Over the past decade or so, the wealth produced by Qatar's oil and gas exports has generated a construction development boom in its capital city of Doha and the surrounding vicinity. Since the late 1990s, the number of inhabitants has grown from less than 400,000 to more than 1.7 million today. In many respects, Doha is portrayed as an important emerging global capital in the Gulf region, which has been positioning and re-inventing itself on the map of international architecture and urbanism, with a global image of building clusters of glass office towers, as well as cultural and educational facilities. While focusing on the architectural and planning aspects of Doha's intensive urbanization, this first comprehensive examination of the city sets this within the socio-political and economic context of the wider Arabian Peninsula. 'Demystifying Doha - On Architecture and Urbanism in an Emerging City' features a comprehensive discussion on contemporary architecture and urbanism of Doha as an emerging regional metropolis. It provides a critical analysis of the evolution of architecture and urbanism as products of the contemporary global condition. Issues that pertain to emerging service hubs, decentralised urban governance, integrated urban development strategies, image-making practices, urban identity, the dialectic relations between the city and its society and sustainable urbanism are all examined to elucidate the urban evolution and the contemporary condition of Doha. 'Demystifying Doha - On Architecture and Urbanism in an Emerging City' concludes by suggesting a framework for future studies of the city as well as for investigating the future of similar cities, setting out an agenda for sustainable urban growth, while invigorating the multiple roles urban planners and architects can play in shaping this future.
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Ashraf M. Salama is Professor and Founding Head of the School of Architecture, and Dr Florian Wiedmann is a Researcher in Architecture, both at Qatar University, Doha, QatarReview:
'The authors provide an authoritative account of the development of Doha in the context of the rapid growth of Arabian Gulf cities. The book identifies the social and cultural changes associated with this growth and its positive and negative impact on the city of Doha. Such unbridled growth as seen in Doha can have deleterious consequences as the authors clearly identify. They propose the need for an urban development vision that integrates social, cultural and economic factors. Consequently, this book is a necessary guide for Doha's decision makers in the public and private sector as well as design and planning educators and professionals. Although Salama and Wiedmann focus on the Arabian Peninsula they develop a unique investigative approach relevant for the study of other regions as well.'Henry Sanoff, North Carolina State University, USA'The book gives a comprehensive overview of the urban and architectural development of the Arabian Peninsula but in particular about the rapid growth of Doha. It offers a profound documentation of the urban structure and environment as well as the architectural forms of the city, while introducing significant knowledge on an area, which is often not well considered by international professionals planning in the metropolis. Salama and Wiedmann concentrate not only on Doha, Qatar and the Arabian Peninsula but also analyze the evolution of architecture and urbanism as products of contemporary global trends in governance, development strategies, image-making and the human encounters with the city. Demystifying Doha is a valuable source for every planner and architect working in Doha as well as those working in neighboring countries of the Arabian Peninsula.'Albert Speer, Albert Speer & Partner GmbH, Germany'Salama and Wiedmann offer a far-reaching examination of the city of Doha within the larger context of the Arabian Peninsula. While their main focus is on the evolution of the city and its morphological transformations, they successfully map such evolution to socio-cultural, economic, and environmental aspects that characterized the growth of the city. Addressing the institutional environment in which decisions are made, the book highlights important aspects of urban governance. Discussing the multifaceted aspects of sustainable urbanism, the authors propose a framework for future investigations in similar contexts. The inclusive nature of the book makes it a necessary reading for policy makers, academics and professionals in architecture and urban planning. This is a great addition to the library of architecture and urbanism in the Middle East.' Attilio Petruccioli, Qatar University, Qatar and Polytechnic University of Bari, Italy
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