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Cultural resilience and the Smart and Sustainable City: Exploring changing concepts on built heritage and urban redevelopment

Nicholas John Clarke (Heritage and Architecture, Department of Architectural Engineering and Technology, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)
Marieke Cornelie Kuipers (Heritage and Architecture, Department of Architectural Engineering and Technology, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)
Job Roos (Heritage and Architecture, Department of Architectural Engineering and Technology, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment

ISSN: 2046-6099

Article publication date: 25 September 2019

Issue publication date: 21 May 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the conceptualisation of the Smart Sustainable City (SSC) with new concepts of resilience thinking in relation to urgent societal challenges facing the built environment. The paper aims to identify novel methodologies for smart reuse of heritage sites with a pluralist past as integral to inclusive urban development.

Design/methodology/approach

SSC concepts in the global literature are studied to define a new reference framework for integrated urban planning strategies in which cultural resilience and co-creation matter. This framework, augmented by UNESCO’s holistic recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL), was tested in two investigative projects: the historic centre of South Africa’s capital Tshwane and the proximate former Westfort leprosy colony.

Findings

The research confirms that SSC concepts need enlargement to become more inclusive in acknowledging “cultural diversity” of communities and engaging “chrono-diversity” of extant fabric. A paradigm shift in the discourse on integrated urban (re)development and adaptive reuse of built heritage is identified, influenced by resilience and sustainability thinking. Both projects show that different architectural intervention strategies are required to modulate built fabric and its emergent qualities and to unlock embedded cultural energy.

Originality/value

Together with a critical review of SSC concepts and the HUL in relation to urban (re)development, this paper provides innovative methodologies on creative adaptation of urban heritage, reconciling “hard” and “soft” issues, tested in the highly resilient systems of Tshwane.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the contributions of the participating students from the University of Pretoria and Delft University of Technology in the 2014 Re-centring Tshwane Laboratory and the 2015–2016 Westfort studio. The Shared Heritage Programme of the Netherlands supported both projects. Thanks to the staff of the Department of Architecture at the University of Pretoria, and Johan Swart in particular, for the collaboration in both projects.

Citation

Clarke, N.J., Kuipers, M.C. and Roos, J. (2020), "Cultural resilience and the Smart and Sustainable City: Exploring changing concepts on built heritage and urban redevelopment", Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 144-155. https://doi.org/10.1108/SASBE-09-2017-0041

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited