Post Syrian-war material recovery, reuse and transformation in the Old City of Aleppo

Christine Kousa*, Uta Pottgiesser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
635 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Eight years of civil war in Syria severely impacted the historic core of Aleppo, with about 30 percent of its buildings completely destroyed and huge amounts of debris generated. This paper proposes recovery strategies for some of the most badly damaged sites in the city through material reuse and transformation, one of the goals of which is to ensure the continuity of the city’s urban cultural heritage. The purpose of this paper is to presents not only risks but also opportunities with respect to the integration of technologies to support recovery and reconstruction. Design/methodology/approach: The paper analyzes the current situation in the Old City of Aleppo by identifying the most seriously damaged sites, namely those that have sustained damage to between 80 and 100 percent of the site. It reviews comparable international post-disaster examples and investigates appropriate options for dealing with the damage caused by the war and the management of debris, with consideration given to minimal intervention, the retention of structural integrity, technology and the integration of historic materials within new components and buildings. The methodology has relied on research through field work, including interviews with stakeholders in Aleppo. Findings: The paper proposes two strategies to guide post-war rebuilding and conservation efforts in the Old City of Aleppo through: the creation of new multi-purpose, public open spaces and the use of debris in the repair of buildings and construction of new components and buildings, including infrastructure for solar panels within the new public spaces. Originality/value: This paper contributes to the development of a post-civil war sustainable material recovery approach for the Old City of Aleppo and for Syria more generally, where a disaster waste management strategy is still in development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-103
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Cultural heritage
  • Demolition waste
  • Destruction
  • Public spaces
  • Reclamation
  • Recovery
  • Recycling
  • Reuse
  • The Old City of Aleppo

Cite this