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Historic city centers under threat: The case of Sharjah, UAE [ITU J Faculty Arch]
ITU J Faculty Arch. 2014; 11(2): 131-151

Historic city centers under threat: The case of Sharjah, UAE

Ayşe Sema Kubat1, Yasemin İnce Güney2, Özlem Özer1
1İstanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Urban & Regional Planning, İstanbul, TURKEY
2Balıkesir University, Balıkesir, TURKEY

In 1998, UNESCO selected the Emirate of Sharjah as the cultural capital of the Arab World. At present though, Sharjah’s historic center (Al Mureijah and Al Shueiyheen) is suffering from traffic congestion and environmental degradation that make it unattractive for visitors and inhabitants. These issues need urgent attention in order to reverse any further degradation of the historic city center, achieve economic and social gains, conserve the environment, and preserve the cultural heritage.

This research addresses the challenge of revitalizing historic Sharjah by identifying, understanding and providing solutions to problems that have emerged through its recent rapid growth. The main goal is to develop an analytical framework that will be utilized for future development strategy and urban design guidelines for revitalizing the historic core of Sharjah.

The proposed research will use Space Syntax as a diagnostic tool to understand how the history and evolution of the city’s structure had led to patterns of density, land use and socio-economic settlement. We hope to identify spatial causes of what are seen as barriers to social cohesion and develop a priority list of objectives for future development in Sharjah’s heritage area. We aim to scientifically evaluate the current problems, determine which land uses are appropriate for the continuance of economic and social gains, and develop priorities for: safeguarding cultural heritage; protecting the environment; increasing livability for visitors and inhabitants.

The fundamental achievement of this research will be an analytical framework that will serve as a guideline for future urban regeneration of Sharjah’s historic area. The findings of this study will shed fresh light on future research in the field or urban design and conservation and can be used to evaluate proposals to regenerate historical city centers that are under threat or have lost their economic, social, environmental and cultural vitality.

Keywords: Regeneration, historic city centers, space syntax, movement


Ayşe Sema Kubat, Yasemin İnce Güney, Özlem Özer. Historic city centers under threat: The case of Sharjah, UAE. ITU J Faculty Arch. 2014; 11(2): 131-151

Corresponding Author: Ayşe Sema Kubat, Türkiye


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