Webinars Series (1): “Envisioning the Future of Middle Eastern Urbanity and City Planning”

Prof. Ali A. Alraouf, ISOCARP Board Member and Head of research and development at Urban Planning Authority in Doha, Qatar, together with the regional association Bunyan, organised and moderated a series of webinars (held on May 20, 21, and 22) on the Middle East cities in the post-COVID-19 paradigm. The three consecutive webinars were attended by a total of 400 architects, urban designers and planners representing all Arab countries from Morocco to the Gulf. The webinars were also broadcasted on different social media platforms including YouTube and watched by three thousand people across the globe. The first webinar focused on documenting the observations and issues emerged during the lockdown and its impact on houses, public places and urbanity. The second webinar focused on the contextual understanding of the COVID-19 challenges and how to relate the Middle East urban context and the Arab cities with an emphasis on global and regional aspects. The concluding webinar was intended to take a look into the future and outline the initiatives how the built environment would adapt to the way people would aspire to the post COVID-19 era. The final conclusions included investing in the significance of vibrant and healthy residential neighborhoods, the value of local urban centres, the commitment to move to people-friendly rather than car-dependent cities, and the need for more vibrant and inclusive public spaces. The documentation of the three webinars will be compiled in a document that will be shared online within the Middle East and worldwide.

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