This paper interrogates the notion of “New Capital” in the context of the hegemony of neoliberal urbanism in the Arab cities in the Middle East from historical, socioeconomic, and spatial perspectives. It reviews the historical narratives of new centres and districts in Cairo, Beirut, and evolving capitalist urbanism and architecture in the Arabian Peninsula in search of the elitist dream of neoliberal urbanism. It offers a comprehensive analysis to the notions of neoliberal ideology and urban policies, neo-Capital city as catalyst for nation-building, and neo-Capitalist architecture as the reproduction of clone structures of western models. The paper focuses its critical analysis on the aspects of liveability in the contemporary Arab City and its socio-spatial structures and everyday urban reality. It reports on urban narratives based on archival records, urban projects, and investigations of governmental accounts to determine aspects of success and failure in projects of new capital cities and districts. It argues that cities are essentially social-spatial systems in which hierarchy is a fundamental element, the lack of which determines abject failure of their anticipated vision.
Keywords: Capitalism, Globalization, Middle East, Urbanism, Contemporary Architecture.
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