Traditionally, the term “value” emerges in relation to what is to be preserved in the field of conservation. The main concepts of conservation knowledge, however, have gone through many changes, and the evaluation of values in cultural heritage conservation has also dramatically changed. In this way, with the introduction of any new idea, the concepts and values related to a building are subjected to change and, consequently, the manner in which values are approached has been transformed over time.
In this regard, what is considered in today’s literature of conservation and restoration, both in Iran and other countries, and of course with different levels of concern, is the necessity of recognizing hidden values contained in a heritage site and centering these values in the revitalization and conservation of works. Nevertheless, recognizing values and their characteristics requires a series of evaluation methods which rely on factors such as heritage type (tangible and intangible). These methods should be carefully studied in order to provide the context for transferring values to the future.
This issue has been raised in recent years in Iran, but no systematic and consistent methodology has yet been developed. Further, addressing the regeneration of values in the historical context, which is the subject of the current study, has always remained low-level, whether describing only physical aspects based on science or the criteria of evaluation or viewing them from an emotional perspective, so it is merely an author’s commentary rather than a qualitative and valuable evaluation. Hence, attempts have been made to carefully and methodologically explore the context studied in this research. In this way, identifying the hidden values in this historical context will enable us to develop a comprehensive value-based regeneration plan.
In relation to Kashan, Iran, various studies have been made in the forms of books, articles, and dissertations. They have either generally referred to the problems of the city, like other historical cities of the country, or considered some preconceived approaches and solutions for them. That is, no systematic method has currently been developed that considers how to regenerate values regarding the principles of sustainability in this context, and how to carry out design work that portrays these values.
As the first step towards this end, finding a methodology and reaching a typology of values are the subjects addressed in this study. They are consistent with the situation, circumstances, and characteristics of the historical context in Iran and in proportion to certain meanings derived from social, historical, and cultural characteristics of various regions of Iran. Further, developing methods of achieving a comprehensive plan for regeneration and conservation, based on the values of heritage, inspired by global thoughts and regarding vernacular experiences in Iran, is also part of the agenda. Studying texts and library documents along with field observations are the two methods applied in the current research with available information being updated and completed.
The Nara Document has expanded the Venice Charter (1964) to identify the values of national and international heritage. The charter emphasizes concepts such as cultural diversity, values, and authenticity. For example, part of the charter states that “the conservation of cultural heritage resources is rooted in all their historical forms and values attributed to their heritage” [1
] (p. 150).
Further, Article 65 of the Nara Document states that architectural values should be conserved on the scale of either single buildings or urban territories [1
] (p. 131).
The term regeneration refers to the revitalization, renewal, and natural recreation of a part of living history which is in danger of being destroyed [2
]. Urban regeneration is the attempt to improve the physical structures and elements, and more importantly, the quality of life in the form of urban development plans [3
] (p. 48).
In the 1990s, urban restoration with the regeneration approach was put into practice, which is an approach that attempts to create a new identity appropriate for the living conditions of the contemporary era while looking at the past without destroying historical identities [4
] (p. 18). The regeneration policy was established in Western countries and then, in the 1990s, was followed by the rise of a new policy called the “Cities’ Challenges” [5
] (p. 75).
Based on all of these documents and theories, this paper presents a methodical study of the historical context of Kashan and its values and then codifies a proper regeneration plan. Various studies have been conducted on Kashan city, such as those by Birshak (1996, 1997), Tehran University (2000), Safamanesh, and others.
Moreover, this paper addresses the following questions: How do value identification methods help the regeneration of the Kashan historical context? How do new functions correspond with these values? What issues should be considered in terms of physical aspects of the city.
2. The Regeneration Concept
In recent literature of the world, “urban regeneration” is used as a generic term which embraces concepts such as rehabilitation, renovation, and reconstruction. Urban regeneration is a process that leads to the creation of a new urban space with the main spatial features (physical and functional) being preserved. In this way, a new urban space is created that, despite sharing fundamental similarities with an old urban space, reveals significant and semantic differences with the old one [6
] (p 5). In this approach, attention is paid to the preservation of cultural values as well as vernacular and historical wealth, criticism of constructions with only one function instead of multiple functions, attention to qualitative measures along with quantitative measures, participation of social groups in the process of regeneration, etc.
