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Relevance of Authenticity in the Revival of Heritage Buildings in Cities: Insights from Bahrain

Author:

Ayesha Aga Shah

University of Bahrain, BH
About Ayesha Aga
Department of Architecture and Interior Design
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Abstract

Recently, Bahrain has focused attention to the revival of historical cultural and built heritage. Bahrain’s new urban projects are employing elements of heritage in the development projects in order to attract global attention and local investment whilst fostering economic growth. Cultural heritage enables people to understand previous generations and where they come from and can thereby provide an automatic sense of unity and belonging. In these developments however, issues arise related to the need to recognize and retain authenticity as an inherent value of cultural heritage.

 

The objective of this paper is to demonstrate how relevant or irrelevant authenticity is, in relation to promoting heritage restoration and re-development of heritage buildings. It examines how the engagement of heritage in development has incited a cultural revival within the new urban developments. The paper evaluates authentic historical fabric in the revived architecture of old Muharraq—the previous capital of the country that has undergone a renaissance of tangible and intangible heritage from the past. It critically analyses how this new built heritage is being produced.

 

The research employs a study of documentation of these projects, reflecting on their aims and motivations. It buttresses the analysis by the engagement of people’s perceptions derived using a survey of opinions. It examines insight on how local residents relate to these renewal projects and if they do indeed promote national pride and a sense of belonging to their historic past.

 

In conclusion, the paper locates if authenticity is, if at all, relevant to the people’s engagement with their cultural and built heritage in Bahrain. Moreover, it evaluates the ways in which the cultural revival has helped to create a sense of belonging among the people.
How to Cite: Shah, A.A., 2019. Relevance of Authenticity in the Revival of Heritage Buildings in Cities: Insights from Bahrain. Cities People Places : An International Journal on Urban Environments, 4(1), pp.17–30. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cpp.v4i1.42
Published on 30 Oct 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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