Dubai: Behind an Urban Spectacle: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Dubai: Behind an Urban Spectacle

1st Edition

By Yasser Elsheshtawy


294 pages

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Yasser Elsheshtawy explores Dubai’s history from its beginnings as a small fishing village to its place on the world stage today, using historical narratives, travel descriptions, novels and fictional accounts by local writers to bring colour to his history of the city’s urban development.

With the help of case studies and surveys this book explores the economic and political forces driving Dubai’s urban growth, its changing urbanity and its place within the global city network. Uniquely, it looks beyond the glamour of Dubai’s mega-projects, and provides an in-depth exploration of a select set of spaces which reveal the city’s ‘inner life’.


"Subtly engaging with wider literatures on globalisation, consumption, migration, geography, urban planning and architecture, the book makes a hugely welcome contribution to a subject field otherwise dominated by political and economic analyses and to the interdisciplinary field of urban studies." - Urban Studies

Table of Contents

Preface 1. The Emerging Urbanity of Dubai 2. Arab Cities and Globalization 3. The Other Dubai: A Photo Essay 4. The Illusive History of Dubai 5. The Transformation of Dubai or Towards the Age of Megastructures 6. Spectacular Architecture and Urbanism 7. The Spectacular and the Everyday: Dubai’s Retail Landscape 8. Transient City: Dubai’s Forgotten Urban Spaces 9. Global Dubai or Dubaization

About the Author

Yasser Elsheshtawy is Associate Professor of Architecture at the UAE University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.

About the Series

Planning, History and Environment Series

This series offers a unique window on the creation of the modern environment. Designed for an international readership, the emphasis is on:

  • urban and regional planning
  • recent as well as longer-term history
  • what the past can tell us about the present
  • local as well as global and comparative topics

Within this framework the books address three themes:

  • regional, continental and comparative studies
  • planning histories of key cities
  • changing planning ideologies and policies


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural