Heritage is a built and passed forth identification in several formats including built structures, commodities, and even as small as a human reaction. The most relatable and obvious form of heritage is heritage buildings or heritage cities because it defines the character of its roots and the vision it had perceived in the past for the future. Today, with the definition and need for urbanism dynamics, the fact of heritage conservation is always considered to be a burden which will hinder development but instead of changing the entire space dynamics because of a constant definition of urbanization is what leads to the loss of a unique identity and all spaces looking the same.

With the rapid growth and the focus shifting to sustainability and green environment, the heritage buildings are believed to have increased carbon footprint and having inefficient building technologies to hinder the surrounding. The belief of sustaining the construction for the next fifty years has been accomplished by various heritage sites and now instead of bringing it down to ruins, it should be included in the path of urbanization with a sustainable approach which would balance out the importance of the geographic region as well as the feasibility and longevity of the surroundings.

Keeping the surroundings and people in focus, there are several notions, if resolved, can benefit from the process of heritage conservation. Climate analysis and the impact heritage buildings have on the climate, the materials which have been used in construction, heat and gas emission and the provision of quality of life there are the notions which need to be improvised but not changed to preserve identity and yet contribute to the overall development of a place.

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Considering the heritage of the UK, 40% of housing consists of the hereditary Victorian domestic houses. Carbon emission being their top-most concern because of its effect on the climate as well as the liveability factor, several Victorian houses have now provided the roofs, walls and floors with insulation, replaced the existing windows with double glazed windows maintaining the traditional frames, installation of solar panels for water heating and electric generation, rainwater harvesting and upgrading the water supply system that has resulted into decreased demand of energy and emission of the same and also conservation of resources for sustainable usage over a longer period. Due to this initiative by the people with government support, the heritage is further continuing to stand and acting as a further addition to their development.

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Spinning the globe and analyzing heritage conservation in a different geographical context, rehabilitation or adaptive use is another applaudable process to enhance and maintain the historical importance of a place. Rehabilitation or adaptive use calls for a process of 100% documentation considering photos and architectural drawings and with further studying the context giving the space a new use without changing a single stone but further small equipment required for the carry-out of the new function. The Consulate of Tuscany or Hosh Al Hareem (courtyard of women) is one example of such a process. It was originally constructed in the second half of the eighteenth century and is said to be the most beautiful of Tripoli, Libya but was reopened in 1994 as a restored museum having a folk collection and historic fashion collection renamed the same as the collection offered. The change in the urban fabric of this space would have been the death of the heritage importance, hence a function that suited the place the most was fitted for the generation to know their roots and revival.

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Furthermore, taking into account a place which has always implemented its development schemes by enhancing the importance of its heritage, the City of Bordeaux, France. The city is fully covered with heritage buildings and its economy is on an upholding due to the millions of tourists it attracts. Shifting concentration from what is going around, Bordeaux focussed on this aspect of its liveability and continued to develop in the field. Today, it has the most UNESCO recognized sites in all of France and stands out as a true manifestation of its history but certain urban moderations like that of connectivity and streetscape were neglected earlier but now it has begun to develop on these lines of infrastructure development as well affirming sustainability of an entire city of historical importance.

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Having seen three different aspects, there remains another which is an aspect where the heritage is diminishing and even with little government efforts towards conservation there is a rapid growth of concrete jungles. The context is the City of Surat, India. Surat is empowered with a lot of historical importance but due to its users’ negligence and carelessness the city is depleting its unique character and just racing up the charts of growth and economy. The users dwell in the same heritage houses but the façade and the internal spacing now showcases drastic change. Surat’s heritage was an influence from the Gothic and Renaissance period and was built under colonial rule, but the terms of modernism have started to replace it and currently, there is an emergent need to spread awareness and take out policies to conserve the heritage and modernize them.

Inferring, one can say that a sustainable approach to heritage conservation is a global need as this approach promises technological advancements without the need to change the historical importance and also acts as an asset to a city or numerous set of people.

Shivangi Agarwal
Author

Shivangi is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s in Architecture degree. She desires to explore in the field of research and literature while leaving a mark on the world with her influence, design and experience. She believes that architecture is a proportionate part of her life inculcating other interests like playing sports, reading novels and travelling.

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