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Moeez St. Urban

Moeez St. Urban

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Published by Ramy Samir Salem

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Published by: Ramy Samir Salem on Jun 16, 2012
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The National Organization for Urban Harmony

Urban Rehabilitation Al-Muizz Street
Case Study

Oct. 2011

Important Dates
The concept of urban rehabilitation began to emerge in 1963, when • the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a recommendation for the preservation of historic sites. The European Charter of the Architectural Heritage was adopted in 1975; it is based on the principle of “integrated conservation”, i.e. integrating conservation into the lives of the general public and into planning and development schemes. In 1975, ICOMOS adopted resolutions about the conservation of • smaller historic towns. In 1976, the Recommendation concerning the Safeguarding and Contemporary Role of Historic Areas was adopted by UNESCO. ICOMOS in 1987 adopted the Washington Charter for the Conservation of Historic Towns, which recommends measures necessary for the towns’ “development and harmonious adaptation to contemporary life”.

urban rehabilitation
Thus, after originating from the idea of • integrated conservation, the concept of urban rehabilitation has been extended, by progressively assimilating questions of local development, regional planning, sustainable development and cultural diversity.

UNISCO Site Selection criteria
to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius; • to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time; • to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition; • to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural • ensemble; to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, or sea- • use; to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with • ideas, to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural • beauty; to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history; • to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological • processes; to contain the most important natural habitats for in-situ conservation. •

UNESCO & Islamic Cairo
"Islamic Cairo " was added to the UNESCO's • World Heritage List in 1979. It is the medieval part of Cairo that differs remarkably from the old and modern districts. A UNDP study found al Muizz street to have the greatest concentration of medieval architectural treasures in the Islamic world

Case Study

Al-Muizz Street •
Islamic Cairo •

Map of of Muizz Street

Historical Background
Al-Muizz Street in Islamic Cairo, is one of the oldest • streets in Medieval Cairo, approximately one kilometer long. The street is named for the fourth caliph of the Fatimid dynasty. It stretches from Bab AlFutuh in the north to Bab Zuweila in the south. Starting in 1997, the ministry of culture carried out • first phase of extensive restoration and conservation to the historical buildings, modern buildings, paving, and infrastructure to turn the street into an "open air museum", and was rededicated as a pedestrian only zone.

Physical sitting
Al-Muizz Street is commonly considered to • consist of two sections, with the dividing line being Al-Azhar Street. The northern part extends from Al-Hakem Mosque in the north to the Spice Market at Al-Azhar Street and includes the antiques markets (Khan elKhalily), Al-Aqmar Mosque (one of the few extant Fatimid mosques), Qalawun complex, and several well preserved medieval houses and palaces.

The Northern Part

Rehabilitation project
One of the aims of the conservation was to • approximate the original appearance of the street. Buildings higher than the level of monuments have been modified with an appropriate colour, while the street has been repaved in the original style. 34 monuments along the street and some others nearby have been restored. On the other hand, the nighttime appearance of the street has been upgraded by refined exterior lighting on buildings. To prevent the accumulation of subterranean water – the principal threat to Islamic Cairo – a new drainage system has been installed.

The area before conservation

Integration of local handcrafts into the area

Traditional Handcrafts Markets •

Sabil Khesro Pacha&Barquq -Lighting

Qaloun Complex- Lighting

Al-Naser Madrasa-Lighting

Qaloun&al-Naser Lghting

Paving & Lighting

Al-Hakem Public Space •


Darb el Asfar Area •

Paving & Restoration Sabil Katkhoda

Urban Patern

According to preliminary analysis of the situations in • the area, as well as with reference to the converging guidelines promoted by the specialized international organizations working in this area, the governmental organizations have been put in place, even if it still needs to be completed. What is most often lacking is progress in • comprehensively implementing these international guidelines and these national regulations. It is here where additional action is required.

Required Steps
1- To modify some actions of the first phase like: • paving (Different paving patterns were used and the rough texture • of some is not suitable for pedestrian areas. Lighting units of the area next to Bab al-Futuh are very sucessful • and needs to be extended to the rest of the street. Shops fronts of the area next to Bab al-Futuh match the original • style of the street and need to be extended to the rest of the street. 2- To extend and integrate both the southern part and the • surrounding area (like Gamalia) within the main urban rehabilitation project. 3- To continue the maintenance plan to sustain the restoration • efforts. 4- To study different financing proposals that can support both • future plans and sustainability of the existing phases.

The Southern Part
Second Phase

The southern part of el al-Muizz street • extends from Ghuriya complex to Bab Zuweila and includes the magnificent Tents Market and many other monuments. This part has to be completed as integrated • part of the whole urban rehabilitation of the project.

Southern Part Map

Bab Zuweila Gate & Southern Part

Historical Photos of the Street

Original shape of the markets and the existing situation

Recommended Actions
1. Embed urban rehabilitation projects within the broader • context of urban planning initiatives at the territorial level. 2. Conduct a periodical critical assessment of the current • status. 3. Bring up to date the rules and regulations concerning • protected urban areas, especially the management plans for urban sites included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. 4. Recommend programs for maintenance and preventive • conservation. 5. Conduct public awareness campaigns and training, with • reference to the UNESCO Recommendations.

Recommended Actions
6. Promote mixed‐used functions through the re‐use of ancient buildings. 7. Combine the rehabilitation of old buildings with the upgrading of local infrastructure. 8. Support the creation and use of financial support for rehabilitation in the form of financial incentives. 9. Involve local inhabitants in all stages of urban rehabilitation activities through public participation. 10. Promote international cooperation and strengthen links with the specialized international organizations. • • •

Resolutions & Main Resources
1 Consultative Assembly Recommendation 365 (1963), • Resolution 249 (1963) and Directive 216 (1963). 2 Charter adopted by the EU Committee of Ministers • on 26 September 1975. 3 Resolutions of the International Symposium on the • Conservation of Smaller Historic Towns (4th General Assembly of ICOMOS, Rothenburg Tauber, 29‐30 May 1975). 4 UNESCO Nairobi Recommendation, 26 November • 1976. 5 Charter adopted by ICOMOS in Washington, October • 1987.

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