Schermafbeelding 2016 04 18 om 13.32.00


Annelies van de Ven

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This article explores the significance of open space to the formation of local culture and identity. Rejecting any absolute categorisation of open-public and closed-private space, the essay attempts to redefine open space, in order to make it more suitable to specific case studies outside the western democratic discourse within which it is often used. Space is a process, shaping the world around it as much as it is shaped by its own circumstances. This also implies that the experience of space is highly pluralistic, a notion made exceedingly clear in the changing structure and meaning of space throughout Baghdad's history.

In light of recent crises in Baghdad the discussion of its spaces has become critical. By analysing the evolution of Baghdad from a spatial perspective, I will explore how embodied experiences interact with the cognitive readings of space within the case of Baghdad. I aim to show the significance of open space to the self-identification of an urban population. This to suggest its immense value to the improvement of cultural heritage management, especially in conflict areas.

Keywords: Baghdad, Open Space, Urban Planning, Heritage, Urban History