Cultural Dimension of Revitalization in Historical City Centers


MILLI FOLKLOR, no.130, pp.84-95, 2021 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Journal Name: MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.84-95
  • Keywords: Cultural space, intangible cultural heritage, revitalization, historical city center, transmission
  • Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University Affiliated: Yes


Urbanization is a two-way process that affects cities as space and individuals / societies as subjects. In this process, the residential areas, commercial spaces, open and closed public spaces of the cities have changed, and the production and consumption styles, lifestyles and cultural practices of the societies have been directly affected by this change. Especially in big cities, among the places where the greatest changes have been observed starting from the first years of urbanization until today, there are areas named in different ways such as "historical city center", "old city center", "historical urban area" or "historical urban area". The centers, whose history can be traced back to the foundation of cities, contain many historical and cultural heritage elements; For this reason, centers are included in the status of "urban protected area". In addition, historical city centers function as a public space for the urban dwellers with their commercial, social and cultural images, as well as contain natural and cultural heritage elements and bear the traces of communities. However, the rapid, excessive and unplanned population movements caused an agglomeration in the city centers. Besides, with the construction of new business areas and production and consumption spaces, these centers lost their residents and their attractiveness, together with commercial and economic functions and they became an area of collapse over time. The cultural and historical heritage elements in these centers, which were abandoned both as a living space and commercially and socially, have also been affected by the process of abandonment. However, over time, urban renewal and revitalization practices focused on these areas. Historical city centers, which are one of the main subjects of the city and cultural heritage approaches and studies due to their cultural and historical heritage, have come to the fore in urban conservation approaches primarily in terms of the protection of tangible heritage elements, but as a result of the changes in cultural heritage approaches, one-way urban conservation approaches have been replaced by a holistic view of tangible and intangible cultural heritage together. This change made it possible to handle urban renewal and regeneration practices, which are considered as one of the urban conservation methods, from multiple perspectives; it has made it necessary to consider the subject as a cultural renewal process beyond physical restoration. It can be suggested that the revitalization projects implemented in city centers have three dimensions: The dimension of safeguarding of cultural heritage, dimension of tourism and social dimension. Within the scope of this article, the social dimension will be discussed in the context of these centers' characteristics of cultural transmission and sharing and, the focus will be on the cultural dimension of revitalization. Accordingly, the concepts of urban renewal and revitalization will be explained first; in addition, the reasons and processes that bring about the revitalization of urban centers will be discussed.