Historic Districts

The Institute has a unique expertise in the revitalization of historic districts.

I2UD is a member of the core group of institutions in the Cultural Heritage and Development Network. Launched in January 1998 by UNESCO and the World Bank, this initiative aims to coordinate the activities of development aid organizations and international institutions involved in the preservation and conservation of the cultural heritage. The Network has grown to include individual specialists and a broad range of institutions providing expert advice, technical assistance, and capacity building in the field of culture and development.

Featured Project

Integrated Area Management Action Plan for Icheri Sheher

Baku, Azerbaijan
People Served
Area Size
100 hectares
World Bank
Cultural Support Heritage Project
Team members
François Vigier, Mona Serageldin, John Driscoll

The Walled City of Baku (Icheri Sheher), including the Shirvanshah’s Palace and the Maiden Tower, was selected as a UNESCO World Heritage site in December 2000 as “an outstanding and rare example of an historic urban ensemble and architecture with influence from Zoroastrian, Sassanian, Arabic, Persian, Shirvani, Ottoman and Russian cultures.”

Recent development pressures were cited by UNESCO as a threat to the integrity of Icheri Sheher and the site was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2003.

In 2006, The World Bank financed the preparation of a comprehensive management plan for Baku’s old city that included:

  • Institutional framework for a new administration of the Old City
  • Strategic interventions including necessary infrastructure improvements to remedy current weaknesses and develop its tourism potential
  • Participatory mechanisms to ensure the involvement of stakeholders and the transparency of the decision making process.

  • The management plan prepared by the Institute team was adopted by the relevant central and local authorities and endorsed by UNESCO as an appropriate strategy to safeguard and restore the site and guide infrastructure investments.

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