Thursday, 31 May 2007

Manhattan of the Dessert

Shibam, one of Yemen's most atmospheric towns, has been called "the Manhattan of the Desert."
Photograph by Tom Downey, article published in New York Times at 10-12-2006

This is a 16th century city, could be the first example of urban planning that depends on vertical structure. This site is included in The World Heritage List sponsored by the UNESCO. Makes me wonder why would Islamic countries depend on western modules for their urban planning instead of looking at their own history and learning from it.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against western urban forms (like the grid system which makes up Manhattan, New York). But living in a country with a completely different climate and needs, I wonder why do we adopt urban systems developed in the UK for example instead of developing systems that have worked perfectly fine in our countries to suite our modern life?? After all doing this will give our cities more soul instead of mimicking cities all around the world and loosing any sort of identity.

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