Venue: Istanbul

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Event Date/Time: Nov 21, 2012
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Since the beginning of the new millennium, it was apparent that a new phase influencing the development of architecture and urbanism in the Mediterranean and the Middle East had begun, when rulers, decision makers, and top government officials developed stronger interest in architecture and development.  With such a sturdy interest many cities in this region are experiencing rapid growth coupled with fast track urbanization processes, and marked by large scale work, learning and residential environments, and mixed use developments. This is witnessed from Istanbul’s intensive urbanization process to Abu-Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island Development to Bahrain Financial Harbor, and from Kuwait’s City of Silk to the future city of Qatar, Lusail.   Notably, some cities have acquired a geo-strategic importance. Through the shift of global economic forces, they have developed to central hubs between old economies of Western Europe and the rising economies of Asia. In the context of international competition between cities new challenges are emerging.  

Architecture and urbanism in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions are viewed  as a crucial catalyst for cities to sustain their position in the milieu of a global knowledge intensive economy that is identified as the key driver for spatial-urban development, which includes international services, high tech industries, and trans-cultural higher education institutions.  While  a city like Dubai has come to set the stage as an exemplar of a global city, other cities are inspired, aspired, and are now competing through their architecture and urbanism where new cities and large scale urban regeneration projects are being constructed or in their completion phases. Coupled with these developments we are now encountered with the complex task of translating the so called Global Sustainable Culture into a responsive local environment. Global warming and climate change imperatives, evidence based planning and design, health and the built environment are some of the issues that are spread worldwide, seeking adequate responses from architects and planners.

In light of these developments and the associated theoretical and critical discourses on contemporary architecture and urbanism, this symposium fosters the understanding and appreciation of different manifestations in the built environment in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, while debating the impact of the global condition on local interventions. The symposium addresses a number of Sub-themes identified as major issues challenging contemporary architecture and urbanism this part of the world. Interested scholars are expected to submit contributions addressing one or more of these topics.