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Re-visioning Places of Public Gathering in the Contemporary Arab Urbanism


JPS_Arab-Urbanism_cover_web1.jpgPublic space in Dubai. Picture by Mona Helmy.



Guest Editor: Dr Mona Helmy 
Managing Editor: Dr Luisa Bravo

Over the past decades, contemporary urbanism in Arab cities has undergone a radical transformation under the influence of a variety of forces, such as globalization, with the influx of money, ideas, people, and development models. Consequently, development visions of cities in the Arab world have shifted from local to imported international models, generating new paradigms of Arab contemporary urbanism, strongly impacting on public places in particular. These paradigms commenced by establishing new urban typologies resembling Western urban imagery and icons, gated communities, themed cities, gigantic commercial centres and shopping malls. The multiplicity of opportunities for shaping, upgrading and rebuilding places of public gathering, from global paradigms to local realities, have stimulated many urban ambivalences and complexities, so that reconsidering places for public gathering nowadays implies a transdisciplinary understanding and a multifaceted perspective. The superimposing of changing and imported concepts has critically transformed settings, structure, and functions of places for public gathering, while (re)establishing the contemporary Arab urbanism as a powerful and iconic urban system.

Places of public gathering in Arab cities are conceived as catalysts for change and as opportunities for domesticating imported urban models. This themed issue of The Journal of Public Space is aiming to bring together a variety of perspectives, approaches, reflections and ideas to provide a critical overview of contemporary places of public gathering in the Arab cities. We especially encourage empirical approaches, favouring case studies and comparative perspectives in order to deduce applicable lessons.

Interested authors are welcome to submit papers on, but not limited to, the following themes:

  • Exploring new urban typologies of places of public gathering;
  • Conceptualizing places of public gathering in various Arab cities under the forces of globalization trends;
  • Examining the notion of the privatization of public places in Arab cities and its impact on people’s social life;
  • Exploring the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on physical distancing and the relevant reclaiming of public places;
  • Designing places to support social interaction and to generate social life;
  • Transforming shopping centers and malls into mixed-use community centres;
  • Analyzing how Eventifying places of public gathering in Arab cities is changing their setting, structure and function;
  • Investigating various trends of Creative places of public gathering in Arab cities.

The themed issue of The Journal of Public Space is looking for for contributions from scholars from urban studies, design, planning, landscape design and related fields in social sciences and humanities.

Interested authors should submit questions about the issue, such as suitability of a particular manuscript or idea to the Guest Editor Dr. Mona Helmy, by email:



Submission of the full paper: 30 July 2020 
Comments from peer reviewers sent to authors: 1 October 2020
Submission of the final paper ready for publication: 1 November 2020 
Publication (expected): December 2020 

Submissions are accepted only on the online platform, read the guidelines:
Authors need to register to make a submission:

For any information regarding the submission please write to:

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2206-9658