Call for Papers: Instant Cities

Call for Papers   

Instant Cities: Emergent Trends in Architecture and Urbanism in the Arab World

.1-3 April, 2008     American University of Sharjah, UAE

Organized by:

The Center for the Study of Architecture in the Arab Region

In Collaboration with

School of Architecture and Design, American University of Sharjah, UAE


Throughout the Arab region, rapid urbanization fueled by speculation and geopolitical transformations have had a significant impact on architecture. The flow of people, goods and capital into the Gulf states has prompted fundamental changes resulting from economic growth and diversification intended to lessen the dependence on oil revenues. As a result of its ability to entice investors and instantly translate funds into real estate ventures, Dubai has become a prime example and a potential focus of study. Architects and planners struggle to adapt to processes of rapid change and there seems to be little time for reflection on the long-term socio-cultural or environmental consequences of current practices.

The CSAAR 2008 conference will focus on the causes and effects of emergent trends in architecture and urbanism in the Gulf. Media campaigns and journalistic accounts of the extraordinary projects that promise to increase economic vitality and attract tourists have focused attention on the region. However, there have been few attempts to move beyond the descriptive. We invite colleagues from across disciplines to develop analyses that identify, explicate and theorize emergent trends in architecture and urbanism in the Arab region in general and the Gulf states in particular. Questions to be considered include: How has economic progress affected contemporary architecture and urbanism in the Arab region? What theoretical constructs can be employed to explain transformations in the built environment? What can be learned from architecture and urbanism in fast-developing cities like Dubai? How have inhabitants adapted to the effects of urban development?
While the conference is primarily concerned with conditions in the Gulf, organizers invite contributions that address how rapid urbanization affects the production of architecture and the lives of inhabitants throughout the Arab region and beyond.

Topics of Interest

We invite submissions in all areas related to urbanism and architecture, particularly work focusing on bridging the gap between theory and practice. Topics of interest include but are not limited to the following:

Urban Development

• Economic and Urban Strategies
• Culture, Lifestyle and Urbanity
• The Role of Heritage
• Landscape Strategies in Harsh Climates
• Urban, Suburban and Exurban
• New Urbanism/Transit-Oriented Development
• Tensions between Environmental and Economic Sustainability
• Changing Definitions of Public and Private
• Land use, Transportation and Urban Management
• Land Reclamation as a Means of Expansion
• The Impacts of Privatization
• Uses of Urban Space
• Segregation as an Urban Strategy
• Ecological and social sustainability
• Modernization and Cultural Regeneration

Morphology and Typology

• Emergent Urban Patterns
• Emergent Building Types
• Mixed-Use Developments
• Traditional Neighborhood Design / Neo-Traditional Design
• Spaces for Shopping, Tourism and Entertainment
• Effects of Neo-Liberal Economic Policies (e.g. Free Zones, Privatization, etc.)
• The Role of Infrastructure
• Gender, Space and Social Practice
• Form as a Means of Social Control
• Environmental Determinism / Economic Determinism
• Postmodernity and the Architecture of Festivals
• Urban fabric, social life and healthy communities
• Approaches to Precedent

Design and Representation

• Simulations and Simulacra
• Depictions of the Arab World in Themed Developments
• Utopias/Dystopias
• The Role of Branding in Selling Buildings and Cities
• Constructing National Identities through Built Form
• Stylistic Tropes
• Representations vs. Reality in Architecture and Urbanism
• Design as a Marketing Tool
• Geometry and Form Generation
• Distributed Design and Global Practice

Important Dates

Deadline for abstracts July 30, 2007
Full paper submission September 30, 2007
Notification of acceptance November 15, 2007
Deadline for final papers January 15, 2008

Abstract Submission

Abstract submissions should be approximately 500 words and must be in English. Abstract and full paper submissions should be sent in MS Word or PDF document format. Abstracts should be e-mailed to scientific committee co-chair ( Full paper submissions are required to be done online at csaar submission and review system below.

Full Paper Submission

  • For full paper format and submission guidelines, click here>>.

  • On-line  paper submersion system, coming soon.   

Posters, Panel Discussion & Workshops 

The conference also welcomes proposals for:

* Poster papers
* Plenary Session/ Panel Discussion
* Workshops

Proposals may address any of the topics falling within the scope of the conference themes.

Schedule (for Posters, Plenary Sessions/ Panel Discussion & Workshops Proposals)

Proposals due: September 30, 2007
Notification of Acceptance: November 1, 2007
Position papers due (panels): January 15, 2008

General Note: Workshops and Panel Proposals & Samples of Work should be submitted by e-mail or by surface-mail (Work Samples) to conference co-chair (

Instructions for submitting proposals for poster papers, workshops and panel Discussion available here>>.

Conference Fees and Registration

Authors are invited to complete the registration process before January 15th 2008. Deadline for sending registration fees is February 15h. Failing to send the registration fees on or before this date will result in excluding the paper from the proceedings. Click here for online registration>>.   

Conference Proceedings

All papers presented at the conference will be published in a conference proceedings, which will be available to delegates at the time of registration.  In addition, papers will be published in a volume of CSAAR Transactions on the Built Environment (ISSN 1992-7320).

Location & Accommodation

Information regarding location, accommodation and travel information will be available later.


Conference Site Manger

Rania Morsi, American University of Sharjah

Conference Secretariat

Samer Taweel, CSAAR
samer @

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