29 July 2013

Guest article: Sustainable architecture and socio-cultural dynamics: what keeps the Bazaar of Tabriz alive?

Do you ever heard about the city of Tabriz? Where is located and the richness of their architecture, such as the Bazaar? Or the pioneer events the city developed throughout the history of Iran?  

The oldest map of the city of Tabriz, 16th century. Source: MatrakçıNasuh

Setting the scene
There are almost endless possibilities to write about the city of Tabriz, considered the Iran’s West Gate due to its geographical location. For this reason, the city has been the house of several modern structures and the host of special occasions, pioneers and events. The inhabitants of Tabriz have regarded to be the first to adopt the modern life style in Iran and that as resulted in great innovations and pioneering:
  • The first Iranian publishing house was founded in Tabriz (1811):
  • The first Iranian chamber of commerce (1906);
  • The first Iranian modern school (1988);
  • The first Iranian coin mint began operating in Tabriz;
  • The first Iranian public library was also founded in this city.

These, only to mention some of the innovative and creative events that took place through the history. All the mentioned outstanding events in the historical time line of the city of Tabriz give the city architectural assets such as the Bazaar.
The Bazaar of Tabriz, northwest of Iran, covers an area of over tree square kilometers  and is inscribed in cultural sites on World Heritage List of UNESCO. The Bazaar of Tabriz has always accommodated multiple activities and it was a place for social, political, cultural and civic discussions among the locals. The Bazaar of Tabriz also played an important role as place for political interventions for instance during the Iranian constitutional revolution, in the last century, and the Islamic revolution in the contemporary time. The citizens expressed their protest against the policies and decision makers by closing up the Bazaar.
The aim of this short article is to bring to the public new perspectives on Sustainable architecture and vernacular architecture by taking the Bazaar of Tabriz as example. The post is just an overview of my Master Thesis in Urban and Regional Planning (M.Sc.), completed at the University Sains Malaysia (2012) and the full document can be downloaded at the link.

Sustainability and Sustainability in Architecture
Sustainability is a challenging concept and also full of controversial observations. It refers to principles such as resources saving, attempting to respond to the question how we can design our building to use less energy and resources? With the growth of population, more resources and energy are consumed and that as resulted in some several energy issues and global changes at the environment level. Therefore, sustainability becomes the main concern of citizens, non-governmental agencies, institutions, politicians, decision-makers and researchers.

Sustainability and more recently architecture sustainability are comprehensive and environmentally-conscious topics in which different concerns such as design, material, cost, energy, heating and cooling and quality are interconnected in the interest of physical durability of earth resources.Creating functional structures able to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet theirs is the main goal of sustainability approach. Sustainability must contrast environmental and cultural preservation with active practices of living in culturally constituted places and contributes to a sense of place in communities and cities.

Sustainable architecture implies the use of intelligent technology, innovative construction method, ecologically-friendly material and the use of environmentally friendly energy resources. This term leads to location-specific architecture by responding to local climate conditions. Sustainable architecture is the task of choosing how we want to live (with and in) nature in order to sustain life into the future. Sustainable architecture aims to design buildings and infra-structures that are adapted to local social– economic, cultural and environmental contexts, having in mind the consequences for the future generations.

The Bazaar of Tabriz
The Bazaar in the Iranian ancient is comparable to plaza or square in cities of pre-industrial Europe and with similar functionality as a forum and agora in ancient Roman and Greek cities. Historical studies indicate that bazaar has existed in Iranian cities and towns since 3000 B.C where a large of activities was accommodated and from the past to today’s stills playing a role as:
  • A central marketplace and craft center located in the old quarters of the town;
  •  A primary arena, along with the mosque, for extra familial sociability;
  • A socio-cultural milieu of a traditional urban life style.
  • The Bazaar in contemporary Iran has performed two more roles of great significance:
  •  A socioeconomic and power base of the Shi’ite religious establishment;
  • A bastion of political protest movements.
In Iranian traditional architecture, the buildings are constructed according to the geographical location and according to the position of the ceiling. Architectural and spatial nature of the Bazaar was highly dependent on climate, culture and economic power of the city. In all of the Iranian cities the Bazaar is a covered street, or series of streets and alleyways, lined with small shops grouped by service or product.

The Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex consists of a series of interconnected, covered brick structures, buildings, and enclosed spaces for different functions, which has preserved its sustainability both in terms of stability and socio-cultural aspect.  All of the urban Bazaars were covered to provide protection against unpleasant climatic conditions. Note that due to the location of Tabriz in the northwestern part of Iran and being in a mountainous region, the climatic condition is severe cold in the winter with heavy snowfall, mild climate in the summer and noticeable temperature variation between day and night time. In the hot climate, the roof would provide shadow and in cold climate it would protect from snow and rain.

The Bazaar of Tabriz. Source: Authors` own

What keeps the Bazaar alive?
 The Bazaar of Tabriz bears witness to one of the most complete socio-cultural and commercial complexes among the Bazaars in Iran. The Bazaar has developed into a socio-economic and cultural system in which specialized architectural structures, functions, professions, and people from different cultures are integrated into a unique living environment. Different spaces inside of the Bazaar such as Saras, Timches and Rastes, mosques, schools and baths contribute to the sustainability of the place Bazaar by creating an appropriate social and economical interaction. The materials used in it are environmentally friendly. Climate responsible and vernacular design, performance of domed roofed and solar energy widely helps to create desirable environment in aggregation in cold regions, along with other social and economic benefits of the Bazaar by creating an appropriate interaction between people and profitable activities, thus keeping the place with a vibrant dynamic. The Bazaar is a unique complex of activities, which are unified with their organic spontaneity and flexibility that create a sense of place which generates community cohesion and at the same time being environmentally friendly and social sustainable.

However what makes it significant and alive is how the place in itself creates a symbiosis with the people and visitors, by carrying the burden of personal identity in the environment and memories for the people who shared common history of this place. The positive image of the place creates emotionally attachment of people to the place and also creates comfortable public environment for social interactions and daily activities.

The author
* Arezou Mohammadi Kalan holds a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning from the University Sains Malaysia and a degree in Geography and urban planning from the University of Tabriz. Iran.  Her research interests are spatial planning, urban design, sustainability in architecture and sense of place. (Email: arezou.kalan@gmail.com)

28 July 2013

Report on: Design Principles of Eco-Town (by Arezou Mohammadi Kalan)

by Arezou Mohammadi Kalan

With the growth of population, more resources and energy are consumed and as a result Environmental population increases. The energy crisis and global changes in environment.
Caused sustainability to become the main concern of many groups. It is comprehensive and environmentally-conscious topic in which different concerns such as design ,material, cost, energy, heating and cooling and environmental quality are interconnected  in the interest of physical durability and creating a functional structure which meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their.

Design  sustainability implies the use of intelligent technology, innovative construction method, ecologically-friendly material and use of environmentally friendly energy resources. This term leads to location-specific architecture by responding the local climate condition and local material. Sustainable architecture is work of choosing how we want to live (with and in) nature in order to sustain life into the future. Sustainability as a comprehensive term challenges the 3 main features of development.

Read more:

24 July 2013

The Digital Tourism Brand Index

The Digital Tourism Brand Index is a 200+ point benchmark looking at how Destination Marketing Organisations are working in the digital landscape. The index looks at every aspect of the industry’s digital performance, from their overall strategy to the depth and extensiveness of content produced and distributed. The 2013 Index is based on SE1 Media’s own in-depth research conducted over a 3 month period in early 2013, and measures 45 European National Tourism Organisations highlighting latest trends and giving useful insights into what the European tourism industry is doing right now.