In urban regeneration, urban development occurs in the sense of quantitative growth of city elements for housing, as well as improving quality of life in the form of urban development projects. Urban infill development is indeed the utilization of potential and actual strengths of urban planning, as well as the attempt to balance the qualitative and quantitative distribution of population, the coordination between infrastructures of urban life, and the application of social participation and dynamics [7
] (p. 47).
3. Recognizing Kashan Historic City
According to the country’s divisions, Kashan is located in northeastern province of Isfahan with an area of 4408 km2
. Kashan is located 244 km in south of Tehran, at 51 degrees, 27 min east and 33 degrees, and 59 min northern latitude from the Greenwich meridian. This city is located on the main highways of the country with a privileged position (Figure 1
] (p. 2).
The city of Kashan can be studied in terms of historical and linguistic aspects, information about which overlaps in some cases. The most famous names in the ancient texts of this city are: Qasan-Kas rood, Kah Fashan, Kasan, and Key ashian. According to linguists, Kashan refers to summer houses made of wood and straw [11
] (p. 557). The plan for revitalization and improvement of the historical context of Kashan has been suggested by Iran Ministry of Roads and Urban Development along with the Shahr o Khaneh Consultancy. The map of the Kashan is shown in Figure 2
Urban context is very dense and there is no trace of new settlements on the outskirts of the city. Many of the main streets of the city have not been created, including Fazel Naraghi Street.
As can be seen, the city does not extend beyond the old range, as observed in Adam Olarius’s painting (Figure 3
). In another picture, the development and evolution of the city of Kashan from the beginning to the end of the Seljuk period is shown (Figure 4
). The picture of the Kashan city and a painting of the city by Jean Shardin is also demonstrated (Figure 5
The Sarpelleh historic neighborhood has been selected as the case study of this research, which is one of the valuable districts of the old city. This neighborhood has precious historic buildings, narrow passageways, and water storage facilities, as well as many intangible features (Figure 6
4. Materials and Methods
The nature of this research is qualitative; therefore, concerning the documentary and library studies, “content analysis” and “logical deduction” methods are used to achieve a conceptual framework. In content analysis of this work, the researcher has tried to deduce from the events and find some aspects, then apply them to the proposed system based on recognition of sustainable factors. The content analysis has an important role in the research process, as it has the ability to analyze the unrecognized phenomena by mediating the related data. The current research also used context studies and surveys to identify the values of the case study [19
]. The lack of theories and intellectual frameworks, as well as principled solutions, necessitates conducting a study in this regard. In order to achieve the research objectives, the following methods will be used: Studying documents, including literature review, and clarifying the issue; reviewing relevant documents in this field; studying books and academic resources (theses and academic research, journals); exploring relevant resources of corresponding institutions (Housing Foundation and Cultural Heritage Organization); searching the internet; studying charters; reviewing theories related to the subject; exploring criteria; reviewing proposed solutions as well as systematic experiences of other countries, including international organizations, foundations, and institutions concerning with heritage preservation.
Regarding the methods used, a theoretical and intellectual framework in four main axes is planned: Strategies and policies; planning and designing; implementation; and finally analyzing models and the solutions obtained by field studies, including identifying and documenting the existing condition, weaknesses, and potentials, as well as question and answer in the form of interviews with indigenous people. This is to provide a suitable model and formulate the principles and guidelines for achieving the desired goals and then analyzing collected information, planning and ranking of priorities, and ultimately achieving the basic principles and guidelines for re-establishment through the process of designing and setting policies and strategies.
5. Theories and Valuation History (Existing Literature in the World and Iran)
During recent years, efforts have been made to evaluate cultural and social values, and tools and methods for recognition of values have increased. Many have tried to classify values over the years. Some of the differences represent and restrict the way of reaching an agreement and a single view on the categorization of values. However, these differences often represent the context and a specific time in which these ideas are formed; examples of different types of values have been categorized in [20
] (p. 60) (Table 1
The previous classifications of the concept of value, by experts, researchers, charters, and organizations in different articles, suggest the comprehensiveness of this concept in the field of cultural heritage. Different classifications of this field have been originated from the “culture of societies”, “need of the research”, and “intellectual priorities of individuals”. However, these can generally be classified into two kinds of values—inherent and instrumental—which have always been evident in all classifications. Bernard Feilden, in his valuable book “The Conservation of Historic Buildings”, introduced the most organized classification in this field, which can be regarded as the most complete classification of value concept in the field of cultural heritage.
