Abu Dhabi

“Zayed saw ‘building a city’ as a juncture to resolve many of the social problems that confronted the emirate. He wanted his land to flourish ever after with the influx of capital from the oil. He wanted changes to be immediate but not one-off. Therefore, he adopted three fundamental strategies: ‘National Housing’, ‘Efficiency-led Grid Plan’ and ‘Abu Dhabians as Property Developers’ at social, urban and economic scales , to brighten his territory’s future.”

Narratives


#5 Abu Dhabi as an INSTANT CITY Part 4 – Abu Dhabians as Property Developers

Gilbert Chiu

To old Abu Dhabians, seas were sources of wealth and lives. They relied on the waters for businesses and to communicate with the modernized world. But now, oil has ended centuries of Arabian isolation, it induced a revolution that affected every single parts of the land. Sheikh Zayed realized Abu Dhabi was then an oil-defined ...

#4 Abu Dhabi as an INSTANT CITY Part 3 – Rapid Town Planning

Gilbert Chiu

Construction of houses and public amenities were the first basic step towards a modern capital. Without linkages, these constructions could only be viewed as discrete entities that were being erected in the middle of nowhere. In Sheikh Zayed’s mind, he had no doubt that a well-structured urban network would be crucial for the success of ...

Abu Dhabi as a HUMANISTIC CITY Part 3 – Sheikh Zayed & Al Ain – A Prologue to Abu Dhabi’s Development

Lee Ching Tung Cheryl

In the years leading up to Abu Dhabi’s transition of power in 1966, Sheikh Shakhbut’s reluctance towards development resulted in opposing voices among Abu Dhabians, the British government, and the ruling family.  On the other hand, Shakhbut’s youngest brother Sheikh Zayed was ambitious and open to change.  This, plus his previous achievements as governor of ...

#3 Abu Dhabi as a HUMANISTIC CITY Part 4 – Universalizing the National House

Gilbert Chiu

Transforming Abu Dhabi’s urban morphology also meant an attempt to alter the lifestyles and long-standing traditional cultural customs of the Bedouins there. They were the people of the deserts: they started to live with the sands once they were born, they learnt to survive from the unbearable heat and bareness, they were connected to the ...

Abu Dhabi as a HUMANISTIC CITY Part 2 – Common Vision: John Elliott’s Scandinavian Values and Sheikh Zayed’s Islamic Faith

Lee Ching Tung Cheryl

Common Vision John Elliott was a British architect.  He studied at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London (commonly known as the AA), the Central School of Art, as well as the Institute of Technology in Helsinki, Finland.  After his studies in 1962, he moved to Stockholm where he spent three years in the office ...

Abu Dhabi as an INSTANT CITY Part 2 – Torn Between Bedouin Lifestyle and Modernity

Lee Ching Tung Cheryl

The Long-Anticipated Change In the summer of 1963, a royal wedding took place in Buraimi, and hundreds of guests from neighbouring states attended.  Despite the intense heat, dancing continued day and night.  Camel and horse races occupied the guests who were also entertained by pipes and drums (Joyce, 1999).  In a letter, a British participant speculated ...

#2 Farewell to the Old Arabia with Sheikh Zayed’s and ARABICON’s Visions

Gilbert Chiu

The succession of Sheikh Zayed on becoming the ruler of Abu Dhabi indicated the beginning of a new era in this emirate. He was a visionary and ambitious ruler on the agenda of transforming Abu Dhabi into a ‘people-empowered’ modern city. First five years after oil discovery under Shakhbut’s rule had only brought Abu Dhabi’s piecemeal ...

#1 Transition of Power in 1966 (Part 1) – Local Angers and Protests

Gilbert Chiu

This series of research consists of a total of 5 narratives (#1 – #5), focusing on the notion of how the disciplines of architecture and urban planning were being integrated and coordinated between political agendas of Abu Dhabi in the city’s decisive period of late 1960s. Within these several years after the oil discovery, Abu ...

Narrative – [Abu Dhabi as an INSTANT CITY] Part 1 – Different Development Speeds

Leung Ching Yau

Abu Dhabi as an INSTANT CITY Part 1 – Different Development Speeds   Abu Dhabi went from being poor to rich overnight when oil was discovered, as if the city won a lottery. The Ruler at the time of this dramatic change was Sheikh Shakhbout. He was not prepared and was extremely cautious. He wanted to make sure ...

Narrative – [Abu Dhabi as an IMPERMANENT CITY] Part 1 – What is the ‘Local’?

Leung Ching Yau

Abu Dhabi as an IMPERMANENT CITY Part 1 – What is the ‘Local’?   At the time Abu Dhabi’s oil wealth was confirmed, the Ruler was Sheikh Shakhbout. Sheikh Shakbout was notorious for being conservative. Despite the amount of ‘black gold’ the city owned, the Ruler was reluctant to use part of the oil wealth for urban development ...

Narrative – [Abu Dhabi as a HUMANISTIC CITY] Part 1 – Public Amenities and Infrastructure before the ARABICON Plan

Leung Ching Yau

Abu Dhabi as a HUMANISTIC CITY Part 1 – Public Amenities and Infrastructure before the ARABICON Plan   In the first urban plan of Abu Dhabi, the ARABICON Plan (1966-67), the Ruler and decision maker wanted Abu Dhabi to be a humanistic city. The Ruler Sheikh Zayed wanted his people to have the rights to a clean and ...

Narrative – [Abu Dhabi as an ARTIFICIAL CITY] Part 2 – Confront the Water

Leung Ching Yau

Abu Dhabi as an ARTIFICIAL CITY Part 2 – Confront the Water     Abu Dhabi, the island, has a close relationship with water. In 1761, the discovery of water of the Beni Yas tribe led to the decision to establish permanent settlements in Abu Dhabi. People relied on limited sources of water for drinking, agriculture, and livestock (Reem ...

