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An examination of heritage protection and conservation practices in the pilgrimage city of Najaf

Abid, Sadiq (2016) An examination of heritage protection and conservation practices in the pilgrimage city of Najaf. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

As the urban environment rapidly changes, conservation management plays a significant role in increasing people’s awareness about heritage, its protection and enhancement. With increasing attention paid to the care of cultural heritage, conservation management systems that protect and enhance cultural heritage, and control new development, continue to evolve at local, national and international levels. The pilgrimage city of Najaf, in Iraq, has a long history yet many of its buildings are under threat as a result of unclear conservation management in practice. This thesis addresses questions about the value and significance of Najaf’s heritage, the city’s development policy relating to conservation and the impact of interventions in its historic fabric. It explores levels of understanding about conservation values in the context of contemporary Iraq. To achieve this, three case studies are presented that examine conservation knowledge in terms of the value placed on preserving physical and social fabric, local and national development control procedures and current conservation practices. The original contribution to knowledge that this thesis makes is in outlining how heritage has been understood, designated, protected and managed in Iraq, along with a critical analysis of current conservation infrastructure. The findings show that the Iraqi people and authorities have a limited understanding of conservation management and few clear policies or controls are currently being employed in practice. In Najaf, key decision makers prioritise accommodating pilgrims and modernisation of the city, rather than safeguarding heritage. The thesis argues that the heritage documentation system is inadequate and that there is significant overlap in decision-making responsibilities. The study therefore proposes the rationalisation of policies and regulations; overhaul of Iraqi heritage education programmes to include architects, planners, politicians, archaeologists, key-workers and others; and further support for better rehabilitation procedures where conservation plans are often lacking and building activities involve unqualified workers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Architecture (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.714310
Depositing User: Mr Sadiq Khalil Abid
Date Deposited: 19 May 2017 12:47
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:40
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/17278

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