Cultural sustainability of historic cities Notes on conservation projects in Cairo Ashraf M.A. Salama, Ph.D. IAPS-16, IAPS 2000 Conference Metropolis 21st

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  • Cultural sustainability of historic cities Notes on conservation projects in Cairo Ashraf M.A. Salama, Ph.D. IAPS-16, IAPS 2000 Conference Metropolis 21st century: Cities,Social Life and Sustainable Development Paris, France 4/7 July 2000 Presented by Muge Riza
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  • Framework Introduction The nature of conservation Conservation and cultural sustainability: a conceptual model The European experience on integrated urban conservation Example Cairo Conclusion
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  • Cairo Today
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  • Cairo in the 19 th century La place Sala el-Dn, with Sultan Hassan mosque Typical City houses
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  • Introduction Historic cities are an important indicator of cultural sustainability and sustainable urban conservation. They are witnesses of urban heritage and part of cultural change and development The aim of this paper is to introduce a scenario for cultural sustainability of historic cities, where the needs of the inhabitants are also considered
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  • The nature of conservation Conservation means the act of conserving, which is defined as the controlled use and the systematic protection of resources, natural or built Historic cities are characterized by three factors: population growth and rapid urbanisation, need of more housing and the rapid growth of new mega-cities They face several physical problems as lack of maintenance, inadequate repair of historic buildings or environmental pollution
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  • The nature of conservation The old city of Cairo has been declared by the UNESCO as a world heritage site But historic conservation can be seen as a relatively new discipline compared to European countries Most of the conservation activities in the core of old Cairo focused till now on single buildings, not considering the surrounding environment But conservation must be used in a dynamic or active way, including the whole environment considering the socio-cultural factors, the needs of the people
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  • Conservation and cultural sustainability: a conceptual model Conservation in historic cities can be seen as a process of sustainable development Although the awareness for the need of an overall approach considering the environmental issues is growing, a new model for cultural sustainable conservation is needed Local knowledge and culture must be considered as important factors of cultural sustainable conservation
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  • Conservation and cultural sustainability: a conceptual model The author proposed a conceptual model based on three keywords: participation, reuse and building craft Local people of historic areas have to participate in the conservation process, their opinions should be considered Historical buildings and areas should be kept in beneficial use The conservation should be done with the help of skilled craftsmen
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  • The European experience on integrated urban conservation In 1975 the Council of Europe introduced the term integrated conservation, which deals both with the physical loss of urban heritage and the social maintenance of the existing population As a result the built heritage is a part of the social life and for the benefit of present and future generations The elements of Cultural heritage are non- renewable resources, which need to be managed for the use of the society (European Urban Charter(1993))
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  • Conservation projects in historic Cairo Over the last 50 years several conservation proposals and studies have been made to conserve the historic city core With the declaration of historic Cairo as a world cultural heritage in 1980 by UNESCO new attempts started Various proposals and concepts are identified under the heading Conservation of the old City Of Cairo, UNESCO, 1982, Rehabilitation and Upgrading, But most of them are focused on single building restoration and are not realized yet
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  • Example: Al Darb Al Asfar project The Al Darb Al Asraf district in the old Cairo is a good example for a cultural sustainable conservation approach The restoration in this area started with three single buildings, then the surrounding also get improved Around 100 families live in this district and they were asked to participate in the conservation process Regular meetings and discussions were held, so the families form a neighbourhood society to preserve their district
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  • Example: Al Darb Al Asfar project Adaptive reuse has also been considered Some representative residential architecture from the 19th century were now used for cultural purposes, as museums, or neighbourhood house This project is unfortunately one of the few good examples in old Cairo, which is interested in the urban heritage with an integrating approach of all factors, like buildings, area and social life of the people
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  • Example: Al Darb Al Asfar project Renovation of El Suhaymi House(1648) in the Al Darb Al Asfar District, funded by Fund Arab Association For social Development
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  • Example: Al Darb Al Asfar project Al-Suhaymi house after renovation Sharia Darb al-Asfar street
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  • Example: Al Darb Al Asfar project Houses build in 1796 Jumba is called mashrubbeyeh.
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  • Conclusion Urban conservation in historic cities is a culturally sustainable process of change and development, which involves restoration, demolition and the physical and socio- economic impacts Sustainable conservation deals with the whole surrounding including the inhabitants In the case of The old City of Cairo all the approaches till now have to be reconsidered and a vision of preserving the old city as a living social and physical entity must be developed.
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  • References Ashraf M.A. Salama, Ph.D.,(2000) `Cultural sustainability of historic cities :Notes on conservation projects in Cairo` IAPS 2000 Conference Metropolis 21st century: Cities, Social Life and Sustainable Development,4-7 July 2000,Paris www.cs.indiana.edu www.ub.uio.no www.westmont.edu perso.orange.fr www.arabfund.org