Material Culture Summary: Architexturality: An Argument in Favor of Creative Preservation of the Urban Built Environment
This article was written by Michelle Metro-Rolland. It explores how the various levels of historical structures are preserved in the cities that are struggling with rapid development and modernization (Critical Conservation par. 1). Most cities that have historical structures were analyzed. Moreover, various ways of preserving the structures were identified.
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The article has been introduced with definition of the term ‘city environment’. Moreover, the importance of history in the development of the cities has been highlighted. The writer identifies the well being in several city landscapes in the United States, Europe, and the Far East.
The historical structures offer an in-depth understanding of the political, economical, and social practices of the people who developed the cities (Rypkema 4). The author argues that while the past should be appreciated, it is also vital to embrace modernity.
The article identifies available methods that are used in the preservation of urban structures. Several international bodies that enforce international laws and policies are currently available. They mainly target the preservation of historical sites in the cities (Critical Conservation par. 2). These bodies create awareness on the need of preserving monumental structures located in cities. Some of these organizations include UNESCO, HUL, and ICOMOS.
The art of preservation of the monumental structures emerged in the late 19th century. Currently, several countries have et up laws and policies that are aimed at preserving important historical structures in their respective cities (Rypkema 4). The author managed to identify several challenges facing the preservation of structures that belonged to old cities. The most outstanding challenge is the deplorable status of the old structures.
Most of them are inhabitable and thus, pose danger to the city dwellers. The environmental conditions of the houses are also not suitable for settlement. Furthermore, modern lifestyles and living conditions have made most of these structures to be inhabitable. Since such structures cover large city areas in Eastern Europe and the U.S. it becomes quite cumbersome to maintain those structures in their original states.
The author is also quite categorical that most of the monumental structures in the cities are privately owned. This poses a significant danger towards the preservation of such structures since governments have limited control on development projects carried out on privately owned properties. However, the author highlights some ways in which privately owned monumental structures have been renovated and utilized in the modern world.
As much as the use of the structures is not similar to the original use of the structure during the historical times, it has proved to be an effective way of preserving the monumental structures without undertaking major modifications (Rypkema 5). Some of the structures that are owned by the state are used as museums and tourist attraction centers. As a matter of fact, reusing the structures proves to be a better way of preserving them (Built Environment par. 6).
The writer acknowledges the importance of buildings as a form of history preservation since movable historical artifacts can easily be lost, stolen, or destroyed. The author appreciates the modernization of the cities but believes that it can still be done without destroying the historical structures.
He also visualizes that any city is a very rich historical landscape that can offer the story of its settlers and the changes that have taken place in the social-political settings of its environment (Built Environment par. 5).
Built Environment. 2013. Web.
Critical Conservation. 2013. Web. <https://www.gsd.harvard.edu/>
Rypkema, Donovan. “Celebrating Our Urban Heritage: Globalization, Urban Heritage, and the 21st century Economy.” Global Urban Development Magazine 1.1(2005): 1-8. Web.