In conjunction with the "Learning from Gulf Cities" exhibition and workshop
Ancient commercial emporia dotted the Arabian Peninsula and the Fertile Crescent along the trade routes bringing the luxury goods of Asia to the consumption centers of the Mediterranean. Over time, these cities, which grew and faded with the rise and fall of empires, became the subject of myth. Their fairy-tale memories inspired the image of their Arabian urban heirs in the Gulf today. Indeed, these new cities—Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Manama, and others—have become the contemporary “fabled cities of the Orient” by design. This lecture discusses the fabric of Gulf cities through their expansion and how, in the process, a historical trope and a colonial design tradition were transformed into marketing tools by neocaptialism.
Image: Michele Nastasi
Nasser Rabbat, Aga Khan Professor, MIT
NYU Abu Dhabi Institute
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