Using space syntax and TOPSIS to evaluate the conservation of urban heritage sites for possible UNESCO listing the case study of the historic centre of Rosetta, Egypt

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Research Article

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Ain Shams Engineering Journal

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The historic core of Rosetta, Egypt, is a possible nomination for UNESCO World Heritage status. However, the enduring controversy over the conservation scheme for Rosetta's old market has highlighted the difficulties in reaching a satisfactory decision. The challenge lies in determining the best location for relocating the market without affecting locals’ life and culture of locals as part of the urban built heritage. The main objective of this study is to present a model of decision-making criteria, which can have many applications in heritage conservation decision making for preserving heritage in historic cities that are distinguished by religious, societal and economic activities. A Multi Criteria Decision Making model (MCDM) is a framework for project selection and is developed utilizing the Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution; (TOPSIS) method, in reference to UNESCO guidelines, and Space Syntax analysis. The joint analytical framework helps to select the best location for the market that would promote the development of the area while also preserving the identity of the historic core. By adopting this proposed joint model, it is possible to meet social needs during urban development. Thus, the outcome of this study is to achieve a balance between the dual elements that the community works to achieve its integration with the historical urban fabric and at the same time allows development and tourism and tries to exist and takes part of the development plan, and promotes the identity of the city in terms of heritage, commercial and cultural activities as well as benefit from achieving development. This model can be tested against development plans for cities of historical economic values in a variety of circumstances extended with other specific criteria related to the context of the case study under analysis and development study, in addition to UNESCO guidelines to ensure its reliability. An urban conservation and development policy will enable the city's authorities to register its historical core as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This research outcome validates a model for decision-making assessment that can be utilized to assess historic cities that include historical commercial activities.

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