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Faith & Form: Roots of Urban Compactness of Old Islamic City (Stockholm, 2006)

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This is a presentation delivered by Prof. Hisham Mortada at European Association for Urban History Conference held in Stockholm, Sweden, 2006.

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Faith & Form: Roots of Urban Compactness of Old Islamic City (Stockholm, 2006)

  1. 1. FAITH and FORM Roots of Urban Compactness of Old Islamic City Hisham Mortada Associate Professor Dept of Architecture College of Environmental Design King Abdul Aziz University Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  2. 2. Old Muslim City: A Result of A Social Framework of Principles  A social framework with a complete set of principles
  3. 3. Old Muslim City: A Result of A Social Framework of Principles Damascus, Syria Istanbul, Turkey Bukhara, Uzbekistan Cairo, Egypt Fez, Morocco Isfahan, Iran
  4. 4. Aleppo Bukhara Cordoba Damascus Cairo Tunis Old Muslim City: A Result of A Social Framework of Principles
  5. 5. Old Muslim City: A Result of A Social Framework of Principles  Society Scale  Neighbourhood Scale  Family Scale
  6. 6. Society Scale  Strong Social Interaction • Limit isolation • Encourage social life (wider scale) • Interaction, collaboration, showing kindness, benefiting others and avoiding harming others
  7. 7. Society Scale: Strong Social Interaction Urban compactness of early Muslim cities indicates the strong relationship between inhabitants. This has been manifested in various cities throughout the Muslim world regardless of local environmental or cultural variables Fez Isfahan Riyadh
  8. 8. Medina urban fabric during the Ottoman era in the beginning of the 19th century AD. The absence of large open spaces prevented any social disintegration. Organic urban fabric of Medieval Cairo during the Fattimi era (1800 AD) shaped by collective actions and values of residents. Society Scale: Strong Social Interaction
  9. 9. Jeddah Society Scale: Strong Social Interaction Fez Isfahan
  10. 10. Society Scale: Strong Social Interaction Damascus Cairo Meknas
  11. 11. The tiny squares surrounded by and provided access to dwellings in the old city of Jeddah have had social values by enhancing interaction between residents. Society Scale: Strong Social Interaction
  12. 12. Society Scale: Strong Social Interaction Samarqand Yazd Meknas
  13. 13. The walled city of Lahore (1946 AD), where Muslim, Hindus and Sikh communities lived for long time as one integrated society. This socio-ethnic solidarity was also exhibited in cities such as Fez, Tunis, Medina, Isfahan and Damascus, where Muslims, Christians, Jews and other religious groups lived as a socially integrated community Society Scale: Strong Social Interaction
  14. 14. Muslim Quarter, Old Damascus Jewish Quarter, Old Damascus Christian Quarter, Old Damascus Society Scale: Strong Social Interaction
  15. 15. Neighbourhood Scale  A neighbour: a relation, a stranger, and a casual/temporary neighbour.  All are deserving sympathy, affection, kindness and fair treatment.  Neighbourly relation should extend to those further away.
  16. 16. Neighbourhood Scale An aerial view of the old city of Tunis, where dwellings are similar in shape and size, indicating an absence of social or economic advertisement in dwelling physical aspects. The physical aspects of a narrow alley in a neighborhood in the old city of Tunis, provide an atmosphere of social cohesion.
  17. 17. Neighbourhood Scale MeknasCairoFez
  18. 18. Neighbourhood Scale Attached roofs of Isfahan houses, a reflection of trust and solidarity among neighbors
  19. 19. Neighbourhood Scale Bukhara Isfahan
  20. 20. Neighbourhood Scale Simple mud house of a small family in Al-Dariah, Saudi Arabia, where Majlis or visitors' room was provided in order to strengthen ties with neighbors.
  21. 21. Neighbourhood Scale Old Riyadh, where mud courtyard houses are similar in height (one story), none of which blocks the air from reaching the other.
  22. 22. Family Scale  The relationship between family members is not temporary, but permanent and enduring.  Family members are expected to make serious and sustained efforts to live together and plan their role in society.  The relationship between all family members is a spiritual relationship that sustains and generates love, kindness, mercy, compassion, mutual confidence, self- sacrifice, and solace.
  23. 23. Bait al-Suheimi, a typical traditional Mamlúki house (1250-1517 AD) in Fustat, Cairo, where spaces are close to each other and multi- functional, enhancing interaction between family members Family Scale
  24. 24. Fez Riyadh Family Scale: Extended Family Courtyard houses inhabited by extended families
  25. 25. Residential towers inhabited by extended families, Jeddah Family Scale: Extended Family
  26. 26. An alley bridged by a room linking two dwellings inhabited by an extended family symbolizing the strong ties between family members. Family Scale: Extended Family Qatif Damascus Isfahan
  27. 27. Family Scale: Extended Family Meknas Fez
  28. 28. The tradition of Islam has set up certain principles to order and facilitate the life of Muslims. These principles, which are integrated in a coherent social framework, are represented in values which themselves are rules implemented in three social scales: society, neighborhood, and family. These principles have remarkably been expressed in the built environment of early Muslims. This environment featured a compact urban form, whose physical aspects facilitated the maintenance of the principles the tradition of Islam has set up. Summary and Conclusion
  29. 29. NOW

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