Part or chapter of a book
Planning Histories in the Arab World
The Routledge Handbook of Planning History
271 - 285 p.
Arab world, cities, planning history, urban history
Over the past century and a half, most accounts of cities of the Arab world have viewed them through the lens of an organically built urban fabric, understood as an Islamic heritage, an expression of a collective and religious ethos (Bianca 2000). Planning, as a professionally conceived endeavor aiming at structuring changes in cities, was perceived as almost nonexistent in this world region. When scholars have attempted to circumvent the narrative of chaos that imbued urban history here as in much of the developing world, they have usually highlighted external political and economic determinations, and pointed out the divergent pathways of Arab cities between (neo)colonialism, socialism, aid-dependency, or the oil economy rather than specific urban management styles (Abu-Lughod 1984).