GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Contextual and Photographic Analysis of Transition to Deep Globalisation in Holy City of Mecca
Paper Proposal Text :
The ancient city of Mecca is inarguably the spiritual capital of all Muslims. Indeed, going to Mecca is compulsory for all able Muslims. All Muslims must look at the Qibla (direction to Mecca) for daily prayers. Many buildings in Arab and Muslim cities are designed to align with Qibla. The concept of Harim that regulates land use and land development in old Muslim cities is also a direct reflection of Mecca’s predominant influence on Muslim cities. Some of these features make Mecca the scared city and the holiest city of Muslims in the Gulf region and beyond. There are Islamic rules and institutions that encourage and protect social and ecological integrity of the scared city. Currently, most urban researchers shine their spotlight on investigating the sustainability crises within and around commercial and administrative cities of the Gulf States. Demographically small but culturally highly important cities like Mecca deserve some investigations on how they are exposed to modernisation and urbanisation. The current study is poised to analyse historical changes to the architecture and urban space in and around the city Mecca. The study relied on the latest photographs and oldest photographs of between 60 to 80 years to map patterns of modernisation and globalisation in Mecca. The analysis of pictures also entails mapping of old and new consumerism in the city. Literature review supported the analysis by giving more insights and contexts into the current debates between pro-conservation and pro-modernisation and expansion of Mecca. It is obvious that Mecca is changing similar to several Gulf cities and this results in loss of some historic sites and creation of state of the art architecture that only the richest and powerful can afford. Thus, modernisation is creating polarisation between the poor and the rich and the layering of historic architecture is being irreplaceably lost. Indeed, modernisation and globalisation have created new sense of urbanism in Mecca. It is crucial to discuss the deep globalisation of Mecca in the context of sustainability and to explore means by which Mecca can influence visiting pilgrims how to live sustainably. In other words, it is critical to engage the custodians of the Holy city of Mecca to prioritise the critical role of sustainable living in the scared city of Mecca.