Historic Cities of Asia

In 2006, the Bangkok-based Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR) invited THF to undertake a joint study of the impact of historic preservation, and particularly World Heritage Status, on the urban poor. ACHR formed a steering committee, consisting of Somsook Boonyabancha, Maurice Leonhardt, Arif Hasan, Nguyen Huong and THF's André Alexander. This committee developed the research methodology, under the title "Preservation for the People". A tentative list of ten cities in Asia was compiled, taking into account ACHR's extensive network of community groups and NGOs across Asia. Maurice and André have so far visited Lijiang (China), Luang Prabang (Laos), Hoi An (Vietnam), Penang (Malaysia), Kyoto (Japan) and Bagan (Myanmar). The team was assisted by one or two local resource persons, and spend in each city several days, looking at seven key issues: participation, impact on urban poor, impact of tourism, nature of conservation work, finances, image of the city and main actors. In each city, the officials dealing with conservation were approached and interviewed. Random interviews were conducted on major markets, with shopkeepers, and people living in buildings in the historic areas.
Bhaktapur was visited by the ACHR team Chawanad Luansang and Suphana Sophonpanich.
The reports will be made available on this page.

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