Islamic cities in Central Asia and elsewhere, with their madrasas, mosques, etc., also had sophisticated architectural responses to commerce, religion, and social interaction (e.g., at Isfahan), while huge mosques (e.g., the Mezquita Aljama, Córdoba, Spain) attest to the importance of geometry and formal axes in the creation of urban monuments. In contrast, urban organization in Western Europe declined after the fall of Rome, and it was not until C12 that some kind of recognizable order in urban design was again apparent in the bastide towns and other settlements in France, England, Spain, and Germany (e.g. Villeneuve-sur-Lot, Flint, etc). Generally speaking, however, medieval European towns and cities were densely developed within their walls, with main routes leading from the gates to the centre, where market places (often containing guild or town halls, and surrounded by houses of the more substantial burghers-e.g. Brugge, Antwerp, Brussels) and large churches were built. In Flanders especially, the magnificent Gothic guild and town halls attest to the wealth and power of commerce, and in Northern Italy too, civic aspirations created noble spaces and buildings, as in Siena and Florence.
Around the middle of C15, prompted by the ideas of Vitruvius (who suggested towns should be centrally planned for defence), many theorists (e.g. Alberti and Filarete) proposed formal, geometrical, polygonal town-plans, surrounded by massive fortifications to resist the might of modern artillery. These ‘ideal city’ plans (e.g. by Cataneo, Lorini, Martini, and Scamozzi) were widely published, and had affinities with medieval labyrinths such as those on the floors of Chartres or Rheims Cathedrals. Palma Nova, near Udine, Italy, was one of the most important to be realized (end of C16-though never finished), and Alberti provided theoretical bases for such plans, advocating a central piazza, proportional systems regulating the relationships between spaces and façades, and emphasizing the importance of what we would term townscape. Other examples of Renaissance urban design included the centre of Pienza (late C15) by Rossellino, and, of course, the transformation of Rome under Pope Sixtus V (1585–90), who caused aqueducts to be built, fountains to be erected, ancient obelisks to be set up in significant positions, and new streets to be laid out (e.g. those radiating from the Piazza del Pópolo). Roman precedents stimulated developments in France, where the Place des Vosges was created at the beginning of C17 combining an arcaded surround with buildings over, and Inigo Jones's development at Covent Garden, London, followed, strongly influenced by Italian exemplars. Hardouin-Mansart's handsome Place Vendǒme, Paris (from 1699), prompted the creation of regular Places in numerous French cities, with accompanying tidying-up of adjacent streets. Heré de Corny created (1752–6) the splendid Place Royale, Place de la Carriére, and Hemicycle, Nancy, for Stanisław Leszczyński (1677–1766), exiled King of Poland and Duke of Lorraine and Bar (1736–66), one of the finest examples of Rococo urban design in the world. At Versailles (founded c.1665–71) ) the relationship of town to palace (inspired by the trivium radiating from the Piazza del Pópolo, Rome) emphasized the Absolutism of Louis XIV, and similar radiating avenues centred on the Schloss at Karlsruhe, Baden. C17 Mannheim combined massive fortifications, a citadel (similar in layout to Palma Nova), and a grid-plan. Controls to regulate the style, height, and fenestration of façades were imposed in many cities to ensure homogeneity and harmony, as in such huge developments as St Petersburg, Russia, from the early C18. Handsome, regular façades were created by the Woods at Bath, where streets, a circus, a square, and a crescent provided fine examples of unified urban design. One of the largest developments in Britain where unity of design was achieved was Edinburgh New Town, continuing well into C19. The square, surrounded by brick-fronted terrace houses, with surrounding streets also featuring such dwellings, evolved in C18 London, but when Nash created his superb scenographic scheme for Regent's Park, Langham