Cooperating for the Reconstruction of the Historic Townscape of Padang, Indonesia

The current state of registered buildings in the historic area.
A sound building, a repaired building, one left without intervention, one demolished with a fence installed (from left to right).
Discussions at Padang local administrative organizations concerned

 In the framework of the Cooperation Project for the Rehabilitation of Earthquake-affected Cultural Heritage in the historic district of Padang in West Sumatra, Indonesia, commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we have been conducting activities to support Padang. The city suffered severe damaage from the earthquake of September 30, 2009. Our support consists in integrating together with local bodies the protection and conservation of cultural heritage within the more general urban reconstruction process. As a first step in a series of surveys and activities to be executed until February 2011, we conducted a field survey on the state of restoration of historic buildings and twonscape from October 16 to 25.
 In this survey, we recorded the current status of the town one year after the earthquake, taking the data of the damage assessment survey of November 2009 (immediately after the earthquake) as basis for comparison. Although the rubble had been cleaned and the bustle of the town had returned, the state of restoration of the buildings that make up the historic townscape was varied. The number of registered heritage buildings, whose restoration had advanced was very limited, and many buildings were left untouched since the earthquake; some lots had been cleared completely.
 In the discussions with the governor and the local organizations concerned, our understanding matched in that the protection of cultural heritage contributes to the reconstruction of the town and that the cooperation of specialists, government and residents is important. We will thus continue working with local specialists, cooperating with the central, state and city governments. An on-site workshop on written cultural heritage is planned for November, and workshops on historic buildings and townscape will be held in December and January in Padang. Immediately after our survey team returned from its mission, an earthquake and tsunami hit West Sumatra again. Although Padang did not seem to have suffered heavy damage, this disaster strengthened our desire to contribute to the reconstruction of the town and the maintenance of a safe living environment through the protection of cultural heritage.

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