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 City & Time > Vol. 4, No. 1 (2008) open journal systems 

The relevance of urban conservation charters in the World Heritage Cities in the Arab States

Eman Shafiq Assi, Department of Architecture, University of Sharjah

In developing countries, the world heritage status has not brought great wealth or prosperity to its communities. It is the large investor who benefit, while local resident become a mute spectator. As we valorize the heritage, there is less and less scope for the community to determine its future. World heritage sites, are governed by rules, regulation and managements tools, and seem increasingly to disconnect people from their heritage. When we prepare charters, plans, guide books and documentation that define boundaries to preserve the past, we must remind ourselves that we function in a society that is vibrant and kinetic, whose survival is dependant on the past, but on coping with present. This paper addresses the complexity of the world heritage phenomenon and its applicability on heritage sites in developing countries. This paper articulates the complexity of inscription of a world heritage site in and its implication on human aspect. The city of Petra in Jordan and Fez in Morocco were brought as examples to discuss the aspect of social context in a world heritage sites. Issues of gentrification/tourisitification, universal / local were discussed here. The main concern is; the empowerment of local communities living in heritage cities; the strengthening of their role in heritage management as well as in the management of tourism activities generated by heritage and the integration of tourism in urban cultural and social life as well as economic prosperity.

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City & Time  ISSN: 1807-7544