Daily Articles
A Window into Heritage 38

Nouf Bint Mohammed Bin Fahad Bin AbduAziz Al Saud, PhD Student – Faculty of Architecture – Dammam University

What I have noticed during my masters and doctoral studies in architecture and planning, is that we still heavily lack clear policies to preserve inhabited built heritage. I am specifically referring to city centers that highly suffer huge problems as a result of being surrounded by the urban fabric of the modern city, migration of its people, clustering of expatriates, and growth of trade all around it which has put great pressure on it. Regardless of all this, there are no governmental policies that help limit the risks faced by such areas. I am well aware of a law concerning antiquities and heritage that is ready to be approved, but I believe that applicable policies stemming from this regulation are initiatives for built heritage preservation. What I mean to say is that regulations are for statutes whereas policies are for development. I would like to emphasize that built heritage is in need of initiatives for development. We do not wish for random development but rather organized development. Therefore, the policies that can be adopted will act as a guide setting out a clear path towards future built heritage preservation. My dissertation (which I hope to finish soon) addresses five aspects we can develop policies for and that can stimulate preservation of built heritage starting with regulations (which could be the regulation regarding heritage and which will be approved soon). However, there are policies related to social awareness that are compound and complex and require the adoption of projects in this field. On the one hand they are tied to society taking the built heritage preservation initiative and on the other hand it is what restores economic and social life (the operation of heritage sites), as well as policies that finance preservation of built heritage. In my opinion the lack of such policies hinders the development of built heritage in Saudi. There are also educational as well as technical polices. They are all integral and built a whole image creating a defined national project that starts with laws and regulations and ends with the smallest of technical details. There is no way we can preserve built heritage with the adoption of parts of this policy and disregarding others. We must be comprehensive and work along a certain framework so that we can end with the retrieval of built heritage into our current modern lives.