Authors: Qanzu'a, Najwa
Title: Promoting sustainable urban regeneration in the Palestinian traditional quarters – case study of Birzeit
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: The historical environment has always been a challenging problem in many countries. A growing number of regeneration initiatives have been planned with the concept and principles of sustainability in mind. Most of the proposals initiated have only focused on deprived historical Palestinian cities, ignoring small traditional quarters in rural towns and villages also suffering from decay. Recently, a new development has favored shifting the focus from regeneration of individual buildings to entire traditional quarters. Consequently, a pioneer project in Birzeit has raised the question of how far this recent initiative has introduced sustainable urban regeneration in the traditional quarter through providing sustainable responses to the historical environment, social and economic aspects as well as the community’s needs. This research is dominated by a qualitative approach and exploratory nature and also incorporates the quantitative method. It has employed an in-depth case study methodology. The empirical research involved using several mixed data gathering methods: interviews, mental mapping, structural observations and questionnaires. This research uses the theory of urban regeneration and also addresses other concepts. It has concentrated on identification and assessment of the planning process, the impacts of the regeneration initiative, the roles of different actors involved and their interests within the economic, social and cultural contexts in order to present theoretical issues involving sustainable urban regeneration. The main findings of the research revealed that adoption of decentralization in the planning approach as well as community participation are intrinsic and vital to the initiation of the regeneration process with positive and minute negative impacts. It revealed that the very notion of urban regeneration is not about roads, buildings and infrastructure, but it is about providing job opportunities, investment, social equity and a better quality of life. The existence and support of local community organizations, the presence of appropriate partnership of stakeholders and their commitment as well as the development of a sustainable community are all crucial to initiate sustainable regeneration processes in the long term. Nonetheless, another key revelation has emerged relating to the difficulties of integration of some uses into the community as they are out of the context and contradicts social values and the life style of the inhabitants of the traditional quarter. The research suggests the presence of positive impacts and outcomes from the various planning interventions to initiate of sustainable urban regeneration in the traditional quarter. Consequently, it concludes with recommendations relating to policies and practices. It recommends that a balanced partnership level between the actors and appropriate management of the local authority should be established by developing the planning, administrative and technical capacity. Further, the level of community participation and awareness should be emphasized and supported in addition to building their capacity and increasing their engagement in the planning process to establish a sustainable community that is self-confident and capable of making decisions for the future development of the quarter. This would give more power, effectiveness and independence to the community to sustain their traditional quarter.
Subject Headings: Palestine
Palestinian traditional quarters
Cultural heritage
Integrated conservation
Sustainable urban regeneration
Sustainable communities
Criteria of evaluation of sustainable urban regeneration
Subject Headings (RSWK): Palästina
Issue Date: 2013-12-06
Appears in Collections:Städtebau, Stadtgestaltung und Bauleitplanung

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