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Transforming Cities, Transforming Lives: The Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme

The District Architecture Center is pleased to host Transforming Cities, Transforming Lives: The Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme, an exhibition of 27 regeneration projects from nine countries that demonstrate how culture can have a positive impact well beyond conservation. These projects promote good governance, growth of civil society, 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. While some projects are completed, those that remain in progress go beyond mere technical restoration to address the questions of social and environmental context, adaptive re-use, institutional sustainability, and training.

The exhibition is presented in collaboration with the Aga Khan Council for the United States.

About The Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme

The Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme (AKHCP), through its projects, seeks to be a catalyst to improve quality of life by activating culture as a springboard for economic and social development. These projects are laboratories for ideas that can positively shape the future in ways that are meaningful, beneficial, and impactful. At their core is a message of opportunity, of potential, of hope.

The 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. The Programme has shown how the creation of parks and gardens, conservation of landmark buildings, improvements to the urban fabric and the revitalisation of cultural heritage—in many cases the only assets at the disposal of the community—can provide a springboard for social development.

About the Aga Khan Council for the United States

The Aga Khan Council for the United States of America is the social governance structure for Ismaili Muslims. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, The Aga Khan Council is supported by numerous volunteers throughout the country who provide their time and talent toward improving the quality of life of the community. His Highness the Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam, or spiritual leader, of the Shia Ismaili Muslim Community.

The Ismaili Muslims are a culturally diverse community living in over 25 countries around the world. They adhere to a 1,400-year tradition of Shi'a values that are expressed through a commitment to a search for knowledge for the betterment of self and society; embracing pluralism by building bridges of peace and understanding; and generously sharing of one's time, talents, and material resources to improve the quality of life of the community and those among whom they live.


Organized by the Aga Khan Council for the United States of America in cooperation with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme, and AIA|DC.

Exhibition designed and modeled in ArchiCAD19, courtesy of Graphisoft.

Supported in part by BluEdge.