Abu Dhabi Highline. Thesis Project. UAE University, Spring 2013.
Mapping pedestrian movement. Baniyas Square, Dubai. May 2013, 10-10.04AM (courtesy of the Urban Research Lab — http://www.sheshtawy.org/url/url.htm)
Abu Dhabi from the air. May 2013
Doha. Qatar. May 2013. Near the Musheireb, “Heart of Doha” megadevelopment.
The Bride of Macau
Life in a Square. Baniyas Square. Dubai. Thursday. March 14, 2013. 7-8pm. The first sequence of what will eventually cover an entire day from 5am till 10pm.
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013 will be designed by multi award-winning Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto.
Also see: A Courtyard in London
(Written originally for Al-Rroya Al-Eqtesadiyah, July 2011)
Sometimes in the midst of the noise and chaos pervading cities there is a need for a respite – a place where one can escape a city’s confine and seek solitude. Given the pressures of modern life such spaces become vital for re-energizing city inhabitants.
One of the first to recognize the impact city life has on individuals was sociologist Georg Simmel who wrote a well-known essay in 1903, titled “The Metropolis and Mental Life.” In it he delves into the relationship between urbanization and the increased withdrawal and anomie of contemporary urban living. Moreover, he articulates the extent to which city living can have an impact on a person’s psychological well-being. Unlike communal habitation in traditional villages, which do provide a support network, modern life is characterized by increased individualization and withdrawal.
Much has changed since then of course. Indeed according to latest figures more than half of people on the planet live in urban centers. There has also been recognition about the value of parks, community centers and public spaces to counteract the negative aspects of city dwelling.
Most major cities for instance have a large park, which offers its inhabitants a chance to experience nature. New York City’s Central Park comes to mind, located in the middle of Manhattan’s skyscrapers. Or London’s Hyde Park with its ponds and meandering walkways. Yet for those and others the city always appears to be nearby – there is no clear removal from its hustle and bustle. Unless of course one ventures deep inside the park.