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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

N. Nayci *, A. G. Bilgin Altinôz a , N. Çahin Güçhan a
a METU, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architecture, înônü Blv., 06531 Ankara, Turkey -
(nayci, bilgin, neriman)@arch.metu.edu.tr
KEY WORDS: Education, Project, Urban, GIS, Heritage Information Management, Conservation Planning, Antakya, Methodology
In the fall semester of 2002-2003, one of the master studios in METU, Faculty of Architecture, Graduate Program in Restoration
involved with Urban Conservation Project of a selected quarter in Antakya. During the studio process, GIS was used instead of
conventional techniques through the documentation, analysis, evaluation and preservation phases of the study. Emanating from the
case of Antakya, this paper aims to point out the changes made in conventional methodology to adapt it to GIS then to discuss the
advantages and disadvantages of GIS as a heritage information system in preparation of an Urban Conservation Project both for
educational and implementation purposes.
Urban conservation is a multi-faceted issue, which
necessitates utilization of complex data concerning
geographical, architectural, social, economical and historical
aspects of the town. It requires coping with various data types
and data sources. Developments in the information
technologies have been providing various tools in order to
handle data, among which GIS take precedence in managing
complex spatial data especially for the disciplines dealing
with spatial problems. Urban conservation, being a spatial
problem concerned with complex spatial data, deserves
making advantages of this new technology.
In the fall semester of 2002-2003 Academic Year, one of the
master studios is involved with Urban Conservation Project
of “Zenginler Quarter” in Antakya, which is a town
possessing several physical and social traces from different
civilizations as a result of continuous settlement since
antiquity onwards.
The first section of the paper introduces conventional
methodology used in Urban Conservation Projects, including
preparation, survey, analyses/evaluation and decision stages.
The second section covers the adaptation of conventional
methods according to the requirements of GIS. Thereupon,
methodology of Antakya Project is explained in detail with its
main stages as pre-survey, survey; encompassing the
collection and recording of data related to natural, built-up
and socio-economic aspects, covering the classification of
data designing the database and forming thematic clusters;
analyses and evaluation; dealing with making various queries
over the designed database to visualize the problems, values
and potentials; and decision in which the proposal for the
Urban Conservation Project is finalized by using the
information accomplished through the processing of data in
previous stages.
The last section of the paper is the assessment of GIS based
method used in Antakya Project. Consequently, its
superiority and inferiority with respect to conventional
methods are discussed. The paper concludes with some
recommendations for the enhancement of GIS according to
the needs of urban conservation studies so as to contribute the
relation between information users and information
The aim of the Urban Conservation Project is to document,
analyze and evaluate the physical, economic and social
characteristics of a historic urban tissue so as to develop
proposals related to its conservation. The major stages of any
urban conservation project consist of; pre-survey stage during
which preparation of the site survey and the basis for the
following stages are realized; survey stage during which
various information related to different aspects of the town
are gathered in order to find out the characteristics of the
study area; analyses and evaluation stage embracing the
analysis of the collected data and their assessment so as to
define the values, potentials, problems; and finally decision
stage in which proposals for conservation are made.
The pre-survey stage of the study, which includes preparation
for the following stages, covers collection of the necessary
documents related to the historical development and the
existing situation of the study area. Accordingly, descriptive
and visual information including written documents and
illustrations (of earlier researchers, travellers’ notes,
engravings, photographs, serial photographs, etc), maps
(current town plans, conservation plans, implementation
plans, etc.) and existing measured drawings are gathered.
On the other hand, survey forms and base maps, which are to
be used during the site survey, are prepared according to the
information gathered from the literature survey.
By this way, besides preliminary information about the site to
be studied, a visual and descriptive base for the following
stages is provided.