Full text: New perspectives to save cultural heritage

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. 

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