(Re)thinking Streets in Low Urban Densities

Online Roundtable

30 September 2021

rethinking streets-2021
Photo: Apostolos Kyriazis.

The LSE Middle East Centre is delighted to announce an upcoming online roundtable on Abu Dhabi’s urban development and the role of road infrastructure in forging socio-spatial conditions.

This closed roundtable forms a key component of the project “Roads as Tools for (Dis)connecting Cities and Neighbourhoods: a Socio-spatial Study of Abu Dhabi” led by Alexandra Gomes, LSE Cities, in collaboration with Dr Apostolos Kyriazis, Abu Dhabi University, Peter Schwinger and Clémence Montagne.

Call for Abstracts:

Abu Dhabi development has been driven by cheap oil and abundant land, with strong car-centric development and lack of mixed use. Consequently, from a denser CBD the city extended to a suburban low to very low density, with detached villa houses creating monofunctional, commuter neighbourhoods.  

The urban form, open space and car dependency still form a vicious circle that is too solid to break. It is embedded in a social and spatial practice of not only urban life but also urban development procedures, from decision- and policy-makers to consultants drafting the future planning of mushrooming neighbourhoods.  

With this roundtable we want to gather scholars that are investigating or have investigated similar cases in the Middle East and beyond. In particular, cities with low and very low densities, where best urban development practices, road layout and urban form design have improved accessibility, walkability and the ability to operate public transport services within and between neighbourhoods. 

We hope this informal roundtable discussion will lead to a future collaboration between teams and scholars.

How to Apply:

To apply, please email the project title, name of the participant(s) and a short abstract (300-500 words) to K.Livingston@lse.ac.uk by Thursday, 5 August 2021.

While academics with on-going research are also welcome, the research should be in the later stages of the project (post data-collection).

Following the rountable, participants will be given the opportunity to revise their contributions based on discussions which in turn will be published as a series on the LSE Middle East Centre Blog. 


  • Receipt of abstracts: 17:00 BST on 5 August 2021. 
    We aim to respond the week commencing 16 August 2021.