Title

Closing Keynote Speech-May al-Ibrashy-Heritage as a driver for development: Athar Lina Initiative in Historic Cairo

Submitter Type

Faculty

Non- AUC Department

Megawra-Built Environment Collective

Material Type

Keynote

Activity

Closing Ceremony

Abstract/Description

Heritage as a driver for development: Athar Lina Initiative in Historic Cairo

We preserve heritage because we want to pass it on to the next generations. But we tend not to think too deeply about the reason why. If asked, we would probably talk about how it represents us, how it is the repository of our identity. But that is not always true. We could also preserve heritage that we do not identify with, or that represents values we do not believe in. We at Athar Lina Initiative believe that heritage is a resource, a well of potential benefit that could be enrich us culturally, socially, economically, spiritually, educationally, and even politically. It is our duty to preserve that well for future generations and to enable current generations to dip into it to improve their lives.

Since 2012, we have worked in the district of al-Khalifa in the world heritage site of Historic Cairo. To date, we have preserved five buildings from the 13th to the 15th century. We have also set up a heritage education program for al-Khalifa's children. We are now working with them, and with women from the neighbourhood, within a heritage industries program that supports heritage-based revenue generating activities such as crafts, tourism and heritage arts. We study al-Khalifa's neighbourhoods using integrated participatory research methodologies to produce detailed plans for the conservation and management and to advocate for their preservation. One neighbourhood, al-Hattaba, is currently threatened with demolition and we have prepared an alternative plan for preservation and development that we are pitching to decisionmakers. We also design and implement small-scale interventions such as family parks, playgrounds and sports grounds.

Athar Lina Initiative is run by Megawra - Built Environment Collective, but we so not work alone. We partner with the government, most notably the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism and Cairo Governorate, and we also collaborate with academic and professional entities. Most importantly, we work closely with the residents of the neighbourhoods within a participatory framework that engages with them as equal partners.

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Closing Keynote Speech-May al-Ibrashy-Heritage as a driver for development: Athar Lina Initiative in Historic Cairo

Heritage as a driver for development: Athar Lina Initiative in Historic Cairo

We preserve heritage because we want to pass it on to the next generations. But we tend not to think too deeply about the reason why. If asked, we would probably talk about how it represents us, how it is the repository of our identity. But that is not always true. We could also preserve heritage that we do not identify with, or that represents values we do not believe in. We at Athar Lina Initiative believe that heritage is a resource, a well of potential benefit that could be enrich us culturally, socially, economically, spiritually, educationally, and even politically. It is our duty to preserve that well for future generations and to enable current generations to dip into it to improve their lives.

Since 2012, we have worked in the district of al-Khalifa in the world heritage site of Historic Cairo. To date, we have preserved five buildings from the 13th to the 15th century. We have also set up a heritage education program for al-Khalifa's children. We are now working with them, and with women from the neighbourhood, within a heritage industries program that supports heritage-based revenue generating activities such as crafts, tourism and heritage arts. We study al-Khalifa's neighbourhoods using integrated participatory research methodologies to produce detailed plans for the conservation and management and to advocate for their preservation. One neighbourhood, al-Hattaba, is currently threatened with demolition and we have prepared an alternative plan for preservation and development that we are pitching to decisionmakers. We also design and implement small-scale interventions such as family parks, playgrounds and sports grounds.

Athar Lina Initiative is run by Megawra - Built Environment Collective, but we so not work alone. We partner with the government, most notably the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism and Cairo Governorate, and we also collaborate with academic and professional entities. Most importantly, we work closely with the residents of the neighbourhoods within a participatory framework that engages with them as equal partners.