Scrutinizing the presented classifications, it can be pointed out that in all kinds of classifications, paying attention to the culture and norms of the society as well as its relation with time are some of the most important common points [21
] (pp. 26–28). Therefore, the value system for the case study of the research can be provided, for the most preferred values along with the features of place and nature. The conservation concept was first raised by the Athens Charter (1931) and in response to the modern conservation movement, it was followed by regeneration and revitalization concepts, representations of different point of views and ideas in recent years [21
] (pp. 26–28). After presenting a research background in relation to the concept of value and its classification types in the field of cultural heritage, it is necessary to consider the literature in relation to regeneration.
6. Values in Regeneration Schemes
Enhancing values by design in urban areas has been the focus of attention for decades. On the one hand, the formation of this attitude is rooted in the intellectual traditions associated with the city, the way inhabitants form their settlements based on social values and beliefs as studied by Rappaport (1977) and then continued [22
]. On the other hand, theories of urban sociology that focus on space generation based on social procedures [23
] are the social actuators of such an attitude formation. The economic aspect of this viewpoint is due to the view of leftist specialists towards the city, who consider it as a kind of capital in the economic reproduction [24
]. These backgrounds in urban design created the concept of urban catalysts [25
], which ultimately led to the formation of the value improvement attitude. The main source for improving the values in city based on design interventions is a report by the Commission for Architecture and the Build Environment (CABE) prepared by Carmona et al. In this study, researchers investigated the ways in which design leads to value improvement. Case studies of groups paying for the development and those that benefit from it were studied in Britain. One of the most important issues in value survey on the opinion of this research group is the transformation of use value and exchange value to one another, as well as evaluating values of a plan for society, which is, to a large, extent unmeasurable. Finally, this group examined case studies based on quantitative and qualitative studies and questionnaires [26
7. Analysis of Detailed Plans in the Neighborhood
In the first stage, the detailed plan for the city of Kashan in 1977 (preservation and development of the city) was divided into two parts: (i) Planning the city’s future development and equipping its marginal areas; (ii) proposals for revitalization, maintenance, and equipping the historic and valuable territory of the city. The first category is based on the future needs of the city, studies, as well as population and density projections. The city needs are estimated according to the area, with a preserving eye trying to reduce the pressure on the historic part of the city, causing capital outflow from the historic site. One of the reasons for such a condition is not properly implementing the detailed plan in the city. For example, the tree-lined street designed in the north of Tepe Sialk has never been built. The second category of proposals refers to the old territories, and focuses on blowing a new spirit into the body of the historic city, which is well-coordinated in the context. However, in years after the compilation of the detailed plan, an important principle preventing widening pathways and streets was ignored and this one-dimensional view, which regards streets as being only for vehicles crossing, along with the policy of their widening, has persisted until now.
According to the detailed plan of 1985 for the studied area, the passage selected to be widened (8 m) and used by vehicles is in line with one of the valuable and historic routes of the context. This passage is currently the place of crossing vehicles, where parts of the houses in the eastern edge of the passage have been destroyed for widening. Although this scheme facilitates access regarding context and streamlines traffic, it has more disadvantages than advantages, including:
Introducing traffic and pollution into the context, beyond the capacity of the neighborhood;
Changing the edges to commercial units and gradually destroying spaces in the street edges and their backspaces;
The passage crosses the center of the historic neighborhood, destroying the identity of this space;
Demolition of many historically valuable houses and gateways on the path to be widened;
Destruction of visual and physical cohesion of the context.
The revitalization and rehabilitation plan of the historical context of Kashan in 1994 has addressed the barriers and challenges ahead of the revitalization and rehabilitation of the old context. They include lack of a clear and consistent strategy for the old context, problems with the rules and regulations of reconstruction and renovation, changing cultural values in the old context, lack of education in the field of cultural values in general, and high costs of reconstruction.
