New Delhi, India

23-25 February 2009


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Abstracts should be (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to the mAAN7 Secretariat latest by 8th December 2008. Authors of the short-listed abstracts shall be required to submit their complete papers latest by 2nd January 2009.


Posted on 19 Oct 2008 by admin

Conference Theme:
Asian Cities – Legacies of Modernity

The 7th mAAN Conference will be held in New Delhi, India, from 23rd to 25th February 2009. The mAAN-7 conference will be located at the famous India International Centre and in close proximity to the early-20th century heart of New Delhi, one of the most endangered urban heritages of the modern world.

The fate of “‘Lutyens’ New Delhi”  – as it is widely known, in memory of the garden city’s chief architect and author of its final plan, Edwin Lutyens – is symptomatic of the beleaguered future of other such modern cities, where the heritage precinct circumscribes a prized parcel of land, preserving the image of the modern city, but at odds with the density and social character of the contemporary.

The fascinating aspect of the modern city and its tenuous existence within the contemporary metropolis is that it not only represents the spatial imagination and technology of the recent past, but is also a receptacle for polarities of privacy and publicity, of native and foreign, of order and chaos and status and hierarchy, that are now being replaced by the simulacra of post-industrial society. Space is no longer a binding or a divisive force; it is instead a common ground where the common interest of consumerism can be played out. Landscape is no longer a binding of spatial relationships; it is now the ornament worn by the enclaves of wealth. What binds the whole is infrastructure, the single parameter for judging whether the modern should be relegated to the urban trash heap or allowed to exist as a symbol of luxury or economy.

mAAN invites presentations about the myriad ways in which the modern city contributes to the formation of a modern identity. It shall inquire whether, by revitalizing the modern, the city is itself reinvented. And it will promote the idea that concerted action is needed – in the form of documentation, discourse and intervention – in order to conserve the vital socio-cultural and economic resource represented by the modern Asian city.

Call for Papers

The organizers of the conference invite abstracts for papers on the following themes:

  1. The knowing modern cities of Asia
  2. Regulating the modern architectural precinct
  3. Participatory processes in revitalization
  4. The educational imperative: training for conservation

Abstracts should be 500 words, with the name of the principal and subsidiary authors clearly indicated. Keywords should be indicated at the end of abstracts.

Abstracts should be E-mailed to the mAAN7 Secretariat ((JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) latest by 8th December 2008. Authors of the short-listed abstracts shall be required to submit their complete papers latest by 2nd January 2009.

The ‘knowing’ modern cities of Asia

A large number of Asian cities carry evidences of continuous historical evolution, from ancient civilizations to the contemporary urban agglomeration. Each of these cities, from Istanbul and Cairo to Delhi to Beijing and Tokyo, has an ever-changing urban matrix in which the historical cores and precincts are inextricably embedded. To know the contemporary Asian city is to appreciate the accretive character of urban growth as well as the durability of the city itself, which seems to have the capacity to absorb endlessly. However, heritage in general is under threat in these cities. Because the heritage building or precinct is usually an awkward artifact – resistant to the logic of modern planning and management yet compelling in its social and aesthetic unity – it has become the bane of the urban developer, more convenient to be discarded than to be assimilated. It is as if each building knows something, is a teller of history, and could either be welcomed or be treated as a threat, telling stories that contemporary society does not want to hear.

The session will combine presentations that explore the urban knowledge embedded in modern heritage, and the process by which the conservation and revitalization process can be a enlightening process, informing and assuring the present-day society of its past, uncovering a knowledge that is too valuable to be lost. Papers could engage with the theoretical, practical and documentary aspects of the subject, presenting ways of seeing the Asian city that have been overlooked and potentials in heritage conservation that have not been tapped. 

Regulating the modern architectural precinct

The modern architectural precinct presents a peculiar set of problems for the heritage conservationist and the city administrator. Unlike ancient heritage, which has a morphological character and scale that is radically different from the plan and intent of the contemporary metropolis, the modern precinct represents a stage in the evolution of the metropolis itself. Preserving and revitalizing the modern precinct is thus a task that requires the administrator to be also a historian, and the developer to be also a curator. Drafting a set of regulations for a modern precinct is like creating a code for preserving a specific practice of urban living, not merely the edifice that represents a distant past.

mAAN invites papers and presentations on the subject of legislation and administration for the specific purpose of revitalizing modern heritage precincts. We invite a discussion of examples from Asian and non-Asian countries, where the existence of built heritage from the 19th and 20th centuries has attracted the attention of planners, administrators and conserving communities. The session shall focus on the premise that good governance lies at the core of a policy regime that is directed towards preserving a character that is unique and irreplaceable, thereby preventing – legally and institutionally – the assault of modern heritage by conspicuous consumption of urban space.

Participatory processes in revitalization

A significant aspect of the revitalization of modern heritage is the growing need for local participation and collaboration amongst the public and various stakeholders, as well as the active involvement of the government. Unlike the preservation of archeological sites, modern heritage is usually a lived-in built environment that commands a high price, because of its usually privileged location within the metropolis, and also houses a category of persons – say, the industrial worker, or the welfare state officer – that is becoming outmoded and redundant in the new economy. Modern heritage precincts, many of them residential or mixed-use planned neighborhoods, are sites of conflict and potential resolution, thus becoming the locations for cooperative rebuilding of the city.

mAAN seeks presentations of successful participatory processes leading to the preservation and revitalization of modern heritage precincts. Papers could explore a variety of approaches to encourage participation, analyze existing models of the conservation process, and document examples of successful community-based revitalization.

The educational imperative: training for conservation

It is a widely perceived that the process and final outcomes of the revitalization of modern heritage requires the professionals and other stakeholders to have particular skills; intellectual, social and communicational. Further, these skills are different for different Asian societies, depending on the relationships between practitioners and government, and between society and professionals.

mAAN would like to explore the diversity as well as the commonality between the scenarios in different countries, in order to arrive at a shared understanding of the steps that need to be taken; generally, at a pan-Asian level, and particularly, for specific countries, to ensure that the field of heritage revitalization is adequately served by professionals with the appropriate skills, knowledge and sensibility.

Papers would typically address the challenges of education and training for the field of modern heritage revitalization, either discussing and comparing different pedagogical and professional approaches, or sharing case studies that illustrate emerging dimensions of the phenomenon. Papers could also discuss the variety of techniques now available for the task of revitalization, and the ways in which knowledge-processing, mapping and similar technologies are able to assist the field of heritage conservation.


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