ADACH presents research paper on “Abu Dhabi’s Contemporary Heritage” at ICOMOS's General Assembly and Scientific Symposium

ABU DHABI – A team of experts from the Departments of Conservation and Strategic Planning at the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) took part in the 17th General Assembly and Scientific Symposium of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris from November 25th to December 2nd 2011.
The French National Committee of ICOMOS organized, in conjunction with the General Assembly, a Scientific Symposium on the theme “Heritage: Driver of Development” which brought together experts from more than 100 countries.
The Symposium’s main goal was to determine how to make heritage to provide the tools and infrastructure that help to shape, plan and advance the development of society. The role of heritage was usually limited to the passive conservation of things of the past and was often seen as a barrier to development. However, heritage plays a key role in re-establishing cultural identity and diversity and stressing the feeling of the place.
In the context of the sub-theme of the Symposium on Regional Development, ADACH presented a research paper which addressed the issue of heritage and contemporary urban renovation and how to curb the driving forces of development in order to reduce the deterioration of the contemporary architectural heritage.
ADACH paper discussed the effects of rapid development on the continuity of the architectural boom in a stunningly fast urban transformation over the past fifty years that has witnessed periodic political, social, demographic and economic changes.
According to the paper, these changes were based on two motives: “the strong desire for modernization” and “concern for the preservation of cultural identity.” The emergence of one of these two motives on another played a substantial role in forming the architectural environment at the expense of Abu Dhabi’s contemporary heritage.
The research paper shed light on the driving forces of changing stances over the past fifty years and proposed strategies to reduce the negative impacts of development on heritage of the contemporary City of Abu Dhabi in order to form a bridge of economic development of the Emirate with the potential aspirations to preserve its cultural heritage and identity development.
The paper is part of a research effort in the framework of the initiative to preserve contemporary heritage undertaken by ADACH based on the results of previous research which focused on the importance of Abu Dhabi’s contemporary heritage and standards set out to estimate its values. The previous research results were presented earlier at the International Conference on Architectural Heritage of the 20th Century.
Founded in 1964, ICOMOS is an advisory body to UNESCO on nominations of sites to the World Heritage List. It has 110 member countries.
ADACH participation in the meetings of Scientific Committees and ICOMOS’ General Assembly and Scientific Symposium is an effective way to communicate and interact with experts and specialists in this area. It also enhances its role in the international community of experts on cultural heritage preservation.