New Geographies, 5: The MediterraneanNew Geographies, 5: The Mediterranean (2013)

Edited by Antonio Petrov

Most literature on the Mediterranean regarding architecture and urbanism has focused on the idea of the Mediterranean city and its history, but the spatial aspect also merits attention. This region, at the intersection of three continents, is one of the most important areas on earth—culturally, politically, and ecologically. New Geographies, 5 aims to recast “the Mediterranean” as a contemporary phenomenon and spatialize its formation as a larger geographic entity in the twenty-first century. Contributors from a variety of disciplines challenge conventional boundaries between cities and hinterlands and dismantle prevailing geographic, spatial, and cultural meanings.

New Geographies, 5 recovers the Mediterranean as a model for global interaction and critically examines how the migration of complex architectural and urban formations, micro-geographies, new infrastructures, and demographic flows revise geopolitical boundaries and actively reshape cities, regions, and hinterlands beyond recognized cultural and geopolitical contours. Moreover, the collected writings aspire to activate critical questions about the formation of regions and to address philosophical, cross-cultural, and interfaith relationships, preservation, cultural identity, trade, and geopolitics—all elements that influence the geographic.

02_New Geographies 4New Geographies 4: Scales of the Earth (2011)

Edited by El Hadi Jazairy

The first Apollo images of the Earth produced a perspective enabling humanity to act on Earth and its nature as if it controlled it from “outside.” The recent developments of satellite technologies have had a significant impact on the modes of representation as well as the conceptions of geography and space. This new “geography from above”—the home, the city, entire territories, the Earth itself, the Moon, Mars, and beyond—redefine our environment, subjectivities, and practices. With such tools at hand, architects conceive of the geographic as a possible scale, site of intervention, and design approach.

The scale of vision, viewpoint, and qualification of space made possible by satellite imagery reframes contemporary debates on design, agency, and territory. Volume 4 of New Geographies features articles and projects that critically address the relationship of space with such modes of representation. What are the characteristics of such an integrated elevated vision, and what geographical knowledge does it bring forth? How is such an analytical space to be subsequently interpreted and experienced? What are the cultural, political, and environmental repercussions of a vision celebrated as objective and universalist? What new global issues and debates do such scales of vision raise, and how do such visualizations of the Earth-as-home intersect with concerns of ecology and calls for global awareness?

01_New Geographies 3New Geographies 3: Urbanisms of Color (2011)

Edited by Gareth Doherty

Color is a ubiquitous yet essential part of the city, creating and shaping urban form. Who can forget the whites of modernist Brasilia? The greens of historic Cairo? The rosy reds of Petra? The terracottas of South America’s shantytowns? The color cacophonies of Times Square and Shinjuku? Colors have a presence over and beyond the objects—buildings, spaces, billboards, artifacts, and people—that make up the city. Not only does color give meaning to cities, cities give meaning to color. Whether carefully coordinated, clashing, or an expression of materials, color is a powerful cultural, economic, and political force in cities. Yet discussions on the city do not usually focus much on color, perhaps because urban colors are too often understood as being beyond any one authority or taste, or are simply dismissed as cosmetic, naïve, or intangible. Volume 3 of New Geographies brings together artists and designers, anthropologists, geographers, historians, and philosophers with the aim of challenging the status quo and exploring the potency, the interaction, and the neglected design possibilities of color at the scale of the city.

03_Desert TourismDesert Tourism: Delineating the Fragile Edges of Development (2011)

Edited by Virginie Lefebvre and Aziza Chaouni

Deserts are becoming increasingly popular tourist destinations. However, the growth of this tourism niche raises particular challenges, jeopardizing their fragile ecosystems and straining scarce resources. Paradoxically, the increasing popularity of desert tourism is undermining the very essence of the allure of these places. In developing countries, the consequences are even more drastic, as local populations live in dire conditions with few resources and insufficient infrastructure, rarely benefiting from tourism’s economic effects. This book seeks to analyze the relationship between tourism and the sustainable development of those territories, addressing issues raised by architecture, landscape design, and planning. Following a historical perspective, Susan Miller, Claude Prelorenzo, Neil Levine, and Aziza Chaouni show how the imaginaire of the desert was invented by movie directors, writers, and architects. Virginie Lefebvre, Alessandra Ponte, and Kazys Varnelis explore traces of previous conflicts that transformed deserts, from war to peace, into touristic destinations and places for experimentation. Finally, an analysis of contemporary conditions helps to measure the challenges still to be faced: Vincent Battesti tackles the ethnocultural landscapes of the oasis, Chris Johnson the preservation of deserts and impacts on local communities, and Gini Lee the use of deserts as creative places for artists.

04_The Architecture and MemoryThe Architecture and Memory of the Minority Quarter in the Muslim Mediterranean City (2010)

Edited by Susan Gilson Miller and Mauro Bertagnin

A collaborative work among historians, literary specialists, and architects, this collection is directed at filling the gap in our knowledge about minority neighborhoods in the southern Mediterranean.

A series of portraits examines the minority quarters of six Mediterranean cities: Fez, Marrakesh, Trani, Tangier, Palermo, and Istanbul. Each chapter documents the architectural reminders of minority presence: the houses, churches, synagogues, shrines, legations, and other public spaces that have been abandoned or converted to other uses. Authors also examine the everyday experiences that shaped physical space, such as family life, the economy, interactions with the rest of the city, relations with state authorities, and ties with the hinterland, the region, and the wider Mediterranean world. Finally, the book considers how minority space has been exploited and refashioned as a “place of memory” in which uncomfortable visions of the past have been revised and made suitable for current use.