Building the British brand


Rankings - Country by Country

1 Rankings' Methodology http://countrybrandingwiki.org/index.php/Rankings_-_Country_by_Country#Ranking:_Country_by_Country

23 July 2013

International Conference on Hospitality, Leisure, Sport, and Tourism (ICHLST 2014)

 International Conference on Hospitality, Leisure, Sport, and Tourism (ICHLST 2014)

New Delhi, India, February 6-8, 2014

ICHLST 2014 is to be held at the National Law University, Delhi, India. The aim of the conference is to provide a 

forum for research collaboration and sharing of research experience. We invite scholars from related fields to join 

us. Authors are invited to submit papers or abstracts across a wide spectrum not only in hospitality, leisure, 

sport, and tourism but also in the other related areas such as recreation, anthropology, economics, education

, environment, geography, history, landscape architecture, management, marketing, psychology, etc. 

Web address: http://www.soci-science.org/HLST2014/home.html

Online submission: http://www.soci-science.org/HLST2014/submission.html

Enquiries: ichlst2014@gmail.com

Sponsored by:

International Business Academics Consortium (iBAC)

National Law University Delhi, India

19 July 2013

International Conference: Sustainability Issues and Challenges in Tourism

Dear author
This message is to confirm that your full paper is accepted to the International Conference: Sustainability Issues and Challenges in Tourism to be presented in Istanbul between the 3-5 October 2013 and published in the Conference Proceedings. 

9 July 2013

To Shout Or To Hashtag? Digital Challenges in Destination Branding - See more at: http://placesbrands.com/to-shout-or-to-hashtag-digital-challenges-in-destination-branding/#sthash.kMqAeiaf.dpuf

via - http://placesbrands.com/to-shout-or-to-hashtag-digital-challenges-in-destination-branding/

