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Arab Mediterranean Megaprojects after the 'Spring': Business as Usual or a New Beginning?

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In the Mediterranean Arab world, several urban and tourist 'megaprojects' have been launched from the 1980s onwards. This new urbanism, imported mainly from the Gulf countries, has profoundly transformed the urban fabric of the Arab cities, favouring the development of privately developed and exclusive urban products, and fuelling new forms of rents and capitalist entities. Examining the recent history of the production of megaprojects in the region, the article provides a critical assessment of the achievements in spatial terms as well as the modes of production and social content. It shows that the 'Arab Spring' might have contributed to a closer scrutiny as to the social and urban acceptability of the megaprojects in some Arab countries, as well as increasing the interest of donors in urban projects. Also, the 'Spring' combined with the economic crisis contributed to a decrease in the number of projects to be implemented. However, the authors indicate that there is no major shift away from the megaproject approach.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2014

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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