Track 4: Diversity, Population Change, and Gentrification in the Preservation Dialogue
Through an application of critical geography via mental sketch mapping techniques, this thesis seeks to understand how the Palestinian concept of sumud - steadfastness - is realized in the built environment, as well as how this concept interfaces with the more nuanced cultural values attributed to the same built space. By using the municipality of Beitunia, Palestine as a case study, an oral history is visualized through this technique, and its spatial outcomes are contrasted with the top-down heritage perspective of more traditional, monument-centered cultural resource surveys. This process uncovers the spaces throughout the municipality’s Old Town of shared and divergent values, as well as trends in how different types of residents value these spaces differently, according to age, gender, and relation to the municipality. Through this approach, this thesis argues for how heritage conservation professionals can effectively use social science tools as a driver for the social justice aims of urban planning. I conclude with policy recommendations which articulate how to promote an ongoing engagement between residents and heritage assets as forms of political resistance.