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Heritage Conservation and Sustainable Development in Sacred Places: Towards a New Approach

Serafi, SA; Fouseki, K; (2017) Heritage Conservation and Sustainable Development in Sacred Places: Towards a New Approach. In: Albert, MT and Bandarin, F and Roders, AP, (eds.) Going Beyond: Perceptions of Sustainability in Heritage Studies No. 2. (pp. 115-131). Springer: Cham, Switzerland. Green open access

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Abstract

This contribution aims to propose a new approach to sustainability, applicable in the context of sacred sites that are also imbued with heritage significance. The special focus of the paper is the case of Mecca, a sacred site of universal spiritual and historic significance. Mecca’s case deals with the challenge of having to accommodate its increasing numbers of pilgrims without disturbing the site’s spiritual value. Therefore, this case study is an excellent current example that demonstrates the tensions that arise where modern development and construction coexist or contradict the spirituality of the site. Based on discussions with local and international pilgrims on site that took place in summer 2015, the contribution unveils the pivotal role of adding a new ‘pillar’ in sustainable development models – that of spirituality. Currently, the spiritual significance of certain heritage sites lies rather uncomfortably between social and cultural sustainability. In addition, rather unexpectedly to the authors, the modern development constructions were not viewed negatively by the majority of respondents – although there were variations between ‘local’ and ‘international’ pilgrims. These results further proved that, within the context of sacred sites, modern developments can be accepted and a sustainable outcome can indeed be achieved if the planned developments aim to enhance the site’s spirituality rather than diminish it.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Heritage Conservation and Sustainable Development in Sacred Places: Towards a New Approach
ISBN-13: 978-3-319-57164-5
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-57165-2_9
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57165-2_9
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Sustainable development, Spirituality, Heritage conservation, Mecca, Sacred
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1525842
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