Cultural Memories for Better Place Experience: The Case of Orabi Square in Alexandria, Egypt.
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Globalization is associated with significant transformations in city forms and cultural and social performances. Governments and cultural heritage organisations increasingly appreciate the importance of preserving diverse physical cultural heritage through rehabilitation and the implementation of conservation plans. Nevertheless, there is a need to evaluate whether these plans understand the importance of cultural memory in societies, as well as how it affects the human psyche. Utilizing Orabi Square, which is one of the richest Historic Urban Landscapes (HUL) in the metropolitan city of Alexandria in Egypt, this study aims to answer the question; to what extent does Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) management present a situation that maintains cultural memory and achieve psychosocial well-being? The research explored the site’s old and new conditions and place experience, applying a qualitative approach through onsite face-to-face semi-structured interviews combined with data from a Facebook group—Alexandria’s Spirit. The QSR Nvivo12 analysis program was used for the data interpretation and for charting the intangible values accompanying cultural memory such as emotions and behaviour. The study indicated that cultural memory is an affective catalyst for emotional attachment to place and is an important factor informing sense of place. Based on our study, inclusion of cultural memories should be an integral element in the future management plans of Orabi Square to enhance place experience and psychosocial well-being.
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