By: John Yarwood
This book describes diverse urban planning projects in Turkey, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Sharjah) Kuwait, Afghanistan, Albania, Syria and Yemen. One thing in common between these countries is that the author has personally worked on all of these projects, and thus the book is a partial professional autobiography. Each chapter tackles not only a different country but also a different aspect of urban planning and development, as follows: upgrading or improving recent illegal or informal slums, including detailed local planning and strategic planning; urban conservation of Al Muharraq, a historic Gulf city; traditional building construction as a reference point for modern design; urban design of new city centre areas in three prosperous Gulf cities - Kuwait, Dubai and Sharjah; the recreation - post-war - of an urban planning system in Kabul; a historical account of urban planning in the Zog-Mussolini period in Albania, which is contrasted with the currently collapsed system; an account of urban economic regeneration in Syria; and local planning aiming at economic revival in Aden.
These essays articulate eight themes: tradition versus modernism; regionalism and identity; the property market in the urban economy; privacy, the family/tribe etc.; arts and crafts, industrialised construction; the impact of the motor car, and urban infrastructure; the courtyard house; and public administration, local politics and corruption. The book will be of interest to urban and regional planners, infrastructure engineers, urban economists, architects, urban managers and local government experts as well as those with an interest in the region itself. The book will be useful as an academic textbook in the region, because it presents a wide range of views of the topic, and a wide spread of countries and backgrounds.