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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

CIP A 2003 XIX th International Symposium, 30 September - 04 October, 2003, Antalva, Turkey
The increasing mobility of individuals and the numeric growth
of social groups, which are increasingly related to cultural and
ethnic backgrounds, is coupled to a fragmentation of urban
space into strongly homogeneous areas (neighbourhoods,
districts). The social polarization and fragmentation is
exceedingly clear in American cities and is now also
recognizable in European cities. There proves to be a correlation
between social fragmentation and the fragmentation of urban
In terms of land area, the historic inner city takes an
unexceptional place among the urban areas that make up the
city. The same applies if we rank urban areas on the basis of the
usable floor area provided by the buildings.
The relative market positions of individual distinct
urban areas are subject to constant change. The evolving
market position of the historic city centre can be
ascribed to the following developments and aspects:
• The original users are transferring their activities
to other locations, while new users present
themselves. The motives of those departing are
related to aspects like accessibility, spatial
capacity and price.
• Relative functional obsolescence: technology is
developing quickly and continually generates
new ‘tools’ for industry and consumers.
Developments in ICT illustrate this trend well.
The historic city centre adapts with much greater
difficulty to the demands of present times
(particularly when large-scale modifications are
involved) compared to other city areas.
• Demographic developments: population growth
induces expansion within existing cities. The
territory and population size of the city as a
whole increase, while the land area of the
historic centre remains constant and thus
‘shrinks’ in relative terms.
• The technical ageing of buildings, due to among
other things intensive use.
• The increasing ‘rarity value’ of the historic inner
city, which exerts a positive effect on its
attractiveness and market position.
• The growing action radius of companies and
consumers. The number of locations which may
be considered in the selection process by
companies and individuals has undergone
tremendous growth. Companies are becoming
increasingly global in outlook, and the European
scale is becoming an everyday reality for
individual consumers.
In Europe we have been through a lengthy period - to be
expressed in centuries - during which progressive urbanization
has been the norm. The industrial period, in particular, saw
unprecedented growth in the size of cities. During Europe's
post-war development phase, the main basic assumption was
one of continuing urbanisation, with the result that the level of
urbanisation currently stands at 80%.
By 1992, 5.8% of the EU's economy was based on agriculture,
32.8% on industry and 60.9% on services; the corresponding
figures in the USA were 2.9%, 26.2% and 70.9%. These figures
change with time almost universally, the most noticeable
increase being in the part played by services in overall
economic activity. The world is becoming a service economy.
(Prof. Jacob de Smit, Leiden University School of Management)
Within the service economy, the historic city centre is regaining
a position in the focus of social developments. In “The future of
the center: The core City in the new economy” by Joel Kotkin,
the author sketches future economic developments, with the
historic centre playing a key part in them.
“Even under the best of circumstances, center cities
are unlikely to ever emerge as the geographically
dominant centers of their metropolitan regions as they
were in the industrial era. Instead, the new urban core
resembles more that of the renaissance city- relatively
smaller, and built around classical urban functions
such as arts, cross-cultural trade, and highly 1
specialized small-scale production”
“Ultimately, the revival of the urban core, whether in
the traditional city or the more dispersed model
common to the sunbelt agglomerations, stems from a
search for a sense of place and history amidst a
society in which the barriers of time and space are
under constant assault. As centres of arts and culture,
repositories of our past history and architecture, the
core retains a powerful tug of consciousness. It
reminds us not only who we are but also what we
have been”
future European
historic c
a! position
ity centre
scenario 1
ongoing urbanisation
scenario 2
a place for any city
scenario 3
the city spread
Figure 4 Future profile historic city centre
The continually fluctuating market position of individual city
areas is reflected in changes to their status and function. These
changes are in turn a spur to spatial modifications. It is more
complex to modify an existing urban area than to develop a
greenfield site, because the developers cannot start from a
‘virgin ground’ situation. The kind of areas referred to here are
those whose potential exceeds the level of current use. This
means that there is scope for investments aimed at improving
the physical environment - changes that contribute to a balance
between the market position of the location, the urban area, and
the function and status of the properties located there. If the
discrepancy between the present use and the changed situation