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Landscape and Garden Heritage Conservation in the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme

James Wescoat, FASLA, Aga Khan Professor of Landscape Architecture at MIT, will give a presentation on Landscape and Garden Heritage Conservation in the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme, with examples from projects in the Nizamuddin area of New Delhi, India to the Bagh-e Babur garden in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Al Azhar Park in Cairo, Egypt. These innovative projects link cultural heritage conservation with community economic development and urban environmental planning in ways designed to enhance the quality of life for residents and distant travelers.

About James Wescoat, FASLA

James L. Wescoat Jr. is an Aga Khan Professor of landscape architecture and geography in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT. He co-directs the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism. Mr. Wescoat’s research has concentrated on water systems in South Asia and the US from the site to river basin scales. At the site scale, Professor Wescoat has focused on historical waterworks of Mughal gardens and cities in India and Pakistan. At the larger scale, Professor Wescoat has conducted water policy research in the Colorado, Indus, Ganges, and Great Lakes basins, including the history of multilateral water agreements.

At MIT, he teaches courses on Islamic Architecture and the environment, Islamic gardens and geographies, Water-conserving design, and Landscape heritage conservation. James earned his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Louisiana State University and practiced landscape architecture in the U.S. and Middle East before returning to graduate study in geography at the University of Chicago with an emphasis on water resources. Mr. Wescoat is a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and a lifetime member of the U.S. National Research Council.

This program is presented in association with Transforming Cities, Transforming Lives: The Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme on view through March 29, 2019.


At the completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify landscape and garden heritage conservation principles for historic cities;
  • Explain the link between cultural heritage conservation, community economic development, and urban environmental planning;
  • Describe ways that projects are designed to improve the quality of life of residents and tourists; and
  • Explore how principles of Islamic Architecture respond to the surrounding environment.