Secrets of An Arab City – trailer

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For this series we travelled to 38 cities with Qatari Urban Planner Bassam Al Mannai in order to find ancient and modern solutions to today’s urban problems. We start each episode in Doha with a problem and finish there too.

It is for Qatar Television and should be released to the public in December 2013.

By 2050 one third of the world’s population will live in cities. With its limited water resources the Arab world faces one of the biggest challenges, the UN says it is set to double its urban population in the next forty years.

Cities are exploding in size but with little thought to urban planning or liveability it is all about coping with the now rather than preparing for the crowded future. Bassam, the current masterplan manager at Msheireb,  is a man on a mission to change all that. He wants to show us that the knowledge already exists to perfect the Anatomy of an Arab City, it just needs to be rediscovered, redirected and embraced by planners worldwide today.

In this groundbreaking series Bassam shows us the extraordinary lessons to be learned from the way cities were planned and built in a less crowded world – indigenous lessons from his forefathers. With limited water resources available to them Arabs had to be more careful about how they planned their towns. Cities like Shibam in Yemen which rises from the desert in Hadraumat valley,  a complex cluster of two thousand year old skyscrapers, the most ancient in the world. New York did not invent them, it just perfected them.

Bassam and his team has travelled to cities where the failure to plan and build properly has lead to a breakdown in the way society lives.

And we have met designers, architects and artists who are reinventing the space we live in to meet the needs of the modern age.

At the end of every episode he will show how the cutting edge technology and ancient wisdom is being used to re-imagine Doha.

Problems will be our starting point, solutions our end point.

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