The Modern Majlis: Public Participatory Planning in Shahama and Bahia

Published in Al Manakh 2: The Gulf Revisited.

In a tent in Shahama on a sunny day in June of 2008, local residents from the surrounding communities gathered to engage with local and international planners to determine the future vision for Shahama and Bahia – an existing community of 25,000 people between Abu Dhabi city and Dubai.

To the government planners at the event, this was believed to be the first public participatory planning event for a government masterplan in the Gulf Region.  To residents, this was a modern extension of the Diwan, where leadership sits with residents in direct conversation about their needs, and of a Majlis, where community members engage with each other and discuss local issues.


About Lia

I am a project manager and urban planner who loves discovering the uniqueness of places. I have traveled and lived abroad for 17 years, and love translating international ideas locally. I am a pragmatic creative. I take big ideas and make them happen here and now. I am as comfortable with a spreadsheet as I am with a sketching pen.

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