Based on the following relevant detailed plan in 2006, the area of Sarpelleh neighborhood is located in a part of the city identified as a particular historical context. In this project, the areas of Falahati house and the southern houses of Sarpelleh mosque have been proposed as areas for district service centers which, given their location in the historical neighborhood center and the historic and valuable Sarpelleh passageway, seems to be a correct choice. The design does not include any local green open spaces, and the only open space on the southern side of the neighborhood is considered for sports use. There are also water cisterns available for utilizing urban facilities.
8. Examining Existing Values in the Context of Sarpelleh Neighborhood
This research seeks to evaluate the Sarpelleh historic neighborhood values. Based on the studies and site visits carried out by the authors, the value systems of the neighborhood have been identified in three categories: (1) Historical and social values, (2) environmental and physical values, and (3) economic values (Table 2
), with qualitative and quantitative attributes presented for these values. Quantitative attributes include a number of architectural elements, places, and occupation areas, while in the qualitative category, the introduced features are not measurable. Finally, by identifying various aspects of values, we can begin to design goals in three categories of the values, in order for the regeneration plans to be defined.
9. Categorizing Values
Given the values system and the identified valuable elements and spaces available in the area, these values are illustrated in urban plans with colors to represent the social, economic, and environmental values. Further, to specify the subset of these three categories, encoding method is used. In places where the values are overlapping, combinations of the three used colors are applied (Table 3
) (Figure 7
Further, the potentials and valuable spaces in the context were also identified. They included old and main access routes of the city and access to valuable places and areas of the context such as Bazaar in the north of the context, valuable and historic buildings, open spaces to be designed based on the neighborhood needs, as well as spaces with special and engaging functions that have unique characteristics and reflect the identity and character of the neighborhood. Such spaces are Tekyeh, as a general gathering space, places for traditional dyeing of fabrics, water cisterns, and arched passageways. Also, Manouchehri cultural and tourism complex is addressed as a potential for the revival of the entire area.
Physical damages to the context, on the one hand, have mainly started with development of streets and discontinuity of the intertexture relations, ultimately leading to the rebuilding of the destroyed buildings in a new style, and commercial buildings’ attraction to the margin of the streets. This has gradually wiped out growth of the neighborhood center and the inter-neighborhood relations. Also, the organic context of this area, the design of old streets based on pedestrian access, and the presence of narrow and winding streets, cause difficulties for vehicle access and services in this area as well as some other problems in response. In addition, the great antiquity of the context, its physical depreciation, and lack of maintenance of buildings for various economic and social reasons, have created dilapidated spaces and thus inappropriate places in terms of social, physical, and aesthetic aspects.
According to the results, it can be argued that recognizing values and their features requires evaluation methods which should be carefully examined in order to provide the context of transferring values of historical context to the future. Concerning the recognition of the area being studied, the values are first categorized into social, environmental, and economic groups. Then the goals are identified with several options compared for the neighborhood rehabilitation according to the level of regeneration of values. Eventually, an option is proposed that allows restoration and rehabilitation of the existing values establishing a balance between the three groups of values at a higher level. This is also the option the proposed design is based on. In this way, we have taken steps to answer the questions raised in the research.
10.1. Important Design Goals Are Defined as Follows
The authors have categories the main design goals in three main categories of “historical and social values”, “environmental values” and “economical values”, which are reviewed as follows:
10.1.1. Historical and Social Values
Educating the residents,
Improving the local government and local service offices,
Providing welfare services to residents and visitors,
Developing and promoting the role of the center of the neighborhood on a local and regional scale; as a destination for shopping, employment, culture, spending leisure time, and tourism,
Allocating neighborhood public spaces as spaces for leisure.
10.1.2. Environmental Values
Developing the public spaces according to people’s demand,
Improving access to the neighborhood center,
Developing and improving urban infrastructure as well as providing the required urban services.
10.1.3. Economic Values
Developing shopping intentions,
Developing real estate and commercial units,
Creating job opportunities,
Connecting the center of the neighborhood and historic Bazaar in the northern side.
