The Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme (AKHCP) works on regeneration projects in historic areas in ways that spur social, economic and cultural development. Its central objective is to improve the lives of the inhabitants of these historic areas, while promoting models that will sustain these improvements.
AKHCP became operational in 1992 to highlight best practice to governments and decision makers and to show that historic sites could become assets for economic development and not burdens on scarce resources. It creation tests the hypothesis that culture is an integral component of the development equation and that it can be a powerful tool to improve quality of life in historic areas in ways that spur social, economic and cultural development. Through this integrated approach, AKHCP seeks to demonstrate that strengthening cultural identity can go hand in hand with socio-economic progress.
For three decades, AKHCP has tested, revised and refined its approach on over 350 restoration and conservation projects in 10 countries, including 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Programme has created 10 major parks and gardens that have been visited by tens of millions of people. It has shown that investments in culture can have a lasting, positive impact in shaping people’s lives, identities, and their aspirations, while promoting models that will sustain these improvements.
AKHCP projects have demonstrated a positive impact well beyond conservation.; they promote good governance, the growth of civil society, a rise in incomes and economic opportunities, greater respect for human rights and better stewardship of the environment, even in the poorest and most remote areas of the globe.