www.Q-urbarch.org is an online resource that outlines efforts undertaken as part of key research projects. The site includes links to research publications, different types of information of interest to architects, urban designers, and planners who are seeking to expand their knowledge on architecture and urban environment of the Middle East.

Special Journal Issues



Architecture and Urbanism of the Global South
Volume 41, Issue 2,  June 2016
Guest Editors: Ashraf M. Salama and David Grierson
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From the Editorial by A. M. Salama and D. Grierson, entitled: An Expedition into Architecture and Urbanism of the Global South 

As part of the activities of the ‘Cluster for Research in Architecture and Urbanism of Cities in the Global South (CRAUCGS) which was established in 2014 within the Department of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, this issue of Open House International addresses contexts in Africa, South America, South East Asia, and the MENA (Middle East & North African) region highlighting various developmental aspects. It includes research contributions on architecture and urbanism as they relate to housing environments comprising socially integrated housing (Chile), housing typological transformations (Senegal), mega projects and housing development (the Gulf Region), transformations in housing patterns (India), and the changing housing styles in Kathmandu Valley (Nepal). Urban qualities, livability and capitalist urbanism are addressed in the context of Freetown in Sierra Leone, Kuala Lumpur in Maaysia, and several Middle Eastern Cities. The role of planning in maintaining or degrading urban memory is addressed in the context of Cairo (Egypt). Other important contributions include various aspects of sustainability at the building scale (Iran) and at the level of user attitudes (Northern Cyprus).....

.... It is clearly evident that the discourse and research findings on architecture and urbanism in the Global South that are discussed in this issue of Open House International, have gone beyond portraying this part of the world within either post-colonial urban struggle or slum challenges. In essence, the Global south offers a rich soil for debating and researching challenging and pressing issues that present themselves as timely topics on the map academic and professional interests and as important material for further inquiry and examination. The 11 contributions by 19 scholars manifest the diverse and challenging issues facing buildings, settlements, and cities of the Global South while conceiving potential solutions for addressing those challenges. 


Unveiling Urban Transformations in the Arabian Peninsula: Dynamics of Global Flows, Multiple Modernities, and People-Environment Interactions
Volume 38, Issue 4, December 2013
Guest Editors: Ashraf M. Salama and Florian Wiedmann
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From the Editorial by A. M. Salama and F. Wiedmann, entitled:
Evolving Urbanism of Cities on the Arabian Peninsula

Covering about three million square kilometres, the Arabian Peninsula is mainly a diverse landscape of hot humid sandy coasts, arid desert, sparse scrubland, stone-strewn plains, and lush oases, as well as rocky and sometimes fertile mountain highlands and valleys. In addition to the indigenous local populace, the population is composed of large groups of expatriate Arabs and Asians, in addition to smaller groups of Europeans and North Americans; these expatriate groups represent a major workforce community of skilled professionals and semi-skilled or unskilled labourers from over sixty countries. The region’s contemporary economy, dominated by the production of oil and natural gas has created unprecedented wealth, which in turn has led to a momentous surge in intensive infrastructural development and the construction of new environments (Wiedmann, 2012). The ensuing impact of this fast track development on the built environment, in conjunction with the continuous and seemingly frantic quest for establishing unique urban identities (Salama, 2012), is seen as a trigger for introducing this special edition of Open House International.

At the dawn of the new millennium, rulers, decision-makers, and top government officials started to demonstrate a stronger and more attentive interest in architecture, urban development projects and real estate investment; this concerted interest and attention have resulted in a new influential phase impacting on the development of architecture and urbanism in the Arabian Peninsula (Salama and Wiedmann, 2013). Cities on the Arabian Peninsula are continuously witnessing dramatic twists and turns that represent a diverse array of intents and attitudes (Salama, 2011). This can be explained by a series of vibrant discussions, characterised by a new unbiased openness, of the contemporary condition of architecture and urbanism in the Gulf region with its variety and plurality of perspectives and interests. “With their varied socio-physical, socio-economic, socio-cultural, and socio-political presence, cities are always been highly differentiated spaces expressive of heterogeneity, diversity of activities, entertainment, excitement, and pleasure. They have been (and still are) melting pots for the formulation of and experimentation with new philosophies and religious and social practices. Cities produce, reproduce, represent, and convey much of what counts today as culture, knowledge, and politics” (Salama and Wiedmann, 2013). Evidently this statement manifests the significance of studying cities. While this edition addresses several cities on the Arabian Peninsula, emphasis is placed on key transformational aspects relevant to five important cities that include Doha, Abu-Dhabi, Riyadh, Kuwait, and Manama.


Urban Space Diversity: Paradoxes and Realities
Volume 37, Issue 2, June 2012
Guest Editors: Ashraf M. Salama and Alain Thierstein
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From the Editorial by A. M. Salama and A. Thierstein, entitled: Rethinking Urban Diversity

Urban spaces are places for the pursuit of freedom, un-oppressed activities and desires, but also ones characterized by systematic power, oppression, domination, exclusion, and segregation. In dealing with these polar qualities diversity has become one of the new doctrines of city planners, urban designers, and architects. It continues to be at the center of recent urban debates. Little is known, however, on how urban space diversity can be achieved. In recent rhetoric, diversity denotes in generic terms a mosaic of people who bring a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, styles, perspectives, values and beliefs as assets to the groups and organizations with which they interact. However, in urban discourses it has been addressed as having multiple meanings that include mixing building types, mixing physical forms, and mixing people of different social classes, racial and ethnic backgrounds. While some theorists attribute diversity to the socio-physical aspects of homogeneity within heterogeneity, social differentiation without exclusion, variety, and publicity, others associate it with socio-political aspects of assimilation, integration, and segregation. While some of these meanings represent a concern for a specific group of professionals including architects and urban designers, urban planners, cultural analysts and abstract theorists, they all agree that each meaning or aspect of diversity is linked to the others; they all call for strategies for urban development that stimulate socio-physical heterogeneity. With the goal of unveiling lessons learned on urban diversity from various cases in different parts of the world, this issue of Open House International selects ten papers after a rigorous review process. The edition encompasses several objectives. It aims at providing a conceptualization of urban diversity while articulating its underlying contents and mechanisms by exploring the variety of meanings adopted in the urban literature. In essence, it attempts to establish models for discerning urban space diversity while mapping such models on selected case studies from Europe, African, and the Middle East.