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Assessing Urban Development after the 'Arab Spring': Illusions and Evidence of Change

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This article puts the contributions in this special issue of Built Environment into the perspective of the massive transformations that have taken place in the cities of the Arab world over the last thirty years. It analyses the specificities of the modes of production of the urban fabric and identifies the spatial, social, economic and political disjunctions that developed within the Arab cities – and led, with other factors, to the 'Arab Spring'. The perceptions of the city and the claims on the urban environment have been transformed. The article demonstrates that the impacts of 'Arab Spring' on the production and the politics of the Arab cities remain to be seen. However, temporalities of change reflect gaps and iterations. Change faces resistance, drawbacks, and uncertainties. In-depth reshuffling of the hierarchy of powers, shifts in the mindset of the decision-makers, and transformation of the administrative and political bodies are long-term processes. In the meantime, the urban mobilizations, activism, as well as the stakes embedded in the urban fabric and materiality, are back on the agenda of research.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2014-03-01

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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