What happens to cities when money is plentiful, regulation weak, and labour conditions severe? Through a collection of essays brought together by sociologist Harvey Molotch and planning scholar Davide Ponzini, ‘The New Arab Urban: Gulf Cities of Wealth, Ambition, and Distress’ traces just how it works on the ground. How do the authorities align cosmopolitan sensibilities with authoritarian rule? Through what means do they arrange alliances to protect particular forms of spatial segregation and political control? Who builds and how? What sense can be made of massive investment for environmental breakthrough in the midst of world-class ecological mayhem?
In this event, the volume’s editors offered up some of the book’s findings, pointing to ways Gulf cities not only import projects and ideas from the outside, but also how, increasingly, they disseminate them to places far afield.
photo: Michele Nastasi