Rehabilitation and Reuse of Mkies Village through Community Participation& Increasing Economic Opportunities

Client : Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities of Jordan

Location : Mkies, Irbid- Jordan

Joint Venture : Dar Al Omran (Electromechanical and Structural works)

Year : 2005

Introduction & Objectives

The Project centers on the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of 4 courtyards within the traditional village of Mkies. One of the Courtyard houses will serve as Mkies Visitor Center. In addition, the Project centers on devising a cultural site management Plan for the whole site in terms of future research, heritage conservation, relationship between stakeholders, visitation management, and interpretation and presentation of the whole Site to the general public.

Briefly, the Project has the following objectives:

  • Achieving a balanced & Sustainable Relationship between tourism investment, local community involvement, and conservation of a significant site.

  • Positioning Mkies as a site of living cultural heritage and unique cultural tourism destination in Jordan.

Early stages of research focused on assessment of heritage, archaeological, tourism, and socio-economic contexts with additional elaborate research and inferences. Also, previous submitted research ventured more into contextualizing the village and its community further in addition to a detailed investigation of its cultural heritage and tourism potentials. The research team had conducted extensive stakeholder analysis in the form of focus group discussions, surveys, and multiple ethnographic encounters.

 

Cultural Site Management for Mkies

Developing a management plan for the Site went through different stages:

  • Identification, Observation, and Description:

Heritage, tourism, and socio-economic contexts were thoroughly researched in addition to a detailed stakeholder analysis.

  • Assessment and Analysis:

This included an assessment of the significance of the village (diversity of the values), the heritage site, and different features of the Old Village (al Hara al Fouqa). Furthermore, a significance assessment that addressed heritage tourism was also conducted. Further assessments included the archaeological and heritage contexts, physical conditions and levels of deterioration, and an assessment of the tourism context which included the multiple site meanings and multiple markets. Furthermore, a reconstruction of Mkes socio- historical context was conducted in addition to an assessment of the current management contexts.

In addition, various action projects were selected based on well-researched criteria. The Action Projects emerged from the different development needs and from the various concerns.

and needs of the local community

 

Management Plan Strategies and Mechanisms

Policies addressing ownership of the Site in addition to a cultural tourism management and development framework were put forward. This included the vision and the development/ management needs (Including setting up of an advisory council of Mkes). Then, objectives and strategies were put forward in terms of:

  • Future plans and programs for excavation, conservation and interpretation of archaeological and heritage resources

  • Future plans for tourism visitation management and site interpretation (Different trails and itineraries were identified).

In addition, various action projects were selected based on well-researched criteria. The Action Projects emerged from the different development needs and from the various concerns and needs of the local community.

 

The Visitor Center (Hosh al Husban)

One of the identified action projects was the visitor center located in Hosh al Husban. Choosing the location for the visitor center depended on current circulation and interpretive paths in the village (entering the village in an East-West direction) and the heritage significance of that particular courtyard (Hosh). An anthropological and ethnographic museum was added to the Visitor Center in order to narrate the story of the local community and their architecture and multiple stories to the general public. The Visitor Center is the place where the visitors can obtain information about the different features of the site (including the various itineraries), hire guides, buy local crafts, have access to a specialized resource library on the place, and also rest and relax. The philosophy of the adaptive reuse rested on new alterations and additions (Including structural stabilization alternations) being granted a contemporary image and stamp, thus distinguishing original and significant historic layers and changes from newer ones.

 

The Enactment of Rural Peasantry Life

Courtyard (Hosh al Rusan) One other significant action project which was implemented through the Project was the Enactment Courtyard. Various parts of the Courtyard addressed and represented to the public events of political life (Mkes Treaty), the production of dairy products, peasantry and grains’ harvesting, significance of animals to rural life and other features of peasantry life. In addition, the project also included the adaptive reuse of some of the room into a traditional restaurant. The philosophy of the adaptive reuse rested on new alterations and additions (Including structural stabilization alternations) being granted a contemporary image and stamp, thus distinguishing original and significant historic layers and changes from newer ones.

 

The Madafa Courtyard & Other Projects

One other significant project was the granting of one of the courtyards of the Village to the local community to use as a local Madafa (a place for hosting guests and events of public nature).

Other Projects centered on the rehabilitation of previous Village shops (where are now in derelict situation) into small retail shops that would service the visitors and local community alike. These smaller projects could be perfect opportunities for local community involvement as investors.