Book Launch

Book Launch | The New Arab Urban

04/22 Monday | 6pm

NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge invites you to join for the launch of Harvey Molotch and Davide Ponzini’s new book The New Arab Urban: Gulf Cities of Wealth, Ambition, and Distress, featuring the editors in conversation with Arang Keshavarzian, Robert Beauregard, and Anne Rademacher.

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.

Harvey Molotch is NYU Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Metropolitan Studies. His prior books include Against Security: How We Go Wrong at Airports, Subways and Other Sites of Ambiguous Danger and Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place (with John Logan). He is winner (2019) of the  W. E. B. Du Bois Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Sociological Association.

Davide Ponzini is Associate professor of Urban Planning at Politecnico di Milano. He is the author of the book: Il territorio dei beni culturali (Carocci, Rome, 2008); coauthor (with Pier Carlo Palermo) of the book Spatial Planning and Urban Development: Critical Perspectives (Springer, Dordrecht and New York, 2010) and of the book Place-making and Urban Development: New Challenges for Planning and Design (Routledge, London, 2015); and coauthor (with the photographer Michele Nastasi) of the book Starchitecture. Scenes, Actors and Spectacles in Contemporary Cities (Allemandi, Turin, 2011, which was awarded the Silver Medal of the 2015 World Triennal of Architecture; second edition forthcoming, Monacelli Press, New York).

Arang Keshavarzian is Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at NYU. His book, Bazaar and State in Iran, engages with the literature on networks and political institutions in order to trace the structure of the Tehran Bazaar and shed light on the organization and governance of markets as well as state-society dynamics. His current research examines the Persian Gulf in order to analyze the processes of late imperialism and globalization from the perspective of local circuits of trade and transnational alliances. His essays have appeared in journals such as Politics and Society, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Geopolitics, Arab Studies Journal, Economy and Society, and International Journal of Urban and Regional Research in addition to a number of edited volumes.

Robert Beauregard is Professor Emeritus at Columbia University where he taught urban planning at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP). Beauregard’s research focuses on planning theory as well as postwar urbanization in the United States. His recent books include Planning Matter: Acting with Things (Chicago, 2015), Planning for a Material World (Routledge, 2016) co-edited with Laura Lieto, and Cites in the Urban Age: A Dissent (Chicago, 2018).

Anne Rademacher is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Anthropology at New York University. She is the author of Building Green: Environmental Architects and the Struggle for Sustainability in Mumbai (University of California Press 2017), and Reigning the River: Urban Ecologies and Political Transformation in Kathmandu (Duke University Press 2011). With K. Sivaramakrishnan, she is co-editor of Places of Nature in Ecologies of Urbanism (Hong Kong University and Columbia University Press 2017), and Ecologies of Urbanism in India: Metropolitan Civility and Sustainability (Hong Kong University and Columbia University Press 2013).

This event is wheelchair accessible. For other accommodations, contact:

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