The quality of life, living environment, indigenous techniques and knowledge carried over from the past are considered as heritage. The aim of heritage conservation is to preserve significant marks of the past to pass on to future generations. However, conservation of ancient heritage has been a challenge to all levels of governments, especially for local governments who have to directly deal with these properties.
At UMC, we firmly believe that old buildings and old areas in and around city limits should be looked upon as assets rather than liabilities because they represent the history of communities, embodying their tradition, heritage and culture through architecture and the urban form. UMC believes that potential conflicts between conservation and development can be avoided by increasing the functional integration of urban space through better and more comprehensive planning and research.
We have completed an extensive survey of heritage properties in Surat, the second largest city in Gujarat state, India where we conducted a survey of more than 3000 heritage properties. These properties were documented and put on a GIS platform to generate thematic maps for further analysis of heritage cities and decision-making by the Surat Municipal Corporation. The successful survey was the premise for a book called "At The Core: Understanding The Built Heritage of Surat and Rander" — the book was awarded the INTACH-SATTE (The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage–South Asia Travel Tourism Exchange) Award-2011 under the category of ‘Exemplary work done or the Preservation and Promotion of Historic Towns’.
We also developed a local action plan for conservation of heritage structures in the Deulwadi precinct of Uran town near Mumbai, India for the MMRDA. UMC has also prepared heritage bye-laws for the prohibited and regulated areas of ASI protected monuments of Sarkhej-Ahmedabad and Dwarkadheesh temple, Dwarka.
UMC provides continuous assistance to the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to document built heritage within its jurisdiction. UMC director Manvita Baradi is also the state convener for Gujarat chapter of INTACH and is also a member of AMC’s Heritage Conservation Committee which guides the authority towards city’s heritage conservation efforts.