Lecture “Heritage-led Collaboration in a Divided City: The Nicosia Master Plan”, Leuven

The lecture “Heritage-led Collaboration in a Divided City: The Nicosia Master Plan” will take place on 7 March (17.00-18.30) at the Aula Stuk in Leuven. Agni Petridou, former Head of the Nicosia Master Plan (Greek Cypriot part of the team) and Ali Güralp, Head of the Nicosia Master Plan (Turkish Cypriot part of the team), will present on their experience of implementing the Nicosia Master Plan, the challenges they faced and the results of their efforts. The lecture is organised by KU Leuven and Europa Nostra and has the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

Ever since the establishment of the military buffer-zone in the capital of Cyprus in 1964, the historic centre of Nicosia has suffered from years of neglect and socio-economic decline, resulting in a population decline and a loss in employment opportunities. To address these issues and many other planning problems, a bi-communal multidisciplinary team was founded, comprising both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot experts with the aim of preparing a common planning strategy for Nicosia. In the technical sector, the first bi-communal cooperation was formed in order to improve and complete a common sewerage system for the divided city and then, one year later, this cooperation was extended to the preparation of a common urban plan for the whole city. This initiative was named the Nicosia Master Plan. To tackle the challenges facing the city, the NMP-team opted for a cultural heritage-based plan with a focus on the restoration and revitalisation of the Walled City, renovating both monumental and residential areas in order to attract people back to the historic centre. To achieve their goal in such a difficult political climate, the NMP team introduced a system of ‘twin’ colleagues and ‘twin’ projects, effectively stimulating collaboration on both sides of the buffer-zone.

In 2011, the study of the architectural heritage of the buffer zone in the Walled City of Nicosia that was implemented within the framework of the bi-communal Nicosia Master Plan Project (NMP), received a Grand Prix of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award. The Buffer Zone in the Historic Centre of Nicosia was included on the first ever list of the 7 Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe in 2013. The speakers most recently presented together on the same subject at the 5th Anniversary Conference of the 7 Most Endangered programme and Capacity Building Days on Endangered Heritage which took place in Nicosia on 22-24 October 2018 (more information and a report on the conference is available here). The conference was organised by Europa Nostra, the voice of cultural heritage in Europe.

Admission is free but registration at this link is required.