Between Conservation and reconstruction;
Tangible and intangible change approaches to address developing countries’ needs
Amr AlQamary; Independent Urban Researcher
Yasmin Bayoumi; Founder of Cell and Herfa initiatives
Change is inevitable. It is the judging characteristics of people and cultural resilience. Many changes are happening in developing countries reflecting the contemporary demands; housing, transportation, services, infrastructure, etc… Our focus is on old cities and the different approaches taken to address today demands and how they are changing the built environment.
The paper will explore two contrasting approaches to development; demolishing and rebuild (tangible change), and urban conservation (intangible change). It will analyze the two approaches rationale, tools, instruments, key players, decision makers and stakeholders, and possible development scenario for each approach on two projects. Maspearo triangle in Cairo representing the first approach, where the old residents are dislocated, built environment is replaced, and new urban fabric is imposed. The second approach is being represented by Esna city center, where an ongoing development is taking place prioritizing urban conservation and taking a minimal intervention approach. The paper will not only focus on who is making and driving change in the built environment, but will also focus on those benefiting from the change, and those excluded from it.
The main analytical framework of each project is divided in four sections:
The envisaged finding of this analysis is to highlight the socio-spatial and economical changes in each approach and correlate them to sustainable development goals and the stability and wellbeing for the community as a whole. It also aims to provide insights on the advantages and setbacks of each approach. People cope with change in different ways; if they are in control, they utilize it to make things better –in different approaches-; if they are not, they adapt to this external impacts that affect their life. Hopefully, the findings will provide better understanding of what types of change should be advocated for and what types should be fought within a certain time frame, and how this positioning can change in a different time frame.
- 1-Inception of the idea; what needs are being addressed, whom needs are they, and how have they been communicated?
- 2-Approach selection; what is the rationale for the approach, how it was contested by other approaches, and why was it preferred?
- 3-Intervention scope; what are the planning tools and instruments, who is using them, who participated in the intervention development, who is benefiting/excluded from this intervention, and how is the intervention responding on the initial needs?
- 4-Development scenario; what is the development vision being built, to whom the image of the place is being presented to, and whose development/growth if being promoted?