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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

CI PA 2003 XIX th International Symposium, 30 September - 04 October, 2003, Antalya, Turkey
basis can only be developed through an appropriate
determination of strategies with a potential of awaking
competitive advantage.
All these arguments may sound strange to our main concern -
conservation and revitalization - at the first instance. However,
approaching revitalization of historic urban quarters with this
kind of philosophy would increase the chance of success of
related implementations:
First of all, conservation and revitalization are both future-
oriented and they should be in a mutually exclusive
relationship, simply because, the main aim of conservation
cannot be met by creation of museum environments for the sake
of preservation. As many authors in literature stress,
conservation and revitalization are both focused on creating a
future of the past. Hence, conservation and revitalization
efforts have to be addressed to make the concerned area ‘ready
for the future’ and to make the area ‘competitive’ with the rest
of the cities of which they are parts. The key question ‘How to
do this?’ inevitably calls for developing relevant strategies on
conceptual basis. In addition to this, preparation of the historic
urban quarters for the future and assigning them competitive
advantage can be considered as a real challenging issue, just
like as strategies. Why challenging? Challenging, because,
successive conservation and revitalization involve complex
relationships between a variety of multi-dimensional factors in
physical, functional, social, cultural and economic terms, which
are far beyond the scope of pure preservation. In other words,
breaking the vicious circle of deterioration and decay of a
historic urban quarter needs a real challenge.
Secondly, evaluation of different practices in conservation of
historic urban quarters in many cities throughout Europe and
Turkey shows that, the most frequent practices and decisions are
basically operational in nature. Operational in a sense that they
are prescribed form of methods with straightforward protection
of the cultural heritage concern: (i) listing of buildings, (ii)
declaration or designation of conservation area, and (iii)
conservation plans.
Listing of Buildings: When some buildings are listed (due to
certain accepted criteria), the buildings are protected against
demolition. The owners are obliged to meet certain rules and
obtain some incentives described or declared by concerned
authorities. The general framework of listing the buildings
shows similar characteristics in the western world, since
democratic and cultural development of western European
countries are in parallel directions. Listing of the buildings as a
mean to preserve the existing buildings of architectural /
historical interest is an operational decision in nature, since it
only serves the preservation of them through legislative
measures without any concern about economic viability.
Additionally, listing is not a challenging measure, since without
additional sound decisions on financial terms, it is only a matter
of chance whether competitive advantage over other quarters of
the cities arises through interventions for preserving the listed
Declaration or Designation of Conservation area is also an
operational decision. Declaration only implies that the area is
worth to be preserved. Unless supported by relevant applicable
measures, they might be ‘optional lines on maps with no special
protective provisions. Besides, it does not give any clues about
‘How making the area ready for the future and how to make it
competitive?’ ‘The problem is that conferring of such status
contains an open-ended permanent commitment to the
maintenance, renovation and rehabilitation of the area as a
whole’ (Ashworth and Tunbridge, 1990, p. 16), designation
cannot be considered as a strategic mean in conservation. Since
an open ended permanent commitment cannot guarantee the
success of the consequent actions towards conservation.
Conservation plans, which may include legislative,
administrative, and financial measures (grants, funds, tax
exemptions), may b 1 strategic or operational, depending on how
far the dynamism of the area, as well as the type and level of
obsolescence are considered. ‘Conservation Plans, which tends
to be more or less uniform, prepared according to the same
‘stenciling pattern’ (£ubuk (ed.), Din?er, 1994, p.227), can be
considered as being operational since distinctive characteristics
and the dynamism of the areas are not appropriately evaluated.
All of these tools aim to serve the preservation of the historical
and cultural heritage in one way or another. But, ‘What about
the resources?’, ‘The unique qualities, dynamics and level of
obsolescence of any particular historic urban quarter?’. Most of
the legislation and policies that is related to conservation of
these areas do not pay enough attention to the problem of
encouraging the utilization of the capital stock of them. This is
mainly due to the neglect of determination of appropriate
strategic approach. For this determination, identification of the
dynamics of a place and the type and level of obsolescence
should be considered as one of the main prerequisites, through
which the distinctive characteristics of the area will come out.
Thus, in order to identify of the dynamics of a place and the
type and level of obsolescence, the initial stage - before
strategy development, conceptual design and detailed design, is
the analysis stage which is the crucial basis for successful
planning proposals for conservation and revitalization of a
specific historic urban area.
The analysis stage is the crucial basis for successful planning
and urban design proposals and therefore should be given due
attention and effort. Thus, determination of the most relevant
strategic approach should rest upon a through analysis.
There are two main questions to be answered at this point:
What should be analysed? - The analysis topics
How to analyse? — The analysis methods / techniques
and tools
The answers to these questions will clarify the scope of overall
analysis stage in strategic conservation planning. Accordingly,
the analysis topics can be classified under three main headings:
Analysis of the natural environment
Analysis of the man-made (built) environment
Analysis of the socio-economic environment
2.1 Analysis of the Natural Environment
Analysis of this kind includes the identification of topographical
features, vegetation, plantation, landscape, flora/fauna, soil,
water, climatical features.