To Shout Or To Hashtag? Digital Challenges in Destination Branding

photo credit: chollingsworth3 via photopin cc
photo credit: chollingsworth3 via photopin cc
by Eduardo Oliveira
When was the last time you visited a travel agent? Or when was the last time you selected your holiday destination after reading a travel catalogue?
We live in an era where the internet has revolutionised our travel planning process. Nearly 183 million European internet users visited a travel web site in March 2013. 76% of users booked their travels through the internet.
With this in mind, what are the challenges for tourism destinations and the destination branding process? Should they keep ‘shouting’ their tourism potential by using ‘traditional’ marketing campaigns, such as catalogues, paper magazines ads, TV spots? The aim of this post is to discuss the use of digital platforms by tourism destinations and the impact of digital upon the destination branding process.
Setting the scene
Word of mouth has become a megaphone. Travellers can now create content that can influence future visits to a destination.
Taking an instagram picture of a #cupcake in New York, a cup of #tea in #Istanbul, or the Tower Bridge in #London and sharing it on facebook and twitter, has changed the way the world accesses destination information. User generated content affects the way a destination is communicated, plus the growing number of web based communities and the 2.0 sphere makes destination branding more tricky.
photo credit: mstephens7 via photopin cc
photo credit: mstephens7 via photopin cc
Understanding the challenges involved in the branding and management of destinations is an essential element for the success of tourism activity. Challenges may include those provoked by economic imbalances (for example the economic and financial crises in Greece), social and political protests (the recent protest in Turkey), environmental and natural catastrophe (for example the tsunami in Bali) and the exponential growth and influence of  digital channels.
Some examples of tourist destinations
Identifying tourist destinations around the globe is an easy task. They are geographical areas; countries, regions, cities, or islands. But no matter what, they are all in competition to became more attractive places. Digital channels can help them achieve this. The other interesting element is that rankings have been established to measure the notoriety of destinations and destination brands. Here are some examples:
Cities as tourist destinations
Bangkok is the top tourist destination city by international visitor arrivals in 2013 according to the Global Destination Cities Index 2013 (May 2013). Tourists are packing their bags and heading to Thailand as the country’s capital beat the United Kingdom capital London (2nd). This is the first time that an Asian city is in the top rank since the Index was launched in 2010. London is followed by Paris (3rd), Singapore (4th), and New York (5th). All of them are already engaged with social media, predominantly facebooktwitter and youtube.
Countries as tourist destinations
United States of America (USA) tourism brand reigns supreme for Country Brand Strategy (CBS), according to The Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking – Tourism edition 2012. The Bloom Consulting rating is measured through brand tags and is able to show if a country supplies what tourists are seeking, and how well the country is matching this demand. The USA is followed by Spain (2nd), France (3rd), China (4th), Turkey (5th) and Thailand (6th) (Bloom Consulting Tourism Ranking interactive map).
photo credit: Boston Public Library via photopin cc
photo credit: Boston Public Library via photopin cc
What do I mean by digital challenges?
Destination branding has become one of the hottest topics amongst place branding research, from Turkey to Portugal, from Berlin to Edinburgh. These destinations, and many others, are facing challenges at economic, social, environmental and technological levels.
Factors including development of the internet, the wave of web-based communities known as web 2.0 such as facebooktwitterinstagramyoutubetripadvisor, and the use of hashtags in those channels. These factors have changed market conditions hugely for tourism organisations and destinations.
According to European Travel Commission New Media Trend Watch  over 2.7 billion people were using the internet in the first quarter of 2013. This represented 39% of the world’s population. Europe has the highest internet adoption rate in the world (75%). Internet websites are the most important source of information for planning a holiday and are the main method used for booking by European travellers (76% in 2013).
According to the survey Attitudes of Europeans Towards Tourism (March 2013) the most frequently used sources of information for trip planning are:
  1. Recommendations from friends, colleagues or relatives  – 56%;
  2. Internet web sites – 46%;
  3. Personal experience about a destination – 34%;
  4. Travel agencies and tourism offices – 21%;
  5. Tourism brochures and catalogues – 11%.
Social networking websites provide forums for tourists to discuss the places they have visited, for example by using hashtags. They dream about a trip, they plan, they book the tickets and accommodation, they actually travel to the destinations with high hopes to feel the experience. Afterwards they will share their thoughts and feelings by using online means. The range of digital platforms are challenging destinations to enhance their efficiency and to re-design their communication strategies.
photo credit: 1wan via photopin cc
So, how to handle destination branding within the digital environment?
Tourist destinations are increasingly spending more on advertising, marketing campaigns and online promotional activities. The destination branding processes that use digital platforms, such as web pages, blogging, and social networks have become more puzzling. So, how best to use online channels to communicate a destination to the outside world?
For starters, destination managers should provide reasons and purposes for a visit to potential tourists. They should do this in a coherent way; maintaining communities of interest, collecting user-generated content, displaying photos and videos, emphasising local events, and encouraging word-of-mouth recommendations. Understand that content is king and communicate qualitative and diverse information.
However, other questions remain. How to design a destination brand or how to develop e destinations branding process? A destination brand should be part of the destination’s overall branding effort, and that is much more than creating a logo, a tagline or opening a facebook page. That effort should consider the community’s needs, being clear in terms of objectives. Engage with stakeholders and build the destination brand with them in an active and participatory way.
Making it simple 
Effectively using the multiple social media channels requires coordination and coherent communication strategies integrated with the destination branding process and with existing systems and platforms. An effective use of social networks and web sites to communicate the destination tourism potential will support interoperability, personalisation and drive constant engagement with tourists (before, during, and after the visit).
The success of a destination branding process requires the right people, the right mindset, the right internal structures, and the right stakeholder and industry relationships where, across all of those things, innovation, decentralisation, and collaboration/networks are all important. Together, they will enhance the destination’s image, increase tourism revenues and improve competitiveness.

- See more at: http://placesbrands.com/to-shout-or-to-hashtag-digital-challenges-in-destination-branding/#sthash.kMqAeiaf.dpuf

Special issue in European Planning Studies Spatial planning and place branding: rethinking relations and synergies

Introduction:  Kristof Van Assche, Raoul Beunen and Eduardo Oliveira  Rethinking planning-branding relations: an introduction . https:...