Place, Regent Street, and Piccadilly Circus, he chose stucco to provide varieties of treatment, and a grander, showier architecture. English terraces and squares, of course, were exported to the North American colonies, e.g. Savannah, GA. At Washington, DC, however, L'Enfant combined the grid-plan with Baroque radiating avenues for the new capital of the USA (from 1789). C19 urban design saw the improvement of many old cities and their embellishment with noble public buildings. Berlin, for example, acquired several fine Neo-Classical buildings and many improvements designed by Schinkel after the defeat of Napoleon (1815), and from the same period Gärtner and von Klenze transformed Munich into the capital city of Bavaria with numerous works of architecture in different styles (Rundbogenstil, Neo-Classical, Renaissance Revival, etc.). Several cities levelled their (by then) obsolete fortifications, and new promenades, avenues, and splendid buildings were laid out on them: the finest example (from 1858) was the Ringstrasse, Vienna, designed by Förster, with buildings by Hansen, Hasenauer, Semper, Siccardsburg, van der Nüll, and others. Paris was also transformed into the elegant city of boulevards, parks, vistas, and fine buildings by Haussmann and others, and Neo-Classical St Petersburg was further embellished on the grandest scale. Following such works of urban transformation, widely admired for their grandeur and elegance, the Classical theory of urban design gained ascendancy, notably at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. This, in turn, greatly influenced planning in the USA, notably at the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, IL (1893). Burnham applied such a Beaux-Arts approach to his plan (with Edward Bennett (1874–1954) ) for Chicago (1909), and the City Beautiful Movement which was so important in the USA grew from the principles that had arrived in Paris. But it was not just the creation of grand public buildings and impressive streets that made the C19 city: that century saw a huge change in attitudes towards housing, urban hygiene, and public transport. At the beginning of C19 the means of travel had not changed much since the time of Julius Caesar, but by the end of it railways, tramways, and steam-powered ships had transformed travel, while gas-light, the emergence of electric power, the provision of clean water, the construction of vast underground systems to dispose of human wastes, and the laying out of huge cemeteries had brought about a revolution in urban comfort and hygiene. Furthermore, the provision of schools, establishments for higher education, public parks, museums and zoos to extend knowledge, and places of public entertainment all helped to raise tone and civilize the urban masses. Such changes had been prompted by an awareness of the necessity of doing something about those at the bottom of the social heap: industrialists such as Robert Owen (1771–1858) at New Lanark on the Clyde, Scotland (from 1800), and Titus Salt (1803–76) at Saltaire, near Bradford, Yorks. (from 1851), had established model Company towns, and introduced philanthropic ideas to the running of factories, housing the workers, and the education of both adults and children. Such ideas became influential on both sides of the Atlantic, and in England organizations such as the Society for Improving the Condition of the Labouring Classes built exemplary dwellings (designed by Henry Roberts) which were widely copied. As well as those developments the C19 saw the development of housing estates in the suburbs for the middle classes: early examples included Nash's Picturesque Park Villages, Regent's Park (from 1824-completed by Pennethorne), and Decimus Burton's beautiful Calverley Park, Tunbridge Wells, Kent (from 1828). Loudon's publications not only provided many exemplars for middle-class dwellings, but for workers' cottages, and unquestionably had a profound impact. His promotion of public parks and cemeteries, not only as amenities, but as educational aids, influenced many developments, and he was an early advocate of the green belt. Architects such as Davis in the USA owed much to Loudon's ideas and books.
