The recent decision to evict the inhabitants was taken only because the architectural heritage of the town was in a real and serious danger. None of these inhabitants was an original owner and most of them were poor migrants and squatters who came from surrounding villages. The lack of maintenance, haphazard rebuilding, demolition, water seepage, and overcrowding, was causing a notable deterioration of its physical fabric. To maintain the status quo would have caused further irreparable damage to what remains of the citadel's heritage.
Immediate action was then taken by the KRG to establish a "High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization" or HCECR for short, to be in charge of the citadel. HCECR in collaboration with UNESCO are preparing a detailed survey of the existing state of the citadel and a "Conservation and Development Master Plan" in order to safeguard its remaining architectural and urban heritage and to revitalize it once again. It is hoped that when this plan starts to be implemented life will, once again, begin to take roots.
This Master Plan will outline the future conservation and development strategies for the citadel house by house and building by building. Obviously, many new functions, both cultural and social, would have to be reintroduced. Museums, libraries, bookshops, shops, restaurants, cafes, artist studious, traditional crafts workshops, as well as housing, will be provided. Some of these activities will be housed in restored buildings and others would have to be accommodated in newly designed buildings.
Any new development would have to be designed very carefully in order to respect the scale and the spirit of its traditional architecture. It is also hoped that the private sector would be induced to take an active role in the future of this unique town of world importance. In this regard, certain financial incentives would be given to willing investors with long-term guarantees under certain rules and regulations. The main aim of the HCECR is not only to ensure the historic integrity and authenticity of this great heritage but also to make it, once more, the thriving hub and the cultural heart of Erbil.