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Book Review: Farah Al-Nakib’s ‘Kuwait Transformed’

McArthur, Jenny (2016) Book Review: Farah Al-Nakib’s ‘Kuwait Transformed’. Middle East Centre Blog (01 Nov 2016). Website.

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Kuwait Transformed traces the history of Kuwait’s urban development, in a well-researched account of the interplay between economic transformation, the built environment and everyday life in the Gulf nation of four million. While Kuwait Transformed is an urban history, Farah Al-Nakib grounds her writing in the present to reflect on Kuwait’s current challenges. The book retells the city’s history and also sets out a vision for Kuwait to reclaim its urbanity, with greater citizen involvement in planning and a more vibrant public life. Acknowledging her own perspective as a Kuwaiti, the author provides both critical reflection on the city she was raised in, as well as a keen interest in restoring a new kind of urbanism. Kuwait Transformed critiques urban planning in Kuwait since the discovery of oil in 1932. The pursuit of modernity, and adoption of both Western planning practices and lifestyles, are criticised for creating a built environment where private life is valorised above the shared, public life of pre-oil Kuwait. This text extends in many ways on the seminal work of Saba George Shiber, a former planner in the Kuwait Ministry of Public Works, who published The Kuwait Urbanization in 1964. Shiber witnessed Kuwait’s rapid transformation first-hand, and produced a comprehensive critique of the ‘meteoric, radical, ruthless’ effects of oil revenue, removing all physical evidence of the city’s past and causing social upheaval. Fifty years on, Kuwait Transformed reflects on the longevity of these impacts and continued urban change.

Item Type: Online resource (Website)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The Author(s)
Divisions: LSE Cities
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD2329 Industrialization
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z004 Books. Writing. Paleography
Date Deposited: 31 May 2017 09:04
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 08:48

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