The Policies and Process of Preserving the Historical and Heritage Buildings in Dubai City: Case Study of Historical District

Mai Alhasawi (1)
(1) Faculty of Arts, Design and Media, Birmingham City University, United Kingdom, United Kingdom


Preserving historical buildings is considered of one of the major priorities in many cities in both developed and
developing countries. Dubai is one of the major world cities that is experiencing rapid architectural transformations, thus the Dubai Municipality has taken the initiative to preserve historical buildings maintaining the culture and identity of the city’s heritage. This initiative started in 1991 under a unit called ‘The Unit for the Restoration of Historic Buildings’, which expanded further in 1994 to become ‘Architectural Heritage Department’. Over the years, the department has developed a mechanism of action, objectives, laws and strategies to keep abreast of progress and modernity in the field of repair, conservation and project management. In accordance with international and international standards while preserving the architectural character of the Emirate of Dubai.

This paper is it a critical review to assert advantages and disadvantages of the policies and regulations that were set up by Dubai Municipality in terms of how they support the preservation of historical heritage and culture within the city. This paper is related my PhD research, Data was attained using existing documentations on policies, regulations, plans, books and available articles on historical buildings preservation. Findings show that the plan of work for preserving heritage and historical areas in Dubai is efficient and dynamic as it encompasses international standards and regulations while maintaining the cultural values of the city.

The analysis shed light upon potentially creative perspectives in terms of protecting and preserving heritage buildings in similar environments. The paper provides a solid foundation for future research on heritage buildings, related complexities and the strategies employed by different governments to make informed decisions.

Full text article

Generated from XML file


ALECSO. Charter for the Conservation and Development of Urban Heritage in the Arab States Retrieved June 14, 2018, from

Alkhaleej. Mohammed bin Rashid adopts plan to revitalize historic Dubai area. 2015, February 04 Retrieved May 30, 2018, from

Alnaser, W., Al-Kalak, A. and Al-Azraq, M. (2019). The efforts of the Arab League Education, Culture and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) in the field of renewable energy. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Apr. 2018].

Amar, J. (2017). Australian cultural built heritage: stakeholders’ perceived conservation barriers and motivations.[online] Taylor&Francis. Availableat:

1298950 [Accessed 3 May 2018].

Assi, E. (2019). The Relevance of Urban Conservation Charters in the World Heritage Cities in the Arab States, City & Time. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2018].

Assi, E. (2015). Urban Conservation and Reconstruction in the Gulf Region: The Case of Dubai. [online] Available at: 1a/6.pdf[Accessed 15 Apr.2017].

Assi, E. & Rajab, M. (2016). Symposium on Urban Conservation and Reconstruction in the Gulf States. Dubai: Dubai municipality.

Avrami, E., Randall, M., & De la Torre, M. (2000). Values and Heritage Conservation(Los Angeles, Getty Conservation Institute).

Bagader, M. A. A. The evolution of built heritage conservation policies in Saudi Arabia between 1970 and 2015: the case of historic Jeddah(Doctoral dissertation, University of Manchester) 2016.

Bagader, M. (2019). Urban Heritage and Tourism in the Gulf: The Case of Dubai in the UAE. Journal of

Tourism and Hospitality Management. [online] Researchgate. Available at: Urban Heritage and Tourism in the Gulf The Case of Dubai in the UAE [Accessed 27 Sep. 2017].

British Council, (2017) Retrieved June 14, 2018, from

Darke, D. (1998). Discovery guide to the United Arab Emirates. London: Immel Pub.

Dubai Municipality. Planning studies; The Shindagha revitalization project. Dubai: Dubai Municipality.


European Capitals of Culture. Heritage policies for the European Union. 1985. Retrieved June 14, 2018,


ICCROM. (2018). Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention.[online]Retrieved from[Accessed 27 May. 2018].

ICOMOS. Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development. (n.d.).[Accessed 14 June. 2018].

National Heritage Act 2002. (2002, May 10). 14 June. 2018].

National People’s Congress. Law of the people’s Republic of China on protection of Cultural Relics. 2007 Retrieved June 14, 2018, from

Reporter, S. (2015). New projects to revive the charm of old Dubai’s historic sites. [online] Khaleej Times. Available at: [Accessed 17 Jun. 2018].

Salama, H. (2015). Dubai: An Urbanism Shaped for Global Tourism. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Nov. 2017].

The National. (2018). Dubai Ruler speaks of need to ’preserve our heritage’ as he inspects historical district renovation. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Apr.2018].

The Tryptic Note. In conversation with Rashad Bukash — The Tryptic Note.April, 26, 2016 Retrieved June 26, 2018, from:

Wakefield, S. (n.d.). “Falconry as Heritage in the United Arab Emirates”. World Archaeology. Accessed April 06, 2018 as Heritage in the United Arab Emirates

UNESCO World Heritage Centre. (n.d.). World Heritage Information Kit. Retrieved June 14, 2018, from


Mai Alhasawi
[email protected] (Primary Contact)
Alhasawi, M. (2019). The Policies and Process of Preserving the Historical and Heritage Buildings in Dubai City: Case Study of Historical District. The Academic Research Community Publication, 3(4), 39–48.

Article Details