10_ A TurkishA Turkish Triangle: Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir at the Gates of Europe (2010)

Edited by Hashim Sarkis

Every classification of Turkish cities singles out three major urban centers while relegating the rest to the status of secondary cities. Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir have been the major poles of growth and development in Turkey since the Republic was formed. To be sure, these three cities have followed very different paths.

Over the past twenty years, significant changes have occurred within Turkey and around it that have started to reshape the roles if not the primacy of these three urban poles. The weakening of the centralized planning system in Turkey in favor of strengthening local and regional powers, the disintegration of the Soviet bloc and the rise of Turkic states as zones of extended Turkish influence outside Asia Minis, the new dynamics in the Middle East, and the European hopes and challenges promise to transform the Turkish urban polarity in significant ways.

Through a series of three case studies prepared by preeminent academics involved in their respective city’s planning efforts, and an introduction by Turkey’s most renowned urban historian and theorist, Ilhan Tekeli, the book studies the rise of these three main urban centers in Turkey and their roles in organizing the territory and its future reorganization.

05_Landscapes of EnergyNew Geographies 02: Landscapes of Energy (2009)

Rania Ghosn, Editor-in-Chief

Volume 2 of New Geographies proposes to historicize and materialize the relations of energy and space, and map some of the physical, social, and representational geographies of oil, in particular. By making visible this infrastructure, Landscapes of Energy is an invitation to articulate design’s environmental agency and its appropriate scales of intervention.

06_NG 1New Geographies 1: After Zero (2009)

Neyran Turan and Stephen Ramos, Editors-in-Chief

Design disciplines are challenged by the condition of the zero point. “Zero-context,” “cities from scratch,” and “zero-carbon” developments all force designers to tackle fundamental questions regarding the strategic relevance and impact of a design intervention. As much as the zero point presents naïve innocence and embodies contradictory notions, it also creates a ground for doubt, self-critique, and rejuvenation for architecture and urbanism. As cities are built before they can even be imagined, what do these projects suggest for the design disciplines? Rather than reductive aestheticization or total rejection, what are possible critical ways to reflect on this condition? Beyond a possible focus on the ambitions of these projects, it is important to see them as symptomatic of a much broader condition within contemporary architecture and urbanism. Along with the challenges inherent in the zero point, perhaps more meaningful are the provocations of the “after the zero” condition, which clearly marks the need to seriously explore fundamental inquiries regarding form and context (physical, social, political). After Zero is an opportunity to imagine alternative futures and a revitalized project for the city.

07_ NG 0New Geographies 0 (2008)

Neyran Turan, Editor-in-Chief

New Geographies aims to examine the emergence of the “geographic,” a new but for the most part latent paradigm in design today—to articulate it and to bring it to bear effectively on the social role of design. Although much of the analysis of this context in architecture, landscape, and urbanism derives from social anthropology, human geography, and economics, the journal aims to extend these arguments to the impact of global changes on the spatial dimension, whether in terms of the emergence of global spatial networks, global cities, or nomadic practices, and how these inform design practices today. Through essays and design projects, the journal aims to identify the relationship between the very small and the very large, and intends to open up discussions on the expanded role of the designer, with an emphasis on disciplinary reframings, repositionings, and attitudes.

08_ Superlative CityThe Superlative City: Dubai and the Urban Condition in the Early Twenty-First Century (Spring 2008)

Edited by Ahmed Kanna

In the first decade of the twenty-first century, the Persian Gulf city of Dubai exploded onto the world stage. Oil wealth, land rent, and so-called informal economic practices have blanketed the urbanscape with enormous enclaved developments attracting a global elite, while the economy runs on a huge army of migrant workers. The speed and aesthetic brashness with which the city has developed have left both scholarly and journalistic observers reaching for facile stereotypes with which to capture the city’s identity and significance to urban planning, architecture, social theory, and capitalism.

In The Superlative City, contributors from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and colleagues from the United Arab Emirates, the United States, the Middle East, and Western Europe offer more sober analyses, situating Dubai’s urbanism in its contexts of architecture, urban planning and design, and historical and cultural processes. Remarkable aspects of Dubai, such as the size and theming of real-estate projects and the speed of urbanization, are de-exoticized. Planning tactics and strategies are explained. The visually arresting aspects of architecture are critiqued, but also placed within a holistic view of the city that takes in the less sensational elements, such as worker camps and informal urban spaces.

09_ Landscapes oDLandscapes of Development: The Impact of Modernization Discourses on the Physical Environment of the Eastern Mediterranean (Spring 2008)

Edited by Panayiota Pyla

Landscapes of Development analyzes the impact of development policies and politics on the physical environment of the Eastern Mediterranean, a region defined here not as a rigid geographical area but as a larger cultural context. Since the end of World War II, the drive toward development has featured dreams of progress and emancipation intertwined with processes of reconstruction, decolonization, and nation-building, as well as transnational agendas for socioeconomic restructuring (capitalist or otherwise) and larger postwar/Cold War power politics. In physical terms, the drive toward development has been responsible for the rapid growth of metropolitan centers, the radical restructuring of rural landscapes, and the proliferation of dams, irrigation systems, and other infrastructures.

Eight essays examine formal manifestations of development, placing the spotlight on urban and rural schemes, housing projects, and agro-landscapes and dams from Israel to Turkey, and from Greece to Syria. These contributions are all grounded in new scholarly research, employing a variety of critical tools to situate built works within the larger sociopolitical context that influenced their design and implementation, and to reflect on their social, cultural, and environmental impact.