Throughout C19 theoretical writings on the design of cities were published. Cerdá's work at Barcelona and his Teoria general de la urbanización (1867) influenced men such as Soria y Mata, and he was among the first to attempt to apply scientific principles to urban and rural planning. Soria y Mata's ‘linear city’ based on a ‘spine’ of railways, roads, with water-, gas-, and electric-supplies, the sewer system, and possible canals, was conceived as a 510-metre-wide (557 yards) strip linking existing towns, urbanizing the countryside, and ruralizing the towns: conceived on a grand scale, Soria's city might link Cadiz to St Petersburg, and his vision certainly makes economic and aesthetic sense when compared with the uncontrolled explosion of suburbanization that has occurred through almost universal car-ownership. Unfortunately his ideas were never really realized, although a poor relation was created (from 1929) at Magnitogorsk in the former Soviet Union to designs by Nikolai Aleksandrovich Miliutin (1889–1942). Soria envisaged linear cities where everyone was within an easy walk of the country, and could quickly reach the linear transport system near by to get to work. However, the centralized ideal type of city reappeared in Theodor Fritsch's Die Stadt der Zukunft (The Town of the Future- 1896) which seems to have influenced E. Howard's Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform (1898), although Fritsch's ideas were more developed than Howard's. Howard got the first Garden City started at Letchworth, Herts. (from 1903). Baumeister, in 1876, published a text on the expansion of cities from technical and economic points of view that was for many years a standard work on the social implications of architectural intervention. Joseph Stübben (1845–1936) carried out many urban design schemes, and published an important work on the subject in 1890 with subsequent revisions. Some commentators were appalled by the scientific and empirical approach, arguing that the all-important unmeasurable aspects of symbolism, historical and cultural resonances, and continuity were being ignored: among the most important publications in this respect with those of Sitte, who promoted an understanding and appreciation of the irregularities of medieval town planning, and whose works influenced Geddes and Karl Gruber (1885–1966-whose Die Gestalt der Deutschen Stadt (The Form of the German Town) must be one of the most sensitive studies ever undertaken). Other theoretical works of urban design included Tony Garnier's Cité Industrielle (1904), Hilbersheimer's Hochhausstadt (High House Town of 1924-the inevitable International Modernist solution of high-rise glass-clad apartment-blocks along wide streets and linked by bridges), and F. Lloyd Wright's Broadacre City (1931–5-a mostly low-density development of his ‘Usonian’ houses set in their own grounds to provide produce). However, the Athens Charter of CIAM (1933), prompted mostly by Le Corbusier, insisted on rigid zoning, high-rise apartment-blocks set in parkland, roads for fast-moving motor vehicles, and the abolition of the traditional street: this dogma was accepted (though not by the general public) on a global scale in C20, with less than happy results, leading to considerations of what might be defensible space in increasingly violent cities. The Kriers and others attempted to recover the street and something of the cultural resonances of traditional European urbanism (3), and commentators such as Jane Jacobs mounted devastating attacks on the Corbusier-inspired orthodoxies still being force-fed to students by those who believed in them as though they were Holy Writ. British post-1939–45 war New Towns (with their low-density housing and uncertain centres) were not the earthly paradises their protagonists had claimed: on the other hand, theme-parks such as Disneyland (with their traditional buildings in different styles and humane streets) showed that agreeable environments could be created. Architect-writers such as Venturi began to promote complexity, contradiction, diversity, and even the heretical notion that somewhere as noisily populist as Las Vegas might have something from which to learn. Rossi promoted the architecture of the city, Léon Krier proposed nothing less than the reconstruction of the European city after its destruction (more by Corbusier's disciples than by war), Rob Krier set out theoretical bases for urban design, and Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter (1938– ) discussed the city as a kind of collage (an approach that clearly influenced Stirling in some of his architecture). However, despite these, and a growing interest in the possibilities of the language of Classicism to reinvigorate urban design (e.g. by L. Krier, Porphyrios, Simpson, and others), technology-centred schemes were still actively promoted in the architectural press and schools and by certain architects. Archigram, for instance, promoted so-called High-Tech buildings owing something to the imagery of Science Fiction comic-books (e.g. ‘Plug-In City’); the Japanese Metabolists exploited prefabrication and the idea of capsules fixed to service-towers and circulation-areas; and designers such as Tange proposed vast new developments such as that to extend Tokyo into the sea (1959–60). Megastructures made their appearance in British second-generation new towns (e.g. at Cumbernauld, where the linear town centre was designed by Geoffrey Copcutt). Aware of the problems of pollution and the necessity to control the environment, theorists such as Fuller and Soleri attempted solutions, but these have not been widely adopted. The New Urbanism began to emerge with opposition to planning orthodoxy. Holding that congested, fragmented, dreary suburbs and disintegrating urban centres were not accidents, but the direct result of zoning and the legacy of CIAM, architects such as Duany & Plater-Zyberk proposed a return to traditional neighbourhoods with facilities for daily living within walking distances from houses, the provision of a full range of housing types and commercial opportunities, and the taming of the motor vehicle. Their Seaside, Miami, FL (1987), is an example of what can be done.
Carmona et al. (2003);
E. Howard (1898 etc.);
J. Jacobs (1961, 1969, 1984, 1996);
Kostof (1991, 1995);
R. Krier (1979);
L. Krier & and Pavan (1980);
Lavedan (1952–60, 1975);
LeGates & and Stout (1996);
L. Mumford (1922, 1938, 1946, 1961);
O. Newman (1972);
Papadakis & Watson (eds.) (1990);
Rogers & and Power (2000);
Soria y Puig (1979);
Jane Turner (1996);
R. Venturi (1966, 1996);
R. Venturi et al. (1977);
Whittick (ed.) (1974b);
Effect on city organization of colonialism and petroleum wealth.
In the modern period two major influences have shaped contemporary urban planning in the Middle East: colonialism and petroleum. These two influences, and a host of other minor factors, have had different roles during three phases of constructing urban landscapes: the colonial period (c. 1800–1945), a transitional period (c. 1945–1972), and the oil-boom era (post-1972). Within these three stages, urban planning has shifted from being primarily involved in physical planning and urban design to integrating socioeconomic and physical planning.
The Colonial Period (1800–1945)
Although not all countries in the Middle East were colonized at the same time or in the same pattern, a common thread connects the urban-planning process. Europeans used urban planning successfully to establish and maintain the colonial extractive system. Physical segregation was the main tool used in implementing this policy. Urban planning in this period was dominated by physical land-use planning and urban design, which chiefly concerned the arrangement of urban infrastructure and land use. The colonial use of physical planning established and maintained a trading network and facilitated a suitable living environment for European colonial administrators, workers, and their households.
European colonialists built port cities to collect and ship goods (for example, Aden, Casablanca, Tunis, Suez, Hormuz, and Port Saʿid). They also built interior towns to serve as military centers, local administrative capitals, or collection points for regional resources, and they built infrastructure, such as roads and railways, to connect interior cities to ports. This trade-related settlement system became the new colonial urban hierarchy that is still common all over the Middle East.
Urban planning then played its second major role in this period by maintaining and servicing the influx of European military personnel, administrators, businesspeople, settlers, and fortune seekers. Planning was utilized to build the segregated city, in which a European, upper-class quarter was separated from the rest of the city. French Morocco offers the most vivid example of this kind of city planning: European quarters were built separate from the old medinas; important urban cultural sites were preserved; and the European part of the city utilized the most up-to-date urban-planning techniques. Similar practices were followed in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. These urban plans segregated Europeans, along with some local resident minority groups (such as Coptic Christians and Jews) and a small community of the native rich, from the indigenous population, resulting in a dual city. A parallel but noninstitutionalized development in Palestine was the building of Tel Aviv as a Jewish city adjacent to Arab Jaffa.
In the dual city, a disproportionate share of the urban revenue was spent on the European quarters, even though taxes were raised mostly from the native quarters. As a result, the European neighborhoods had large residential plots, low densities of population, and broad tree-lined roads and streets. They were also better connected to urban amenities like water, electricity, and sewage facilities. These low-density residential quarters with their superior facilities and other urban benefits provided healthier environments for their residents. In addition, they provided the Europeans with a culturally familiar environment, making them more interested in working in colonies and thus maintaining the colonial system.
In countries where local rulers had more autonomy or colonialism was not officially present, rulers tried to copy European styles of design and urban planning. In Egypt before British control began in 1882, Khedive Ismaʿil (r. 1863–1879), influenced by his visit to Paris, tried to follow for Cairo the urban plans of Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann. Later, in Iran, Reza Pahlavi Shah (r. 1925–1941) promoted a grid design for Tehran and constructed wide avenues through the old quarters of the city, and a "modern" city along the lines of the European model was built in north Tehran, where the rich began to reside. It was thought that copying Western urban form would lead to modernization, but the end result was the growth of dual cities similar to those that developed in colonized countries. Indeed, the internal structure of most Middle Eastern cities still can be traced back to this period.
The Transitional Period (1945–1972)
Urban planing assumed a lesser role in the Middle East during this politically active period. Since most of the countries in this region either had just become politically independent or were in the process of becoming so, urban planning was less important than ongoing political struggles and social movements. In the immediate postcolonial period, a spontaneous population movement occurred within some major Middle Eastern cities. In particular, the space formerly occupied by Europeans was taken over by the indigenous elites. In countries such as Morocco and Tunisia, this transition occurred in a peaceful and orderly fashion, but in a few countries, most notably Algeria, the rapid exodus of foreign settlers resulted in more diverse economic classes taking over the quarters formerly occupied by colonialists. Nevertheless, most Middle Eastern cities maintained their dual character.
Major concerns for urban planners were to provide housing for new migrants from rural areas and to bridge the gap between the former European and traditional quarters. To consolidate power, new rulers provided various social groups with land, housing, and urban amenities in return for their political support. In Israel, for example, the Labor Party provided temporary housing in the 1950s for Jews immigrating from postwar Europe and from other areas of the Middle East. Later, these immigrants were resettled in new urban neighborhoods and in newly established development towns in less populous areas.
Urban planning also began to develop in a new direction, emphasizing company-town building, master-plan technique, and economic development. This aspect was particularly evident in the Persian Gulf states of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. The steady growth of oil revenues beginning in the late 1950s encouraged governments to devise long-term economic development plans or to invest in industrial projects. These policies had a major impact on developing urban planning into an integrated physical-economic approach.
U.S. and British oil companies also established company towns for their workers. The Arabian-American Oil Company (ARAMCO), for example, used Western planners and engineers to lay out company towns such as Dhahran and Abqaiq using a system of blocks with a grid pattern. Similarly in Iran, British planners modeled the city of Abadan on the landscape of suburban England. Middle Eastern countries depended on the West for qualified planners and consultants to carry out urban planning. Consequently, a planning technique then common in the West, the master plan, was imported to the Middle East and soon became ubiquitous throughout the region. Most plans were end-state master plans, in that the ultimate look of the city in the future was already predetermined. Most plans were also unclear about the process of city planning or procedures for implementation. Additionally, the plans were usually static and design-oriented, with little consideration for the social and economic needs of the majority. Although very few master plans actually were implemented, the process of designing master plans proved to be a positive development for urban planning.
The Oil-Boom Era (1973 to the Present)
In the 1970s the role of urban planning underwent a rapid transformation, particularly in the oil-producing countries, where the rise in oil revenues enabled governments to embark on a variety of grandiose urban projects. A major focus was on comprehensive planning, which involved the private sector and considered spatial development concerns. The construction of new towns absorbed considerable investment. Three major goals prompted the building of new towns: to relieve the population pressures on the major cities by drawing migrants away from already overcrowded cities; to accommodate the growing population of industrial workers and to facilitate industrialization; and to accommodate military bases throughout the region. Primarily, Western firms have undertaken the planning of these new towns, especially those in oil-rich countries. Although efforts to incorporate aspects of indigenous culture into the design of these towns have been made, such efforts have not been fully successful. Most of these towns have used zoning to isolate economic activities, in contrast with the mixed-use tradition in the region, and their layouts are designed for the use of the automobile.
