Saturday, October 29, 2011

Urban Dynamics in the Gulf Region: Challenges, Options, Horizons

Urban Dynamics in the Gulf Region: Challenges, Options, Horizons


Date: Monday 31st October, 2011
Time: 15:30- 18:00
Venue: Vorhoelzer Zentrum

Chair of Spatial and Territorial Development
Department of Architecture
Munich University of Technology

In the past 20 years, the Arabian Gulf has urbanized at an unprecedented pace. From around the globe, tens of thousands of people have flocked to this region; attracted mainly by the availability of jobs and economic opportunities; the size of this populace fluctuates in sync with the prevailing economic climate. Today, like elsewhere in the world, the region is feeling the grunt of the global economic downturn. The anxiety over the bursting of the Dubai bubble, while unstated, lurks in the background. However, governments of the region continue to invest huge surpluses in the local built environment with the hope of acquiring geo-strategic importance for their cities and sustaining a globally connected status. It is questionable, though, to what degree the construction intensive experiments of urbanization have brought full-fledged urbanism. In the global competition for retaining a productive populace, cities of the Gulf are lagging behind.

Hence, beyond surplus investment, the logic of urbanization in the Gulf region is difficult to decipher. Has the region still not overcome the “Dubai factor”? Beyond the record breaking and headline attracting physical developments, what are the options for cities of the Gulf and what lies in the horizon of their urban development?
Our two guest speakers, Prof Amer Moustafa of the American University of Sharjah (AUS) and Prof Ashraf Salama of Qatar University (QU) will share their insights on urban dynamics of the Gulf region. Prof Moustafa will discuss urban developments in Dubai in a presentation, titled, “Audacious Dubai: City Making Under Post Urban Conditions”. Prof. Salama will present his perspective from Doha in a presentation, titled, “Image and Place Making in the City of Doha”. The presentations will be followed by, what will surely be a lively discussion.

(Text: Alaily-Mattar)
Architecture-Urbanism is dedicated to a) those who are interested in creating livable and sustainable environments and buildings that meet socio-cultural and socio-behavioral needs of people, environments that are responsive to historical, traditional and physical constraints, b) to those who are interested in finding panacea for the ills of our globalized world, and c) to those who are interested in regaining what cultures and societies have lost by the acts of architects. ____________________________________________________________________________