In Riyadh, context-driven architecture marks the city's development during the 1970s, 80s and 90s, but where does the architectural identity of the Saudi capital stand today as it tries to navigate between its contemporary foundation and its future?
In July 2020, South Koreans were shocked to find out that a North Korean who defected to South Korea a couple of years ago fled back to North Korea through the impermeable demilitarized zone (DMZ) after supposedly committing a horrendous crime. This crossing was one of the very few known unauthorised crossings over the past 70-odd years, where a civilian transgressed the impenetrable DMZ.
In Sudan, decades of economic and political strife that marked the latter half of the 20th century, meant a lack of the necessary urban planning and regeneration of decaying areas. Following the 2019 revolution, the country’s streets and buildings have been given a makeover, courtesy of Sudanese street artists.
Large dense and sprawling cities are part of an inescapable global reality. Their advantages have long been praised ever since the Modernists argued for “town as a machine for movement”, but what of their disadvantages? If regulations have shaped the affluent cities in the advanced economies, what of the unregulated or under regulated cities across the world?
Conceived in 762, Al-Mansur’s ‘Round City’ was an incredible example of early urban design, setting the stage for the Islamic Empire’s golden era. While today, Baghdad has undoubtedly grown beyond the double-ring masterplan, its original layout was then the region’s largest construction project, providing a throne from which the Abbasid dynasty reigned.
In Bhuj, a municipality in the Kutch district of western India’s Gujarat, a network of community members, government officials and non-profit development organisations worked together to devise an emergency re-urbanisation plan following the disastrous 2001 earthquake. One particular case study takes us to Sardar Nagar, a rehousing settlement that threatened to become a slum of thousands.
23 centuries after it was first drawn in sand, the world’s oldest planned, still inhabited street continues to mark the ongoing transformations of an ever-evolving city.