• The abject dream of neo-capital: Capitalist urbanism, architecture and endangered liveability of the Middle East’s modern cities

      Abdelmonem, Mohamed Gamal (Open House International, 2016-06-01)
      This article interrogates the notion of “New Capital” in the context of the hegemony of neoliberal urbanism in the Arab cities in the Middle East from historical, socio-economic and spatial perspectives. It reviews the historical narratives of new centres and districts in Cairo, Beirut and evolving capitalist urbanism and architecture in the Arabian Peninsula in search of elitist dream of neo-liberal urbanism. It offers a comprehensive analysis to the notions of neoLiberal ideology and urban policies, neoCapital city as catalyst for nation-building and neoCapitalist architecture as reproduction of clone structures of western models. The paper focuses its critical analysis on the aspects of liveability in the contemporary Arab City and its socio-spatial structures and everyday urban reality. It reports on urban narratives based on archival records, urban projects and investigation of governmental accounts to determine aspects of success and failure in projects of new capital cities and districts. It argues that cities are essentially social-spatial system in which hierarchy is a fundamental element, the lack of which determines abject failure of their anticipated vision.