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      A Few Steps Away yet Worlds Apart: A Closer Look at Changing Streetscapes in Abu Dhabi

      Architecture_MPS

      UCL Press

      gulf urbanism, Abu Dhabi, public spaces, informality, city branding

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          Abstract

          Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, continues to change at a rapid pace in response to city branding efforts. Significant investments in the city’s urban infrastructure and its built environment are widespread, as Abu Dhabi attempts to compete on the world stage and lure in tourists, corporations, and investors alike. City planners have been busy updating the city’s urban spaces and streetscapes. They have been transforming it into a sleek and modern contemporary Arab city with a ‘high-end’ feel – which has been successful thus far. As a result, Abu Dhabi’s name has become synonymous with luxury, and the city’s overall quality, livability, and resilience have improved significantly. At the other end of the spectrum, the lower-income segments of the society appear to be missing from the urban planning effort. Some of the urban upgrading interventions might be unintentionally taking away some of the vibrant and diverse aspects of informal street life. This is especially true in some areas, where monotonous and sterile newer environments and streetscapes are replacing the older, informal environments, mostly inhabited by lower-income workers. This paper takes a closer look at some of these older spaces and streetscapes in Abu Dhabi. Through a case study, it attempts to shed some light on some of these vibrant areas, which could potentially vanish soon. It also attempts to highlight the energetic nature of these streetscapes and bring this to the attention of city planners. The paper argues that valuable lessons could be learned from these informal spaces and that these lessons could contribute positively to future planning efforts in the city.

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          Most cited references 23

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          The City and the Car

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            Urban Informality: Toward an Epistemology of Planning

             Ananya Roy (2005)
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              Brand Dubai: The Instant City; or the Instantly Recognizable City

               Samer Bagaeen (2007)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Guest Editor
                Journal
                Archit_MPS
                Architecture_MPS
                UCL Press
                2050-9006
                22 April 2020
                : 17
                : 1
                Affiliations
                Abu Dhabi University, Dubai
                Department of Architecture, American University in Dubai; aqamhaieh@ 123456aud.edu
                Article
                Archit_MPS-17-4
                10.14324/111.444.amps.2020v17i1.004
                © 2020, Abdellatif Qamhaieh.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited • DOI: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.amps.2020v17i1.004.

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                Pages: 12
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                Qamhaieh, A. ‘A Few Steps Away yet Worlds Apart: A Closer Look at Changing Streetscapes in Abu Dhabi.’ Architecture_MPS 17, 1 (2020): 4. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.amps.2020v17i1.004.

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