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“The Real Modernity that Is Here”: Understanding the Role of Digital Visualisations in the Production of a New Urban Imaginary at Msheireb Downtown, Doha

Melhuish, Clare; Degen, Monica and Rose, Gillian (2016). “The Real Modernity that Is Here”: Understanding the Role of Digital Visualisations in the Production of a New Urban Imaginary at Msheireb Downtown, Doha. City and Society, 28(2) pp. 222–245.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/ciso.12080
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Abstract

This paper explores how Computer Generated Images (CGIs) have enabled the visualisation and negotiation of a new urban imaginary in the production of a large- scale urban development project in Doha, Qatar. CGIs were central not only to the marketing but also the design of Msheireb Downtown. Our study of their production and circulation across a transnational architectural and construction team reveals how their digital characteristics allowed for the development of a negotiated, hybridised urban imaginary, within the context of a re-imaging and re-positioning of cities in a shifting global order. We suggest that CGIs enabled the co-production of a postcolonial urban aesthetic, disrupting the historical Orientalist gaze on the Gulf region, in three ways. Firstly, they circulate through a global network of actors negotiating diverse forms of knowledge from different contexts; secondly, they are composed from a mix of inter- referenced cultural sources and indicators visualising hybrid identities; and thirdly, they evoke a particular urban atmosphere which is both place- and culture-specific, and cosmopolitan. The study emphasises the importance of research into the technical and aesthetic production processes which generate new urban spaces in the context of global market-led growth; and, by considering the circulation of CGIs between sites, contributes to the development of “a more properly postcolonial studies” (Robinson 2011, 17). [Urban Development; Digital Visualisation; Doha, Postcolonial Studies]

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2016 The American Anthropological Association
ISSN: 0893-0465
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Architectural atmospheres, branding and the social: the role of digital visualizing technologies in contemporary architectural practice (D-10-037-GR)ES/I038128/1ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)
Not SetRES-062-23-3305ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Development, Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
Item ID: 47041
Depositing User: Gillian Rose
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2016 08:31
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2016 12:04
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/47041
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