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The Side Effects of World Heritage Status: A Critical Re-Exploration of the Medina of Fez

Project details

Programme
Year 1

This research project seeks to critically examine the prevailing paradigm of world heritage preservation, by exploring its potential adverse effects on inhabited urban environments, using the historic Moroccan city of Fez, officially named 'Medina of Fez', as a case study.

The ‘Medina of Fez’ is a compelling example of a problematic heritage site, as it embodies a dual identity as a UNESCO World Heritage Site of exceptional cultural significance and an urban space wrestling with profound spatial and socio-economic challenges.

By scrutinising the correlation between the heritagisation of the Medina of Fez and its liveability problems, the aim is to explore the possibility of an alternative approach that balances historic preservation with urban development.

Yet, the ultimate objective of this project is not to provide solutions to specific problems, but rather to stimulate critical thinking. Therefore, the final outcome is a digital platform, serving as a space for reflection and conversation, not only about Fez but also similar sites worldwide.

Fez: The Story

Fez: The Story

The video explores the heritagisation-related issues of the Medina of Fez and their complex colonial background through a series of observations and rhetorical questions.

Reassessing the level of significance of the urban fabric components, in light of the attributes of  Fez’s World Heritage inscription. This allows us to identify the elements that should be strictly preserved, and those where change could happen.

Nuanced Significance ("Adwat Al Andalus" district, Medina of Fez)

Reassessing the level of significance of the urban fabric components, in light of the attributes of Fez’s World Heritage inscription. This allows us to identify the elements that should be strictly preserved, and those where change could happen.

The interventions explore the idea of demolition, in an attempt to challenge the conventional notion that it is detrimental to heritage preservation. Based on the conducted assessment, elements of urban and architectural significance are preserved.

Experimental interventions: Daring Demolition?

The interventions explore the idea of demolition, in an attempt to challenge the conventional notion that it is detrimental to heritage preservation. Based on the conducted assessment, elements of urban and architectural significance are preserved.

Shifting from 'preserving the site' to 'preserving the heritage attributes' allows for different possibilities of change and place-making within a highly compact historic urban fabric.

Possibilities

Shifting from 'preserving the site' to 'preserving the heritage attributes' allows for different possibilities of change and place-making within a highly compact historic urban fabric.

Beyond Fez

Beyond Fez

The ultimate goal is not to provide solutions, but rather to stimulate critical thinking. Therefore, the final outcome is a digital platform for reflection and conversation, not only about Fez but also about similar sites worldwide.

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26 September – 6 October
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