship. They tell stories about the people who built them originally and the people who inhabit them now.”

David, who joined the fund in 2015, was previously the president and co-founder of Friends of the High Line, the group that spearheaded the drive to preserve the elevated railway on Manhattan’s far west side and turn it into a public park. During a press conference held at the fund’s headquarters in the Empire State Building on Monday, he highlighted four major themes connecting sites on this year’s list showing how today’s big social issues apply to the field of heritage, from human conflict to climate change. Read more