Processual preservation of the city within a city : the (in)formal inhabitation of heritage
Author(s)Arif, Rabeeya(Rabeeya Suhail)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
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Globally, the practice of heritage conservation still presumes certain modes of history, authenticity, and permanence. However, the understanding of these modes are specific to various contexts across multiple time-frames. Within this framework, a universal methodology of preservation that attempts to restore sites of heritage to an original point in the past is problematic. In the South Asian context, this practice typically leads to the sanitization of the vibrant, (in)formal, living environments within such spaces of heritage, thereby instigating a disengagement with the present and the removal of traces of alternate histories. This thesis aims to trace the ideological changes of how heritage has been dealt with in the Walled City of Lahore, Pakistan. I assess the conservation approaches in the city of Lahore and address the impact of colonial narratives by providing an alternate approach to conservation that is embedded in the culture.I focus on the palimpsestic and densely populated historic Walled City of Lahore, currently inhabited by lower-income groups. Further exploration of the present uses of heritage reveals a variety of what can be described as (in)formal inhabitations, through which I suggest a framework for the practice of conservation. Primarily, I address questions of, 'Can these inhabitations be considered conservation and thus who has the right to conserve? How can spaces of heritage be used and, by whom?' To this end, I identify three typologies and case studies of (in)formal inhabitation and the re-purposing of heritage: spaces of civic re-purposing; spaces of commodification; and the spaces of occupation/refuge. I focus on inhabitation that subverts the original intent of the historic built environment and may engender socioeconomic development for the community living within.Attempting to conceptualize the historic urban landscape together with the spatio-temporal landscape and depicting the ways in which the users and inhabitants of the built environment engage with and add layers to it over time. By integrating these inhabitations with the realm of concerns when engaging with heritage, a re-reading of the city and its conservation becomes possible-one characterized by a fluid and process-based approach that arises from the local context, narratives of co-creation, and socio-political awareness.
This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, 2019Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 140-147).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology