BOOK PRESENTATIONS: Transnational Architecture and Urbanism


December 10, 2020 – ISOCARP

Presented at the 56th International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) World Planning Congress, winner of the 2020 Gerd Albers Award for the best book (Doha, Qatar)

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December 23, 2020 – ITU

Istanbul Technical University’s Architalkture lecture series (Faculty of Architecture) (Turkey)

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About Star Architecture Reflecting on Cities in Europe

Edited by Nadia Alaily-Mattar, Davide Ponzini and Alain Thierstein

Cities across the world have been resorting to star architects to brand their projects, spark urban regeneration and market the city image internationally. This book shifts the attention from star architects to star architecture, arguing that the process of deciding about and implementing relevant architectural and urban projects is not the product of any single actor. Star architecture can, in fact, be better studied and understood as assembled by multiple actors and in its relationship with urban transformation. In its 18 chapters, the book presents a multidisciplinary collection of expert contributions in the fields of urban planning, architecture, media studies, urban economics, geography, and sociology, consistently brought together for the first time to deal with this topic. Through a vast array of case studies and analytical techniques touching over 20 cities in Europe, the book shows the positive and more problematic impacts of star architecture with reference to the preservation of built heritage, tourism and media. The book will be of interest to architects, sociologists, urban planners, and public administrators.

Alaily-Mattar, N., Ponzini, D., Thierstein A. (Eds. 2020) About Star Architecture: Reflecting on Cities in Europe. Cham, Springer

Cultural Mega-Events: Opportunities and Risks for Heritage Cities

by Zachary M. Jones

Mega-events have long been used by cities as a strategy to secure global recognition and attract future economic investment. However, while cultural mega-events like the European Capital of Culture have become increasingly popular, cities have begun questioning the traditional model of other events such as the Olympic Games with many candidate cities cancelling bids in recent years. This approach to planning and developing cities through mega-events introduces a broad range of physical effects and nuanced institutional changes for cities, particularly for the more sensitive heritage areas of cities. This book explores these issues by first examining the dynamics of cities’ attempts to reduce overall costs and increase the sustainability of these large events by further embedding them within the existing fabric of the city and second by studying in depth the impact on the heritage of host cities. This book investigates three World Heritage Cities: Genoa, Liverpool and Istanbul, each of which have hosted the European Capital of Culture and introduced a variety of opportunities and risks for their heritage. The book highlights the potential benefits and challenges of integrating event and heritage planning to provide lessons that can help future historic cities and heritage decision makers better prepare for such events.

Jones, Z.M. (2020) Cultural Mega-Events: Opportunities and Risks for Heritage Cities. London, Routledge

Mega-events and heritage: The experience of five European cities

Edited by Davide Ponzini, Franco Bianchini, Julia Georgi-Nerantzia Tzortzi and Joanna Sanetra-Szeliga

In the past, many cities used mega-events as a strategy to boost development. The creation of new facilities and infrastructures for mega-events typically targeted areas of expansion outside of historic city fabric. Today, on the contrary, mega-event organizers are increasingly opting more for the re-use of existing facilities and areas. This paradigm shift represents both a potential opportunity and threat for heritage-rich cities in Europe. This book explores the relationships between the planning and implementation of mega-events and cultural heritage through the in-depth study of five cases: Genoa 2004 European Capital of Culture, Milan Expo 2015, Wrocław 2016 European Capital of Culture, Hull 2017 UK City of Culture, Pafos 2017 European Capital of Culture. The book draws on these case studies in order to spark further research and policy debate regarding the emerging opportunities and threats for context-specific policies and projects, for long-term urban development, for cooperation among actors and capacity building at different levels, for the multiple social and cultural identities that help heritage and cities to flourish.

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This publication includes the National Case Studies Reports and it corresponds to one key output of WP1 (activity A1.4 in particular) in the JPICH financed project “HOMEE – Heritage Opportunities/threats within Mega-Events in Europe”.

The New Arab Urban: Gulf Cities of Wealth, Ambition and Distress

Edited by Harvey Molotch and Davide Ponzini

The fast-growing cities of the Persian Gulf are, whatever else they may be, indisputably sensational. The world’s tallest building is in Dubai; the 2022 World Cup in soccer will be played in fantastic Qatar facilities; Saudi Arabia is building five new cities from scratch; the Louvre, the Guggenheim and the Sorbonne, as well as many American and European universities, all have handsome outposts and campuses in the region. Such initiatives bespeak strategies to diversify economies and pursue grand ambitions across the Earth.

Shining special light on Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Doha—where the dynamics of extreme urbanization are so strongly evident—the authors of The New Arab Urban trace what happens when money is plentiful, regulation weak, and labor conditions severe. Just how do authorities in such settings reconcile goals of oft-claimed civic betterment with hyper-segregation and radical inequality?  How do they align cosmopolitan sensibilities with authoritarian rule? How do these elite custodians arrange tactical alliances to protect particular forms of social stratification and political control? What sense can be made of their massive investment for environmental breakthrough in the midst of world-class ecological mayhem?

To address such questions, this book’s contributors place the new Arab urban in wider contexts of trade, technology, and design. Drawn from across disciplines and diverse home countries, they investigate how these cities import projects, plans and structures from the outside, but also how, increasingly, Gulf-originated initiatives disseminate to cities far afield.

Brought together by noted scholars, sociologist Harvey Molotch and urban analyst Davide Ponzini, this timely volume adds to our understanding of the modern Arab metropolis—as well as of cities more generally. Gulf cities display development patterns that, however unanticipated in the standard paradigms of urban scholarship, now impact the world.

Molotch H., Ponzini D., (eds) The New Arab Urban: Gulf Cities of Wealth, Ambition and Distress, New York University Press