To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Maintenance of shared spaces: courtyards of Tbilisi

Oriel Prizeman (Department of Architecture, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2044-1266

Article publication date: 21 November 2016



The courtyard dwellings of Tbilisi form a critical part of the city’s architectural identity. However, the multiple occupation of these buildings is blamed for confounding their prospects for repair and consequent valorisation as a World Heritage Site. Models for the shared ownership of residential blocks have been adapted globally. Some have established communal sources for rehabilitation and maintenance applicable to historic buildings. The purpose of this paper is to assess the relevance of such precedents to the complex and urgent context of Tbilisi’s threatened architectural heritage.


The paper uses existing literature and data to establish a hypothesis in support of adopting a collaborative approach for the maintenance and rehabilitation of shared buildings in a challenging and specific context. Using socio-economic data to characterise the occupants of such buildings and current critical sources, the paper investigates how existing collective communities can be empowered to capitalise from their unique social frameworks.


It finds evidence to support theoretical claims that there is scope for co-operative networks to flourish there.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is limited to a desktop analysis and relies upon available data and literature to draw its conclusions.


This paper addresses a critical problem in the formulation of conservation plans for Old Tbilisi, it tests the relevance of global exemplars for community repair programmes by reference to existing data for the care of the predominantly domestic architecture of Old Tbilisi at a time of rapid change.



The author’s visit to Tbilisi in 2011 was funded by the British Council as a Presenter at their Identity and Spirit of Old Tbilisi roundtable. This paper was presented in formative stage as a poster at the 2014 ICOMOS International Symposium “Heritage and Landscape as Human Values”.


Prizeman, O. (2016), "Maintenance of shared spaces: courtyards of Tbilisi", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 316-329.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited