Preservation of historic structures meets ecological criteria of sustainable development. In Mount Lebanon, the traditional house is a cultural asset built of native stone one-meter thick double-wythe walls. Today, lack of public policies is causing those environmental assets to approach extinction. The paper aims to discuss this issue.
The methodology uses multivariate regression on 128 data points. A mathematical model is developed and empirically tested on public attitudes toward restoration. Independent variables represent the need for protectionist policies, X1; contribution of restoration to environmental sustainability, X2; contribution to culture, X3; and financial benefits, X4.
It is found that stone houses transfer heat significantly slower than modern construction. There is a statistically significant and positive correlation with X1, X2, and X3, but negative with X4, most likely due to favoring return on investment of multistory buildings over the attractiveness of stone houses.
As future research implications, the undergirding of urban planning policies need to be revisited. Current policies neither protect heritage, nor offer legal means to restore heritage houses.
Practical implications include revisions to building laws in Mount Lebanon, as they marginalize old stone structures. Environmental valuation techniques, use value and existence value, are recommended.
Social awareness needs to be built about valuation techniques to account for complex assets that cannot be approximated through short-term real estate market price. Social rather than financial cost-benefit analysis must be performed to quantify environmental assets.
This research illustrates a pilot restoration project with critical issues faced by heritage stone houses. These assets are underrepresented in building laws which warrants social and environmental activism.
Chalhoub, M. (2018), "Cultural heritage in sustainable development: Stone houses as environmental assets in the East Mediterranean", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 30-46. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCHMSD-06-2017-0040Download as .RIS
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