A Path to Spatial Justice
Edited by Shelley Egoz, Karsten Jørgensen and Deni Ruggeri
Chapter 3: Landscape architecture and the discourse of democracy in the Arab Middle East
The idea of ‘democracy’ is held as suspect in the Arab Middle East. There is growing mistrust of the imposition of a Western model of democracy, which is seen as reinforcing an Orientalist outlook and disregarding the regional history and culture. Imported, ‘exogenous’ models of administration, heritage conservation and architecture since the colonial era have come to undermine ‘endogenous’ traditional practices, values and ethics that are rooted in the regional heritage. The chapter argues that the complexity of the idea of ‘landscape’ as a material basis for wellbeing and its potential to unravel issues of culture, identity and belonging can contribute towards an ‘endogenous’ democracy. Building on this premise, the chapter explores ways in which readings of the social, economic, environmental and political landscape of the Middle East enable multifaceted writing of futures that are socially just, culturally inclusive, ecologically sensitive and politically empowering.
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