World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010



· NOT_DEFINED date: WED 21, 11.30 am-1.30 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: Abeer Arkawi (Damascus University, Syria)

Paper presenter: Abeer Arkawi & Roula Aboukhater (Damascus University, Syria), “Conflicts on development of an urban centre in extra-mural quarter in Damascus”
In recent years, the adjacency of the historical suburbs next to the modern city centre has resulted in their coming under development pressures, as exemplified by the recent controversy over the King Feisal Street corridor redevelopment proposal. This project is located in the northern historical quarters on the north side of the Old City. Traffic engineers talk about road "improvements" when they mean widening. This enhancement hides often social and economic problems on the long term that will result from demolishing of houses and shops and the relocation of people in far areas. About 5,000 families affected by the road development plan have received expropriation notices in November 2006. The widening of the road to about 40m, will causes the destruction of traditional houses, the metal workshops and others kind of local small and medium commerce. This project will also interrupt the link and the viable connection with the old city through the northern gates.
In this paper we will present the historical development and the actual situation of these two northern extra mural quarters, referring to their urban problems and risks. And while focusing on the controversy on the recent road project in this area, which is still in discussion in many official and public meetings, we will present the different positions of actors and stakeholders at all levels, from local dwellers to national and international institutions.
The paper will attempt to provide a guideline for an overall vision for this area, through being conscious that the preservation and sustainable regeneration of historical localities pass certainly through achieving three essential goals: the historical urban structure and monuments of these localities is preserved from demolition, original people are still living in their traditional houses, economic development, social cohesion and community participation are assured on long term basis.
This vision will include consideration of: urban structural issues, heritage protection, traffic management, the environment, economic and social development, and urban design.

Paper presenter: Arzu Kocabas (Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Turkey), «Towards “green” conservation planning in Istanbul’s historic Peninsula”
The aim of this paper is to analyse recent urban conservation planning in Istanbul’s Historic Peninsula, with particular reference to progress towards a ‘green’ historic peninsula and drawing on a comparative analysis of emerging ‘green’ urban conservation in London.
Recent developments focus on the implementation of the Conservation Oriented Development Plan through three mechanisms which are in partial conflict. The first is the Museum City Project which was the responsibility of the Greater Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (GIMM). The second is the work of Istanbul Metropolitan Planning Centre (IMP), producing a series of action plans as a basis for sunsequent statutory 1/5000 Development Plans. The third is a programme of Renewal Areas being prepared and implemented by the Mayor of Fatih District Municipality.
This analysis demonstrates the strength and weaknesses of contemporary conservation planning in Istanbul. In particular, it reveals that there is very little thinking about the relationship between the urban heritage agenda and the urban dimensions of the climate change agenda. However, a comparison with good practices in London provides some indications of possible future new directions for Istanbul. Moreover, the value of international cooperation is already being demonstrated in the evolving pilot project for a congestion charge in the Eminonu neighbourhood of the Historic Peninsula.
The paper concludes by drawing on the output of an international comparative study on Istanbul and London, currently being undertaken by a joint research team from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (MSFAU) and London South Bank University (LSBU).
The main conclusion of the paper is that reducing the volume of carbon emissions from the Historic Peninsula, it has to be built into the processes of 21st century conservation planning, rather than bolted on at the end. This should be a key issue for the next decade of conservation planning in Istanbul especially as the first year of the decade sees the city as European Capital of Culture 2010.

Paper presenter: Levent Ozaydin (Mimar Sinan University, Turkey), «Cohesion between rehabilitation and social movements: experiences of Milas historic center”
The problems of movements between space and historic center have recently received increasing attention from researchers dedicated the study of local development. Historic place is not often seen as providing physical use for mobilization at space but in relation to cohesion between the preference for using historic place and the decision of its conservation. One of these historic places and the place where is described in this paper is Mylasa historic area and Milas town center next to Mediterranean coast region of Turkey. Milas has lived the movements of migration and transportation and tourism and food production and logistic service. Milas is a historic town, but has constituted by flows people, vehicles and information in last years. Because of this, the land-use planning policy involvements the solution for rehabilitating historic center against these flows at Milas.
This study is aimed at policy makers and practitioners involved in addressing the depletion and deprecation of historic heritage and in the field of social cohesion and integration of interventions at the local level. This paper includes the social aspects of historic place by focusing informed theoretical concepts and experiments of mobilizations by the social movements of local communities and other people at the Milas. Addressing the aspects of historic place and feelings that are derived from movements in space and the rehabilitation of the central business area and historic center of Milas, I am going to explain how intersections between the decision of rehabilitation and the preference of movements at historic place have been made. This paper will analyze the solutions to ‘rehabilitation and social movements at historic place’. I will argue that to develop a strong cohesion for more spatially sensitive decision on rehabilitation, planning policy makers have to sustain their policy frameworks with rehabilitation experiments that not only illustrate spatial process of revitalization, and with analysis survival results of social movements.

