Cultural Memories and Sense of Place in Historic Urban Landscapes: The Case of Masrah Al Salam, the Demolished Theatre Context in Alexandria, Egypt | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
August 2020
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© 2020 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

Historic urban landscapes (HULs) are composed of layers of history and memories that are embedded in physical monuments, buildings, and memorials. Physical built fabric stores both personal and cultural memory through long association with communities. Rapid changes due to demolition and redevelopment change the nature of these places and, in turn, affect these memory storages. This paper investigates whether historical city inhabitants consider cultural memories important when managing their HULs. It further explores the effectiveness of cultural memory in creating a sense of place and enhancing the quality of life for inhabitants. The context of the demolished theatre ‘Masrah Al Salam’ in Alexandria, Egypt, was studied after city inhabitants angrily protested the theatre’s removal, indicating a strong community attachment to this lost place. A qualitative methodological approach to this study was applied by conducting on-site, semi-structured, face-to-face interviews supplemented by comments gathered from the Facebook group ‘Alexandria’s Spirit’. The QSR NVivo12 program was used as a qualitative tool for data management, analysis, and mapping intangible elements contributing to an assembly of cultural memories of this place. The study demonstrated the importance of cultural memory associated with urban elements such as iconic heritage buildings that create a sense of place and enhance the identity of our urban environments.

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Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Hussein, Fatmaelzahraa
Stephens, John
Tiwari, Reena


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