In 2021, UNESCO inscribed Al-Salt city as a World Heritage Site, branding it “The Place of Tolerance and Urban Hospitality”. With diverse communities settling into its dense urban fabric over the centuries, Al-Salt’s public spaces have been the link between homes, religions, and cultures and have preserved the culture of hospitality and tolerance in a melting pot. The integrity of Al-Salt is vulnerable, and the rehabilitation and conservation of these spaces and their related living heritage assets are necessary to maintain the hospitable urban fabric. Accordingly, this project aims to enhance the social cohesion, increase the livelihood opportunities, and maintain the integrity of Al-Salt city through the rehabilitation of safe, inclusive, and accessible green public spaces, the development of a city-wide public space strategy, as well as the documentation, promotion, and valorisation of living heritage assets within Al-Salt Municipality. This project is aligned with national strategic objectives as well as the WUF 11 Katowice Declared Actions, specifically the reconfirmation of culture as a “core component of local identity” and “an integral part of the solution to the challenges of urbanisation.”
This project adopts a multi-dimensional approach that is informed by the urban development pressures and challenges that threaten the vulnerable sustainability, authenticity, and cohesion of the urban fabric of Al-Salt city. The rehabilitated spaces will provide the necessary platforms to facilitate marketplaces and economic exchange to improve the socioeconomic conditions of vulnerable communities in Al-Salt. The expected results of this project are articulated through the following outcomes and outputs:
Outcome 1: Strengthened urban governance on designing, managing, and maintaining public spaces.
• Output 1.1: Co-develop a city-wide public space strategy with Al-Salt Municipality. Outcome 2: Enhanced social cohesion, economic opportunities, and wellbeing of vulnerable communities through the provision of safe, inclusive, and green public space(s) and the promotion of their shared heritage assets.
• Output 2.1: Conduct Public Space Site-Specific Assessment(s), including living heritage assets inventory, within the walkable radius of the selected public space(s).
• Output 2.2: Rehabilitate one public space, with special attention given to the needs of women/ girls, people with disabilities, and refugees.
Outcome 3: Strengthened capacity of local authorities and awareness of local communities on the importance of safe, inclusive, and accessible public space and their transformative power to enhance resilience and safety.
• Output 3.1: Build capacities of local authorities on how to develop and maintain safe, inclusive, and accessible public spaces and on the importance of inventorying living heritage assets.
• Output 3.2: Raise awareness of local communities on the importance of safe, inclusive, and accessible public space, as well as on the coexisting living heritage assets and the need to maintain them.
The proposed intervention will begin with and be informed by the UN-Habitat Public Space City-Wide Assessment and the implemented pilot project will be informed by the UN-Habitat Public Space Site-Specific Assessments findings and analysis.