Paper presenter: Mazen Iwais (Al-MASHHAD- the Palestinian Institution for Cultural Landscape Study, Ramallah, Palestine), «Conservation Policies in Palestine: Present and Future of Traditional Architecture”
There is no doubt that there are many timid attempts on the Palestinian level to apply and activate the laws of archaeology and cultural heritage. However, these attempts did not yet live up to the national level to become a model to be applied on the ground, where the systematic and random destruction policies of the cultural landscape in Palestine are still active.
One of the most important elements in the cultural landscape in Palestine, which is facing the threat of destruction and extinction are traditional buildings, due to numerous factors and influences which can’t be curbed or controlled, for example to prevent the expansion of the modern architecture in the cores of old towns which lead to destruction for these buildings.
This paper is an attempt to review and to reconsider (reevaluate) the current implementation policies of conservation and preservation especially for traditional architecture and for the cultural landscape in general on one hand, and to present the new methodologies and approaches, the new unapplied technologies in documentation and preservation of the cultural heritage and traditional architecture on the other hand.
Consequently, the basic framework for this paper is to answer the following question. Is he current policies of preservation of cultural heritage successful? And, if not, is it proved inadequate at the theoretical or at the applied level?

Paper Presenter: Naciye Doratli & Sebnem Hoskara (Eastern Mediterranean University Faculty of Architecture, North Cyprus), «A critical review on the revitalization of historic urban centers on the mediterranean islands : a policy approach”
Historic urban centers (HUCs) having distinct physical, social, economic and symbolic meanings are faced with various challenges which call for urgent actions in many countries, including those in the Mediterranean basin which the cradle of western civilization. Parallel to the changes in the conservation attitudes at both local and global levels, in many cities in the world in general and in the Mediterranean region in particular, policies which incorporate the physical, social and economic assets, to revitalize the HUCs have been developed and implemented. Most frequently, international documents and conventions set the basis for these local policies. However, literature survey reveals that resulting outcomes of the implementation of these policies have not always been successful due to the lack of linkage between policies, techniques, people, culture, the environment and the economy.
Accordingly, the main aim of this research to be presented in this paper is to evaluate the policies on the conservation and revitalization of HUCs in the Mediterranean region, focusing mainly on the Islands, against the internationally defined criteria for success. Thus, in the framework of this paper, firstly, the criteria for successful polices will be introduced based on a thorough literature survey. Secondly, some revitalization projects in some selected Mediterranean islands, will be evaluated against these criteria. Finally, based on the comparative evaluation of these projects considering the international, national and/or local policies behind their implementation, some suggestions for the complex challenges and processes of sustainable revitalization will be put forward.

Paper presenter: Khaled Tadmori (University of Trypolie, Libanon), “The Rehabilitation of the Central District of Beirut after War”
Historical monuments in Lebanon are living testimonials of human development in this country since old times. These monuments exist in various locations in Lebanon including cities and towns. However, these monuments were recently subject to destruction because of the devastating war and became amenable for negligence and mischievous fiddling. Visible monuments represented only a small fraction of the Lebanese heritage elements that were victims of devastation and sabotage.
Nowadays, other factors further contribute to the memory vacuum concerning Lebanese heritage and the negligence to historical traces. Some of these factors include uncontrolled investments with interests contradicting the wealthy heritage and environment in the country.
As soon as reconstruction of Lebanon started following many years of war, experts and academics brought forward calls to protect the cultural heritage of the country. In fact, Lebanon is home for many charities devoted to cultural and environmental issues and attracts direct interests of several international bodies.
The rebuilding of the heart of Beirut is one of the world’s most significant and challenging urban regeneration projects in implementation at the turn of the millennium. The project attracts an international and professional following as well as the considerable critical and proprietarily interest of the citizens of Beirut and Lebanon, at home and aboard.
This research will focus on the present situation of the cultural heritage in Lebanon, and will present some recommendations for the rehabilitation of urban heritage in the country. As a study case, this paper will present a detailed acknowledge on the Restoration and Development Project of the Central District of Beirut, and a record of the evolution in the concepts behind the plan to explain in straightforward terms how the center of the Lebanese capital is being restored to life after eighteen years of war.