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Issue 38
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Authenticating clay architectural heritage in the south
Issue 38

Architectural heritage is one component of a society’s identity, and it reflects the society’s customs and traditions. It demonstrates humans’ ability to adapt to their environment, so it is of great value and interest to tourists and local and foreign investors.

Buildings made of clay have survived the challenges of time and adapted to society’s various socio-economic changes. Despite the changes that the valley underwent as a result of migration and the resulting decline in local architecture, we can observe that traditional architecture is returning due to tourism. Tourism has led to the restoration of several clay buildings to the economic benefit of the Dadsi community. The economics of tourism have helped to preserve the region’s architectural heritage by encouraging restoration. This restoration has also changed the traditional architecture that attracts local and foreign investors. Competition for tourism investment has affected the symbolic value of local buildings and led to new hybrid architecture.

The economic value of clay architectural heritage in Boumalne Dades has exceeded its nostalgic value. Despite the childhood memories associated with the buildings, people in the valley did not restore them until tourism investment made these buildings a major source of income for the local economy.

Clay architectural heritage has been subject to internal religious, educational and material influences, and to external factors in the form of foreign interest from tourists and investors, but this interest is still limited in the absence of a strategy that enables investors to market their products.