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Traditional Islamic cities unveiled: the quest for urban design regularity

Jorge Correia, Muath Taher


Traditional Islamic cities have generally gathered orientalized gazes and perspectives, picking up from misconceptions and stereotypes that during the second half af the 19th
century and
were perpectuated by colonialism. More recent scholarship has shed light on the urban organization
and composition of such tissues; most of them confined to old quarters or historical centres of
thriving contemporary cities within the Arab-Muslim world. In fact, one of the most striking features
has been the unveiling of layered urban assemblages where exterior agents have somehow
launched or interrupted an apparent islamicized continuum. Primarly, this paper wishes to search for
external political factors that have designed regularly geometrized patterns in medium-sized Arab
towns. For that, two case studies from different geographies - Maghreb and the Near East - will be
morphologically analysed through updated urban surveys. Whereas Nablus (Palestine) ows the urban
matrix of its old town to its Roman past, in Azemmour’s medina (Morocco) it is still possible to track
the thin European early-modern colonial stratum. However, both cases show how regularity patterns
challenge Western concepts of geometrical design to embrace levels of rationality related to tradional
Islamic urban forms, societal configurations and built environment. Urban morphology becomes a
fundamental tool for articulating the history with me processes of sedimentation and evolution in order
to read current urban prints and dynamics. Thus, the paper will also interpret alternative logics of
rational urban display in Azemmour and Nablus, linked to ways of living within the Islamic sphere.

Palabras clave

Islamic cities, urban form, urban design, Nablus, Azemmour

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Copyright (c) 2015 Jorge Correia Taher, Muath Taher

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Este obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional.

Gremium es una revista editada por Editorial Restauro Compás y Canto S.A. de C.V.

ISSN: 2007-8773




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