Historic cities

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AKDN AND

Historic cities

The Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme (AKHCP) conducts urban regeneration projects in historic centres that spur social, economic and cultural development to improve lives and promote models of self-sustainability.  The Programme is currently undertaking complex projects involving restoration and conservation, the creation of parks and gardens, urban improvements, master planning and operations of cultural assets in Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Mali, Malaysia and Pakistan.  It has completed projects in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Kyrgyz Republic, Spain, Syria, Tajikistan and Zanzibar.

The AKDN conducts urban and rural regeneration projects that include the restoration of historic structures, the creation and rehabilitation of public spaces, parks and gardens, and support for community-based planning and upgrading projects.  Individual project briefs go beyond mere technical restoration to address the questions of the social and environmental context, adaptive re-use, institutional sustainability and training.

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In Cairo, for example, the creation of the 30-hectare (74-acre) Al-Azhar Park in a city that has very little green space attracts nearly two million visitors a year.  The US$ 30 million Park – a gift from His Highness the Aga Khan to the city of Cairo – not only generates enough funds for its own maintenance, but has proven to be a powerful catalyst for urban renewal in the neighbouring district of Darb al-Ahmar, once one of the poorest districts in the city.  

In Delhi, the Humayun’s Tomb - Sunder Nursery - Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti Urban Renewal Project combines a cultural heritage project with socioeconomic initiatives. The overall objective of the project is to improve the quality of life for people in the area while creating an important new green space for the people of Delhi. The creation of the Site Museum focused on Mughal heritage will be a model for heritage sites across India.

In Afghanistan, a range of conservation efforts, living condition improvements, community development programmes and planning initiatives have been implemented in several neighbourhoods of the war-damaged old city of Kabul, notably the restoration of Babur's Gardens, the Mausoleum of Timur Shah and urban regeneration projects in the Asheqan wa Arefan neighbourhood.  To date, over 120 projects have been completed in in Kabul, Herat and Balkh.From Afghanistan to Zanzibar, from India to Mali, these initiatives are meant to leverage the unique transformative power of culture to improve the socio-economic conditions prevailing in many poorer populations – communities that often have a rich cultural heritage but that live in poverty.  

 

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