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FROM SOUQS TO EMPORIUMS: THE URBAN TRANSFORMATION OF ABU DHABI.

Abstract
By : Yasser Elsheshtawy

 
This paper in its first part aims at contextualizing Abu Dhabi’s urban development and understanding the factors that have governed its urban growth through a historical case study approach. Relying on archival records and primary sources five stages of urban growth are identified. Data mining of media archives allows for a first hand account of developments taking place thus grounding the depictions. The second part contextualizes this review through a case study of the Central Market project — also known as Abu Dhabi’s World Trade Center. The paper concludes by elaborating on the significance of such a historical analysis as it shifts the discourse away from a focus on the ‘artificiality’ of cities in the Gulf to one that is based on a recognition about the historicity of its urban centers, however recent it may be. Additionally the pertinence of such an analysis for cities worldwide is discussed as well.
Keywords: Abu Dhabi, Urban Planning, Central Market, Urban History.

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