Transitory sites: Mapping Dubai's 'forgotten' urban spaces

Yasser Elsheshtawy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Seeking to uncover a hidden side of Dubai, this article investigates the city's 'forgotten' urban spaces. I use a theoretical framework that responds to a shift in global city research, emphasizing the everyday as well as transnational connections in which the local and the global are closely intertwined. I argue that such processes can be observed in these 'forgotten' settings, which, as well as being major gathering points, are utilized by Dubai's low-income migrant community for the exchange of information. Through an analysis of users and their activities as well as of the morphology of these spaces, I situate them within the overall development of Dubai. A key construct developed in this study and used as a unit of analysis is the notion of transitory sites - viewed as a major element in understanding migrant cities. The architectural and urban character of these sites is identified. A key finding is that low-income migrants resist globalizing influences by claiming these settings and establishing linkages through them to their home countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)968-988
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Urban and Regional Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Dubai
  • Global cities
  • Informal urbanism
  • Middle Eastern urbanism
  • Migrant laborers
  • Public spaces
  • Transnational urbanism
  • Urban mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Transitory sites: Mapping Dubai's 'forgotten' urban spaces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this