Al-Balad’s defensive walls were torn down in the 1940s. In the 1970s and 1980s, when Jeddah began to become wealthier due to the oil boom, many Jeddah residents or as pronounced in Arabic “Jiddawis” moved north, away from Al-Balad, as it reminded them of less prosperous times. Al-Balad had insufficient parking space for large cars. Its stores did not sell expensive designer clothing. Poor immigrants moved in place of the Saudi population. The municipality of Jeddah began historical preservation efforts in the 1970s. In 1991 the Municipality of Jeddah founded the Jeddah Historical Preservation Society to preserve the historical architecture and culture of Al-Balad. In 2002, US$4 million were earmarked for the preservation society.
In 2009, Al-Balad was nominated by Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities to be added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list, and it was accepted in 2014.