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Edge, center, and spine : exploring the multi-dimentionality of contemporary landscapes in Middle Eastern cities

Salama, Ashraf M and Grichting, Anna Katharina (2015) Edge, center, and spine : exploring the multi-dimentionality of contemporary landscapes in Middle Eastern cities. ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, 9 (2). pp. 113-136.

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Abstract

This paper offers an overview of landscape interventions in three Middle Eastern cities and a positional interpretation of the way in which different landscape typologies can contribute to their socio-spatial and environmental contexts. The paper identifies three levels of contribution of contemporary landscape – edge, center, and spine - corresponding to three landscape typologies: the edge typology is a linear coastal landscape that acts as an interface between the city and the sea; the central typology is a city park that reactivates or regenerates a fragment of the city and communities that surround it; and the spine is an ecological infrastructure – a wadi - that articulates and curates the natural and constructed flow of water creating productive landscapes and public spaces. In undertaking the discussion and analysis, a multi-layered general methodology was employed. First, to induct generalities on three projects identified a literature review and analysis of development and technical review reports is conducted in order to elucidate a considerable number of issues underlying each landscape typology while classifying them under three main sub-headings that include contextual background, evolutionary design and planning aspects, and key spatial design features. Second, to deduct particularities concerning the contribution of each typology, critical discussion, reflection, and reference to some empirical studies are carried out with the intention of unveiling the contribution of each typology to its context and to the city within which it exists.