When home becomes world heritage : the case of Aleppo, Syria
Author(s)Vincent, Lieza H. (Lieza Helen), 1976-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Mark Schuster and Heghnar Watenpaugh.
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Lists are valuable tools for conservation. One such list for the conservation of cultural heritage objects is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List. In this thesis, I seek to understand how this international device impacts planning at a local level, specifically in the context of development and under political constraints typical of the Middle East. I do this through the case study of Aleppo, Syria. Since the end of the French Mandate, Aleppo's old city has undergone major transformation as a result if three main periods of planning interventions. From the 1950s to the late 1970s, a series of master plans called for the destruction of certain sections of the city's historic core. By 1978, the implementation of parts of these plans prompted a local and international campaign to safeguard the Old City of Aleppo, culminating in its designation to the World Heritage List in 1986 and the initiation of a joint Syrian and German rehabilitation project in 1992. This thesis discusses these different moments in Aleppo in an effort to understand to what extent UNESCO and the World Heritage List impacted change in planning priorities in the old city. In order to do this, I give a historical background of planning in Aleppo from 1930s to the moment of World Heritage nomination in 1978. This section discusses the historical conditions that contributed to the old city's rapid decay. Next, I review the period of World Heritage nomination to illuminate how decisions were being made about the old city by local authorities in conjunction with professionals from UNESCO in order to halt master planning in the old city and move forward with a policy of conservation.(cont.) I then discuss the influence of the List on the implementation of a comprehensive rehabilitation strategy for the old city by a well-known international development agency, the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ). This section will exhibit how the project raised the standards of the planning profession in Aleppo, and even in Syria. I ill also discuss the project's role as a force of political opposition. The thesis concludes by evaluating this cultural heritage rehabilitation effort's success within the context of a state that refuses political reform.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2004.Includes bibliographical references (p. 67-70).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.