World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010


REHABILITATION ET REVITALISATION DES CENTRES HISTORIQUES MEDITERRANEENS - 5/7: Revitalization and Rehabilitation in Practice (130) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED date: TUE 20, 2.30-4.30 pm

· NOT_DEFINED institution: Association RehabiMed (Spain)

· NOT_DEFINED organizer: Xavier Casanovas

· NOT_DEFINED sponsor: Association RehabiMed (Spain)

· NOT_DEFINED language: English

· NOT_DEFINED description: In the framework of the 3rd World Congress of Middle Eastern and North African Studies (WOCMES), RehabiMed is organizing a space for the exchange of experiences in interventions in historic centres, a meeting place where groups of experts working in the Mediterranean and Middle East can debate situations and solutions, and a space of reflection for politicians who want to promote the recovery of historic centres.
Urban studies in the Middle East and the Mediterranean cover various disciplines. The experience of recovering the architecture of a historic centre includes the collaboration of social and cultural disciplines such as archaeology, demography, economy, education, geography, history and sociology, among others.

Chair: Mohammed El-Khalili (Queen Rania's institute of Tourism and Heritage of Zarqa, Jordan)

Paper presenter: El-Khalili (Queen Rania's institute of Tourism and Heritage of Zarqa, Jordan), “The interrelation between the new architecture “infill architecture projects” and the Historic centers a new methodology in the Protection from the hazard “A case study from Jordan”
All the countries worldwide are driving now more efforts toward the conservation of the historical centers and the revival of their role within the modern urban development from the fact that it contributes in the economical development and its socioeconomic benefits as a part of the community’s identity and their importance in the inspiration of new ideas for shaping the bases of the new city as well as its historical character.
The international movement toward preserving the architectural heritage is now more urgent since the burst of modern needs combined with the erection of huge landmarks and structures within the cities has put the historical heritage in a shadowlike marginalized role which may cause them later to be dissolved within its contemporary surrounding environment, especially the vertical growth of this development, which destruct the visual context of the historical centers and put them in a situation to be considered as an obstacle for the development of the modern city.
One of the main reasons of the disturbance of the historical centers is the lack of the legislations for the protection of the architectural heritage as well as the weakness in the conducted comprehensive urban plans to successfully implement the conservation demands.
In this paper I dealing with the historical centers recovery and protection within the contemporary environmental changes in some cities and highlighting a case from Jordan the city of Irbid to draw new methods in dealing with the disturbed and endangered historical centers by introducing new innovative scientific methodologies to revive the architectural heritage, simultaneously finding common characters between the old city and the new installations.
In Jordan, we have several cases regarding this issue such as Amman, Jerash, Irbid and Umm Qais. What is common about these cities that the architectural heritage faced genuine threats from the urban development. Therefore we tried to make a comparative analysis among these cases to find the best procedures that could be taken to save the threatened sites not only in in Jordan but also for general international cases. In other words trying to rehabilitate these sites and reviving their characters within the new image of the modern cities.

Paper presenter: Luna Khirfan (The University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), “Traces on the palimpsest: heritage and the urban forms of Athens and Alexandria”
This paper discusses the interactions between the symbolic significance of heritage and urban form. It uses the analogy of a palimpsest to investigate the links between the distinctive spirit of the historic city, the symbolic significance of its heritage, and its urban form. Specifically, it investigates the links between a city’s heritage and the formation of cosmic urban forms that combine geometry and urban rites and rituals. Based on the historic comparison of Athens in Greece and Alexandria in Egypt, the paper offers a contemporary definition of cosmic urban forms and identifies their characteristics. The paper thus asks: How can the symbolic significance of heritage be spatially articulated within the contemporary urban landscape? How can this spatial configuration be transformed into a cosmic urban form? And, what are the characteristics of historic and contemporary cosmic urban forms?
To address these questions, this paper introduces the urban palimpsest concept and its links to heritage, the spirit of place, and cosmic urban forms, and proposes a theoretical framework accordingly. It then introduces the methodology that combines town plan analysis, archival research, and GIS, and employs it to compare four contemporaneous layers of the urban form of Athens and Alexandria: a) during their early periods, at the stage when their Classical urban form evolved and matured, b) during the first half of the nineteenth century when both cities were liberated after centuries of Ottoman rule and similarly ‘re-discovered’ by the ‘West’, c) during the twentieth century when they faced similar challenges of rapid urban growth, and finally, d) as they transition into the twenty-first century when Athens and Alexandria similarly attempt to reconfigure their urban form and to reinterpret the symbolic significance of their heritage. Finally, based on the analyses, the paper presents its conclusions and
offers recommendations for contemporary urban design.

Paper presenter: Khalid Aly Abdelhady (Benha University, Cairo, Egypt), “Toward a sustainable developed plan for the urban fabric of the old Alexandria”
The archaeological sites in the Heritage cities suffer from trespasses due to the population increase and lack of good planning of the urban parameters of these areas. They also suffer from the architectural additions in and around the archaeological sites that affected the view and the general impression of its visitors and affected the value of the monuments.
Alexandria is one of the most famous Heritage cities in the world. It was founded around a small pharaonic town c. 331 BC by Alexander the Great. It remained Egypt's capital for nearly a thousand years, until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 641 AD when a new capital was founded at Fustat (Fustat was later absorbed into Cairo).
The urban fabric of Alexandria contains many land marks of the heritage remains such as "Pompey's Pillar" which is one of the best-known ancient monuments still standing in Alexandria today, " Alexandria's catacombs" which are known as Kom al-Soqqafa, are at short distance southwest of the pillar, consist of a multi-level labyrinth, reached via a large spiral staircase, and the " Romanic theater "……etc.
All the archaeological sites suffer from trespasses and are affected by the surrounding urban fabric.
In this paper we are presenting a survey of facts and studies behind the trespasses which the archaeological sites suffer from and aims to highlight the problems that the urban fabric of the Alexandria the heritage city suffer from and their causes, and to set a framework for sustainable plan to development of the urban areas around the archaeological sites for the benefit of the inhabitants of these areas and the reservation of the heritage value.
That is concluded by suggesting criteria for decision makers to set the urban and the planning laws of the heritage cites.

Paper presenter: Marc Manzano (Direcció General d'Arquitectura i Paisatge, Spain), “Historical public space. Examples of good practices in Catalunya”
In present time as in the past every inhabited space, such as rural villages, city centres or metropolitan city centres have a public space made up of crossing streets, squares, passages; places where their society members can relate, work, enjoy, entertain; in short, a place full of life.
The quality of these spaces can be evaluated by intensity and quality of social relations, also the relation with its own history, as the quality of its monuments not only protected but also cultural and for its identity.
It has been studied a vast public space of large cities on the creation of new centralities which regenerates from scratch, where a part of periphery was degraded, providing the new public spaces to articulate new uses, new equipments, often without any historical reference, without any consideration to the cultural identity of that place.
Also it has been studied and has been performed in their historic centers; those have been regenerated in a very accurate way as an example to others. In some other cases it was a creation of new spaces within the historic center and those historically have never existed before, hence big gaps were crated to aerate and articulate new uses that lacked in the center, all to improve the lives of the inhabitants.
In the rural, ancient and historical villages, dynamics are totally different, the public space has a very different conception, those are historic spaces where social relations that occur is also very different from those in the cities.
The Intervention in historic public space in a political, economic, social and architectural way is far from major urban and speculative activities that take place in cities.
In rural villages transformations occur with small and slow interventions from which they get great results, interventions are sensitive to the environment, the history, the local culture, to the new way of living, in short, they getting their own identity.
These small interventions in the public space of the rural villages gives new life, because profoundly regenerates in all its aspects, private property rehabilitates its facades, new trade appears also cultural tourism appears, thus it is creating economic activity. It creates a domino effect, where a small action, both one on the surface and deeper economical action, as time goes by these facts allow to regenerate the degraded centre where it wasn’t life.
Public space in a rural town is the great unknown, but probably as the result of this targeted interventions in the historical centres, its regenerated, its rehabilitated; it starts life and affirms their own identity.
I’ll explain a way, not the only, to intervene, with objectives, methodology and criteria that are the result of experience.

Paper presenter: Sherif Khashaba (Zagazig University, Egypt), «An approach to assess the experience of physical intervention in Al-Darb Al-Ahmar district in Cairo”
Observing the urban areas surrounding the valuable heritage building in Cairo , we can find out lots of negative effects of such surrounding on the valuable buildings , like the contradiction of usage against the nature of the heritage building as well as the visual destrotion in addition is the low construction level of such surrounding buildings . the urban buildings one naturally opposing the ancient building in term of style and that led to the unavoidable need to find out an integrated system to deal with such areas . the research in aiming to set up a completes system to deal with the urban building attaching the heritage areas by which the architectural and urban sides one contained and that in dudes the cultural , social and economical dimensions' to undermine the negative effects of such surrounding on the heritage buildings . Also to rehabilitate such surrounding and reorganize then keeping the geographic and cultural natures unchanged to reach integral system . we have to check the relative intern rival experience with frames , policies and strategies used in rehabilitating the surrounding according to the heritage building . the case study is an the wax palace and al-diora area next to the religions complex at misr Al Qadina neighborhood Cairo .

Paper presenter: Iman Amad (), «Experiences of Intervention in Historic Centres. The Case of the Historic Core of Nablus /Palestine”
This paper focuses on conservation projects that are examples of successful interventions carried out in the historic center of Nablus, one of the largest Palestinian cities. The Old Town of Nablus has a large intact urban fabric that encompasses very interesting traditional spatial configurations and several buildings of high architectural quality. Unfortunately, it suffers from several problems related to overcrowdness, urban degradation, uncontrolled development, dilapidation and destruction. During the past few years more concern was directed towards revitalization of the historic core and upgrading of its urban environment. Some projects were implemented to realize the vision of creating a lively historic environment in the old town.
The paper investigates successful examples which contributed to enhance the urban environment of the historic city, support its local residents and sustain its traditional inherent social, economic and urban qualities. The examples will be studies in terms of their impact on the historic fabric in particular and the rest of the city in general, economic aspects and type of investment (public or private), quality of execution and adherence to international standards and charters, community participation, sustainability, and the extent of appropriateness of new uses to the traditional environment and local community need.
The paper will give an overview of the projects, an assessment for the proposed activities and evaluation of the whole experience. Cultural, economic, technical and social aspects will be explored in order to arrive into conclusions and recommendations for future interventions. Lessons are to be learned from experiences that succeed to enrich the traditional urban fabric and ensure preservation of traditional urban character in addition to linking old and new sectors of the city.