With the oil wealth–fueled economic growth of the Persian Gulf countries serving as a catalyst, the rejection of end-state master plans soon became common all over the Middle East in favor of new city plans that give more consideration to social and economic factors. In addition, the new plans were integrated into broader regional and national planning strategies based on large urban centers in such countries as Egypt, Iran, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia. The new dynamic style of planning is also evident in the use of Integrated Urban Development Projects (IUDPs) among local planners and planning consultants. The emphasis of IUDPs is on the sectoral and spatial integration of projects, operating alongside, although often effectively replacing, comprehensive master planning. For example, the IUDP for Baghdad consisted of three integrated plans for central Iraq, greater Baghdad, and Baghdad the city. Three models—urban corridors, growth poles, and dispersed settlements—were used to develop comprehensive alternative strategies based on future scenarios. After evaluating the scenarios, a hybrid of all three models applicable to Iraq's needs was adopted.
Although the focus of making plans had changed, the tools for implementing them remained inadequate in most Middle Eastern countries. The reasons include a lack of cooperation among decision makers, a lack of enforcement legislation, and the conflict between the beautification and modernization of the city and the meeting of basic needs of the inhabitants. Thus, urban planning in the Middle East still is grappling with numerous problems. One major issue in large cities of oil-rich countries is how to allocate resources between immigrants and the native population. These immigrants, often from other Middle Eastern countries, are not granted citizenship or the right to own property, placing a heavy burden on the rental markets. In addition, a new form of segregation is taking place: Housing estates are planned so as to minimize contact between immigrants and the indigenous population. For example, in the new towns of Jubail (Saudi Arabia) and Umm Said (Qatar), dormitory-style housing for single expatriate workers secludes them from the native population.
Perhaps the most important issue for city planning is rapid population growth and urbanization. At approximately 3 percent per annum, the region's population growth rate is higher than the figure for any other world region with the exception of subSaharan Africa. The urbanization rate, at more than 4.5 percent for most countries in the Middle East, is also among the fastest in the developing world. Most large cities of the region suffer from overcrowding; squatter settlements; housing shortages; poverty; unemployment; lack of adequate urban infrastructure, services, and amenities; and escalating environmental degradation, including unbearable pollution. These and other urban problems are placing increasing stress on the budgets, resources, and planning capacities of municipal governments, forcing planners and policy makers to seek new ways of managing urban growth. In fact, this need to cope with many intertwined urban problems often has led to planning being used as a tool to anticipate future problems and merely manage current ones, rather than solve them. A more preventive approach to urban planning must take the place of the existing curative approach.
see also architecture; colonialism; urbanization.
Abu-Lughod, Janet L. "Moroccan Urbanization: Some New Questions." In Development of Urban Systems in Africa, edited by R. A. Obudho and Salah El-Shakhs. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1979.
Amirahmadi, Hooshang. "Regional Planning in Iran: A Survey of Problems and Policies." Journal of Developing Areas 20, no. 4 (1987): 501–530.
Amirahmadi, Hooshang, and El-Shakhs, Salah S., eds. Urban Development in the Muslim World. New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Urban Policy Research, 1993.
Brown, Kenneth, et al., eds. Middle Eastern Cities in Comparative Perspective: Points de vue sur les villes du Maghreb et du Machrek: Franco-British Symposium, London 10–14 May 1984. Atlantic Highlands, NJ; London: Ithaca Press, 1986.
Denither, Jean. "Evolution of Concepts of Housing, Urbanism, and Country Planning in a Developing Country: Morocco, 1900–1972." In From Madina to Metropolis: Heritage and Change in the Near Eastern City, edited by L. Carl Brown. Princeton, NJ: Darwin Press, 1973.
Zaim, Sabahaddin. "Urbanization Trends in Turkey." In The Middle East City: Ancient Traditions Confront a Modern World, edited by Abdulaziz Y. Saqqaf. New York: Paragon, 1987.
updated by eric hooglund