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Architecture and Globalisation in the Persian Gulf Region
Along with Nasser Golzari, I am editing a major book based on a major international conference that we organised at the RIBA in October 2009, held in conjunction with UN-Habitat, as an attempt to take the opportunity during the current global economic downturn to open up the debate -- critically and speculatively -- about architecture and urbanism in the Persian Gulf. From that conference, and enhanced with contributions from other experts from the Persian Gulf region who were unable to take part, comes this major new publication. Taken together, it is the first book anywhere to look in a balanced manner at the architecture and urbanism of the Persian Gulf as an entire entity -- thereby dealing equally with the conditions along the eastern Iranian shoreline as with the more commonly written-about developments in Arab states on the western shore. A selection of essays about more generalised themes then bring in the wider design ramifications of the topic, such as the potential impact of the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi which is now pressing for greater energy efficiency. The clear academic aim of the book is to explore both historical and contemporary influences on cities along the Persian Gulf, and in doing so to look at the development of architecture and urban settlements and their relevance to environmental sustainability and specificity of place. As a consequence, the book acts both as a register of and also an investigation into the myriad complex facets of globalisation in the Persian Gulf region -- especially in relation to crucial issues of cultural identity, human habitation and the construction of ecologically sustainable cities.
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