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Under Construction: Logics of Urbanism in the Gulf Region

Book presentation by Katrin Bromber (Zentrum Moderner Orient Berlin), Boris Brorman Jensen (Arkitektskolen Aarhus), Birgit Krawietz (Freie Universität Berlin), Steffen Wippel (Syddansk Universitet, Odense)

2015.01.17 | Mark Sedgwick

Date Wed 11 Mar
Time 14:15 16:00
Location 1453-223

Advances in urban development in the Arab Gulf States are widely celebrated and broadcast by the international media. Over recent years, the global public has followed this free-wheeling, accelerated hypermodernity with a great deal of bewilderment. The construction of artificial islands, theme parks and prestige sport facilities has attracted considerable attention. The volume edited by Steffen Wippel, Katrin Bromber, Christian Steiner and Birgit Krawietz (Ashgate 2014) opens up new perspectives on what is happening in the region by attempting to understand the internal logic of those developments. Interdisciplinary in approach, it explores and deciphers the symbolic value and iconicity of the built environment in the Arab Gulf Region, its aesthetics, language and performative characteristics. It suggests that recent developments in this region of the world not only represent a showcase of extraordinary initiatives by which these desert states have transformed, but also that the commodification of local ‘traditions’ acts as an essential element in the countries’ effort to design an Arab version of (hyper-)modernity and to position themselves as a regional and global archetype, which has frequently been adopted elsewhere.

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