Exploring the social and urban space in Islamic Cities

Discovering Cities is an international research project at the Bauhaus- Universität Weimar (BUW) and the German Jordanian University (GJU). Funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) under the category of Higher Education Dialogue with the Islamic World. The Project aims at the joined effort of the partners to use urban planning to explore the communalities and differences in urban life in Germany, Jordan and Syria (MENA). Cities are constantly changing and innovating urban life. In order to explore the cultural dimensions of cities through case studies, It is crucial for future urban planners to have a deep understanding about these aspects in more flexible framework. It is therefore important that urban planners learn to explore cities and deal with contradictions, complexities and problems always anew. Key to this approach are the offered trainings and workshops that will give the participants an in-depth view on the current situation in three chosen cases. They will moreover learn to develop a dynamic and learning attitude about city development and the variety of perspectives on urban challenges. 

For the translation into the quantitative approach, all users of urban space in the study will be however integrated, so to reflect with more useful data about Arabic cities. At this point only focusing on minorities will reduce the data significantly, and also will not provide a realistic understanding of their ratio in the urban space compared to men/young/healthy only. This will provide a rich empirical data of both the inhabitants and the spatial configuration, then using statistics we can understand the correlation between them and therefore discovering knowledge about how people behave in different culture. Thirdly, in the design process in urban planning the complexity of both the technological opportunities of simulating urban development and the insights of the urban sociology of places like neighborhoods is either lost or reduced so much, so the design proposals are becoming irrelevant and pure abstract visions which are not addressing the need of a real city.

The general theme of „Discovering cities“ is to develop a joined approach to overcome the identified three challenges in the existing urban planning practices. The theoretical background of this project refers to established international academic discourses on the relationship between qualitative and quantitative data in research projects. It follows the triangulation approach (prominently worked out by Uwe Flick (2015) Introducing research methodology : a beginner's guide to doing a research project. 2. ed. - London: Sage Publ., and worked out for urban studies in F. Eckardt (2014) Lehrbuch Stadtforschung. Wiesbaden: Spinger) of a process oriented research design aiming at creating new insights