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Over the past decades, contemporary urbanism in Arab cities has undergone a radical transformation under the influence of a variety of forces, such as globalization, with the influx of money, ideas, people, and development models. Consequently, development visions of cities in the Arab world have shifted from local to imported international models, generating new paradigms of Arab contemporary urbanism, which are strongly impacting on public places in particular. Imported international models in Arab Cities have varied between establishing new urban typologies resembling Western urban imagery and icons, gated communities, themed cities, gigantic commercial centres and shopping malls, among other models. Places of public gathering in Arab cities are conceived as catalysts for change and as opportunities for domesticating and appropriating imported Western urban models. The multiplicity of opportunities for shaping, upgrading and rebuilding places of public gathering, from global paradigms to local realities, have stimulated many urban ambivalences and complexities, in which reconsidering places for public gathering nowadays implies a transdisciplinary understanding and a multifaceted perspective. The superimposing of changing concepts has critically transformed settings, structure, and functions of places for public gathering, while establishing the Arab urbanism as a brand new competitive urban system.


Editorial Article