10.2. Regeneration Policies Based on the Values
Further, the regeneration policies have been based on the several dimensions of “historical and social dimensions”, “environmental dimensions”, and “economic dimensions”:
10.2.1. Historical and Social Dimension
Maintaining and reviving traditional residents’ relations,
Investing in portions of context to accommodate small households,
Collaborating and engaging people in the implementation of the programs,
Strengthening the elements and sets of social services in the context and preventing creation of similar buildings.
10.2.2. Environmental Dimension
Providing conditional access into the fabric,
Prioritizing pedestrian access within the context,
Paying attention to the rehabilitation and restoration of valuable buildings and the necessity of noting the form, materials, empty space, and the dimensions of suitable spaces and passages to the climatic conditions.
10.2.3. Economic Dimension
Maintaining and reviving traditional productions in the neighborhood,
Creating retail attractions in the context of texture and pushing major activities to the periphery of the street,
Restoring and regenerating commercial units.
10.3. Proposed Planning
In this section, three alternatives are presented, and finally the third one was selected, which establishes the greatest balance between the three values.
The critical idea for the detailed plan of the city dealt with the widening of the middle passageway of the neighborhood (this historical passageway has been connecting the north street to the south). The other critical idea was about the commercial functions defined without considering the historical identity of the central part of the neighborhood. This option, therefore, suggests for the return to the previous status.
This alternative has a critical perspective of widening the historical passageway and has purposed a walkway axis without widening the streets.
The widening plan of the historical passageway results in the destruction of a large number of houses on the margin of this passageway, while facilitating access, better services, economic development, and rising land value in the context. Therefore, the proposed plan is accepted if the passageway is paved, so that unnecessary traffic, noise pollution, and disturbing pedestrians’ and cyclists’ comfort is prevented. Furthermore, paving the passageway offers value-based design patterns in the destructed edges, which prevents historical identity destruction and visual disturbance in the facades.
According to what was presented, some of the action plans are as follows.
The action plans have been scheduled into three main periods: “short-term”, “mid-term”, and “long-term”.
Reusing existing buildings adaptively during short term,
Providing criteria and patterns of intervention in the context,
Revitalizing commercial units to provide handmade arts,
Making passways more legible by lighting, flooring, and signing.
Designing and constructing parking lots for residents and clients,
Revitalization of dyeing and knitting workshops in the context,
Establishing and strengthening the local governance institutions and community service offices.
Creating short- and long-term training courses as well as professional, creative, and efficient training in the field of traditional arts in the region,
Developing the public spaces,
Maintaining and restoring native residents.
This research began with identifying values of the historical context of Kashan city and modeling them in the process of regeneration. Recognizing values and their characteristics requires evaluation methods which should be carefully examined in order to provide the context for transferring values of the historical context to the future.
Our research objectives were divided into macro and micro categories. On a macro scale, the typology of the hidden values in the historical context of Kashan was identified, while on a micro scale, the aim was to design a cultural–historical axis in accordance with today’s needs. In this design, authenticity of the design, quality of deployment, construction, and materials were aimed for so that no harm and inconsistency to the historical context values would be caused by the new function, and instead the values of the historical context would be improved.
At the beginning of the research, we addressed the necessity of recognizing the values of the historical context and gave a brief understanding of the city of Kashan. According to the theories and history of valuation discussed as the research background, improving the values by design has been the focus of experts in urban areas. The most important source for value improvement in cities based on design interventions is the report of Commission for Architecture and the Build Environment (CABE).
We also dealt with the city’s physical concerns, which should have been considered in our design, by analyzing the detailed plans of 1977, 1985, and 2006 in the area of our design as well as analysis of the 1994 revitalization and rehabilitation plan of the historical context.
Also, the potential and valuable spaces in the context were identified. According to the results of the research, three main factors of environmental promotion, economic development, and social inclusion were categorized as the fundamentals of regeneration policy and design objectives. Finally, the design strategy options were evaluated where short-, mid-, and long-term action plans were presented in proportion to the three proposed options. The current study is an opportunity to open up such an extensive issue in the field of urban restoration and regeneration, and tried to introduce some aspects of this vast reality to the extent possible in this paper. At the same time, it provided an appropriate background for further research to be continued by researchers.