Narrative – [Abu Dhabi as an ARTIFICIAL CITY] Part 1 – Confront the Yellow Invasion with the Green Invasion

Leung Ching Yau

Abu Dhabi as an ARTIFICIAL CITY Part 1 – Confront the Yellow Invasion with the Green Invasion     ‘Plant more palm trees and still more palm trees. The desert is before you. Confront the yellow invasion with the green invasion.’ (Sheikh Zayed, quoted in Salloum, 1995)       Sheikh Zayed, the Ruler of Abu Dhabi was passionate about greenery in the sandy ...

Transition of Power in 1966 (Part 3) – Falling Out with the Ruling Family

Lee Ching Tung Cheryl

In the 1960s, Shakhbut’s global reputation declined as the Western press openly criticized his incompetence as a ruler, which was inevitably highlighted by the comparison with Abu Dhabi’s prosperous neighbour Dubai.  Shakhbut was troubled by this negative publicity but took no action as he believed it would eventually pass.  These unresisted attacks, coupled with Shakhbut’s ...

Transition of Power in 1966 (Part 2) – Falling Out with the British Government

Lee Ching Tung Cheryl

When Sheikh Shakhbut first agreed to the British Petroleum’s offer to search for oil in the 1950s, he had prayed five times each day that this underground fortune would be found to bring prosperity to the windswept shore that was Abu Dhabi.  But when the vastness of the oil reserves below the desert slowly revealed ...

Historical Documents


Additional Historical Document III – Unused Visions from the early 1960s

Gilbert Chiu

Additional Historical Document II – Analysis of Abu Dhabi’s 1950s Urban Profile

Gilbert Chiu

Additional Historical Document I – Abu Dhabi’s ‘Visions Then’ and ‘Reality Now’

Gilbert Chiu

The ARABICON Plan (1967) – Before & After

Lee Ching Tung Cheryl

#5 Abu Dhabi as an INSTANT CITY Part 4 – Abu Dhabians as Property Developers

Gilbert Chiu

#3 Abu Dhabi as a HUMANISTIC CITY Part 4 – Universalizing the National House

Gilbert Chiu

The Day the Oil Came: A Story of Oil Discovery

Lee Ching Tung Cheryl

David Riley’s Story: Pre-Development Abu Dhabi in 1963

Lee Ching Tung Cheryl

Contrasting Images of Bedouin Primitiveness and a Modern Lifestyle (Part 2)

Lee Ching Tung Cheryl

Contrasting Images of Bedouin Primitiveness and a Modern Lifestyle (Part 1)

Lee Ching Tung Cheryl

Historical Documents V – [Historical Photos] Aerial Photos

Leung Ching Yau

Historical Documents IV – [Historical Photos] The Market

Leung Ching Yau

#1 Transition of Power in 1966 (Part 1) – Local Angers and Protests

Gilbert Chiu

Historical Documents III – [Historical Photos] The Ruler’s Palace

Leung Ching Yau

Historical Documents II – [Historical Maps] Maps from the Pre-oil Times

Leung Ching Yau

Historical Documents I – [Historical Photos] Barasti Huts

Leung Ching Yau

Abu Dhabi’s First (But Never Implemented) City Plan (1962)

Erika Fung

International Airport and Maqta Bridge

Leo Chan

Plan of the Courthouse 1977

Leo Chan

1st City Planners of Abu Dhabi

Erika Fung

 

Bibliography


INTERVIEW: The Houses that John Built (2010)

Lee Ching Tung Cheryl

INTERVIEW: Plans the Earth Swallows: An Interview with Abdulrahman Makhlouf (2013)

Lee Ching Tung Cheryl

INTERVIEW: Before and After Zayed: Zaki Nusseibeh Interviewed by Jonathan Shainin [n.d.]

Lee Ching Tung Cheryl

A Diamond in the Desert: Behind the Scenes in Abu Dhabi, the World’s Richest City (2009)

Lee Ching Tung Cheryl

Planning Abu Dhabi: From Arish Village to a Global, Sustainable, Arab Capital City (2015)

Lee Ching Tung Cheryl

Bibliography V – [Journal Article] ‘The historical basis and future options for native plant-species in the hyperarid forests of Abu Dhabi’

Leung Ching Yau

Bibliography IV – [Book] ‘Planning Abu Dhabi – An Urban History’

Leung Ching Yau

Bibliography III – [Part of an Edited Book] ‘Cities of Sand and Fog: Abu Dhabi’s Global Ambitions’

Leung Ching Yau

Bibliography II – [Part of an Edited Book] ‘Adapting to change: an historical background to traditional and modern living conditions in the United Arab Emirates’

Leung Ching Yau

Bibliography I – [Biography] ‘From Rags to Riches: A Story of Abu Dhabi’

Leung Ching Yau

Abu Dhabi Bibliography V – [Dissertation] ‘Planning Abu Dhabi: From Arish Village to a Global, Sustainable, Arab Capital City’

Gilbert Chiu

Abu Dhabi Bibliography IV – [News Article] ‘The Houses that John Built’

Gilbert Chiu

Abu Dhabi Bibliography III – [Interview] ‘Interview of Abu Dhabi’s First Urban Planner John Elliott’

Gilbert Chiu

Abu Dhabi Bibliography II – [Documentary] ‘Farewell Arabia’

Gilbert Chiu

Abu Dhabi Bibliography I – [Book] ‘Planning Abu Dhabi – An Urban History’

Gilbert Chiu

Interview with Abu Dhabi’s Egyptian city planner

Erika Fung

 

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