Designing Urban National Memory

  • The study of memory, architecture, and urban space has been the interest ‎of ‎researchers ‎from the diverse fields around the world due to, the significance of dealing ‎with ‎memories ‎especially after the tragedy of the Second World War. Nations in Europe has chosen ‎not to ‎neglect ‎their past, moreover, overcoming it by strengthening the national identity. An ‎approach was clear in ‎theThe study of memory, architecture, and urban space has been the interest ‎of ‎researchers ‎from the diverse fields around the world due to, the significance of dealing ‎with ‎memories ‎especially after the tragedy of the Second World War. Nations in Europe has chosen ‎not to ‎neglect ‎their past, moreover, overcoming it by strengthening the national identity. An ‎approach was clear in ‎the literature, art, further in the way of rebuilding their cities; that mainly ‎has reflected on the ‎value of urban spaces and their role in narrating the country’s national ‎memory. Thanks to this ‎approach, which has supported the post-war European nations to invite ‎to an act of ‎ forgiveness rather than to forget. ‎ On the contrary, memory, in relation to architecture is a form of knowledge has been ‎neglected in Egypt, especially during the previous decades after the declaration of independence ‎from the colonial power, and since 1952 revolution. Recently, a rising debate about Egypt ‎national history and the need to renationalize the Egyptian historical consciousness has rapidly ‎grown up, due to the political transformation has occurred because of the 25th uprising, 2011, ‎which unveiled the power of public spaces in constituting the nation thoughts, especially Tahrir ‎square.‎ At the same time, this has unveiled the results of neglecting the past instead of overcoming it; unveiled a present carries the danger of conflict and repeating previous mistakes. Researchers, historians, politicians, governmental organization, have ‎worked in the purpose of revisiting the historical information, and have tried to document the ‎current transformation of the 25th uprising. There was a public demand for redesigning Tahrir square to reflect the ‎memory of the uprising as a symbol of the power of the public. However, after eight years, those ‎memories have faded as if the 25th uprising has never happened. ‎ Those circumstances are very relevant to the gap between urban design and the art of ‎memory-work, in the scientific field. Few studies in Egypt conducted the concept of memory in ‎relation to urban spaces, however, the matter requires more attention, to associate the need for renationalizing Egypt ‎memory, with viewing urban space as a mean of narrating the country’s national memory and ‎reflecting the citizens' current thoughts, as a try of nearing the distances between ‎competing ‎narratives. Therefore, the research aims at developing a methodological framework that should ‎contribute to renationalizing memory through urban space. Further, benefiting from the German experience by investigating lessons to learn. That is based on the hypothesis that, although there is no fixed formula for all countries to renationalize the historical ‎consciousness of memory through urban spaces, lessons to be learned from Germany experience ‎could be a driving dimension when designing Egyptian urban spaces with a concept of memory ‎as an essential factor. To guide the validity of the study’s hypothesis, a set of research questions are thus ‎formulated: Starting from why memory is an essential factor when designing urban spaces? ‎Regarding Egypt national memory, how it was constituted through history and how to read its ‎representation on urban spaces? Also, the study quests the means of nationalizing memory ‎through urban spaces? And What are the learned lessons from the German experience?‎ The study tries to answer those questions. Via an inductive ‎analytical ‎methodology ‎which ‎moves from the gap of knowledge and from a particular situation ‎in Egypt, to study the German ‎experience in renationalizing the concept of memory through urban spaces.‎ ‎ Within the scope of the study, exploring Egypt prevailing narratives and the inherited ‎concepts which influenced the national memory is essential. Moreover, the research develops ‎analytical political psychosocial model that could help reading memories in urban spaces, ‎memory’s actors, and memory influences. To validate this model, case studies are analysed in ‎light of the concluded aspects. Consequently, the expected result is to infer broad general ‎learned ‎lessons for the Egyptian case. ‎ Research findings and conclusions answer the research questions, interpret literature ‎review, recommend some guide points to three target groups: first, practice field; to encourage ‎designers to value the national and collective memories when designing urban spaces. Second, to ‎ask policymakers to take the public participation into consideration, when taking decisions related to urban ‎development. Third, the thesis recommends future researches of urban memory that connect ‎theoretical information with the practice field. ‎ Finally, enhancing the memory-work in relation to the national narrative, conveying a meaningful message, when ‎designing urban spaces could encourage citizens to learn, to interact, and to dissolve boundaries ‎between the competing narratives in post-conflict societies.‎show moreshow less

Download full text files

Export metadata

Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Author:Dr. phil. Riham ElrasoulGND
DOI (Cite-Link):
URN (Cite-Link):
Referee:Prof. Dr.-phil. Frank EckardtORCiDGND, Assoc. Prof. Hebatallah Abouelfadl
Advisor:Prof. Dr.-phil. Frank EckardtORCiDGND
Date of Publication (online):2019/12/12
Year of first Publication:2019
Date of final exam:2019/12/06
Release Date:2019/12/12
Publishing Institution:Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Granting Institution:Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Fakultät Architektur und Urbanistik [bis 2014 Fakultät Architektur]
Institutes and partner institutions:Fakultät Architektur und Urbanistik / Professur Sozialwissenschaftliche Stadtforschung
Tag:Designing Urban National Memory; Learned Lessons; Post-Conflict society; Prevailing/ Competing Narratives; Reading Urban National Memory
GND Keyword:Erinnerung; Denkmal; Kulturerbe; Ägypten
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Künste und Unterhaltung / 720 Architektur
BKL-Classification:56 Bauwesen / 56.60 Architektur: Allgemeines
Licence (German):License Logo Creative Commons 4.0 - Namensnennung-Keine kommerzielle Nutzung-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)