Wealth may destructs more than poverty..
It misleads, accelerates and confuses the rational growth of knowledge
This is the dilemma of wealthy underdeveloped countries..
A close friend had asked me to fill his academic questionnaire on current architecture at the city of Abu Dhabi (AD).. I guess it is nice to share..
Architecture by definition is a product of wealth and urbanism, whereas people have resources to fund, distinct and immortalizing their own values, yet have the community codes on behavior, functionality, and engagements to manage living necessities.
Therefore, the architectural products of AD are not necessary to be a reflection of Civilization (as accumulation of epistemic and philosophical development), but as expression of state wealth and imported structures of management. There is no shame to admit such paradox, unless the urban management agencies failed to plan and develop social and intellectual changes to synchronize the architectural one.
Notably, the associated technical environment is generally produced by non-AD Nationals, which mean little incubation of realization, understanding and knowledge of the same; unless effective knowledge management KM tools are in place.
Change as an epistemic hold of civilization, requires bilateral dialogue between Architecture and Citizens to reflect sustainable values and standards. Otherwise, modernity as definition of technology will be misused, misinterpreted and misunderstood, developing amputated forms of behavior and attitudes.
Sustainable Architectural products requires more than simple festivals of cultural-plotted events and occasions, but deep rooted sense of Space, Shape and Color, reflected within interiors of households and soul-holds as well.
The demographic structure of AD is significant on analyzing any urban features.
With more than 80% of the resident at AD are not national, trends and reflections are truly misleading, yet introduce the global citizenship rather than the local one.
Most of the events, programs and functions interpret the advanced intellectual modeling (concerns, resources, sustainability and citizenship) are broadly initiated, fueled and promoted by non-nationals, yet, has national-participation within the gears of national media and governance.
However, the magnitude and growth of architectural concepts and products were comprehensively affected by the non-national managers who plan, process and approve both urban and engineering guidelines. Similarly, as most of the end-users are non-nationals as well, their contribution to the urban processing is great and slightly interprets a national epistemia; regardless of the trading realities and paradoxes: 80% of Architectural-related products are purchased (as Landlords) by National, while 80% of Urban investments are utilized by non-Nationals (as Tenants).
Therefore, implications of Architectural personality of AD are driven by global trend, while issues of urban citizenship are greatly immature, yet enthusiastic.
Cultural influences are interpretations of social strength and authenticity; confronting powers and tools of the “Other”.
Not all cultures are eligible for survival; otherwise today’s world would be missy and contradicting beyond coherence and comprehension. This is the inevitable justification for the “Clash of Civilizations” whereas mindsets, values and psychology drive the peaceful or armed dialogues among human beings.
The entire Arabian Gulf region is a product of extreme Wealth Rush among nomad and rural way of life. As how the communications between this region and rest of the world were insignificant till the end of the 20th century, the urban jump had generated controversial attitudes of management and control.
Urbanism had developed to be one of the tools for Practical Democracy. Today; people have their own say in Master Planning, City Management and Sovereignty of their own communities. Mankind in a way is back to the era of City-States, where people can easily maintain their concerns and interests, apart from complexes of Bureaucracy, Corruption and Politics. It is widely appealing and it is growing fast.
Therefore, cities in this region, as part of the underdeveloped world, are not cultural reflections, nor urban identities.
Architectural philosophy and excellence cannot be addressed apart from the comprehensive socioeconomic and political developments. Architecture is a product of the society, not a spearhead; e.g., Retail, Entertainment and Sports.
Eventually, the political moneys and lobbies would address architecture forms and expressions as means to generate wealth rather than to reflect mindset. Certainly, the paradox between interiors and exteriors of households would record lots of controversial issues.
Therefore, the AD architectural model should be Simpler, Totalitarian and Environmental.
Simple; to synchronize the simplicity of Bedouin and Nomad way of life, rather than confronting and conflicting with vocabularies of modernity and benchmarking. National personality should gradually grow rather than forced to grow.
Totalitarian; to draw parameters of ambition and innovation; making it more coherent and digestible to national culture and mindset, without false claims of capacity and capability. State intervention is always required among underdeveloped communities to enable balanced growth of identity and resources.
Environmental, as the overall conflict of resources is a global concern; which rapidly grows beyond people's discretionary choices and handle. Urban Managers have to guide their communities towards sustainable use of resources to grant stable future and citizens.
AD 1960-2010 experience with High Rise was painful and ridiculous; which not only had provoked the cultural identity of the national citizens, but also created lots of challenges for its city managers themselves.
Certainly, both processing and decision-making politics had contributed to the missy situation 2000-2010, and formed great hurdles and constraints for all change-advocates. The poisonous formulas of wealth and ambition had made AD a magnet for all types of “Salers”; who are crowned with promoters for intentions rather than experiences.
Despite the attempts for “Knowledge Management” to lead change processes, the broader mindset is not available to provide support, tools and political will. Therefore, many efforts are drained with the bureaucratic processing, and traditional stamp of disgrace.
AD Architecture should be Simpler, Earthy and Social, in close dialogue with economic, social and physical infrastructure.