Historic and Morphological Review
This chapter introduces the general characteristics that distinguish the urban form of cities in Bilād ashShām – that is, Greater Syria – which later came to be known as the Levant, and which includes contemporary Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and the western parts of Jordan. This chapter then discusses the socio-cultural, political and economic factors that shaped the distinctive characteristics of the contemporary urban form for each of Aleppo, al-Salt and Acre. This is followed by a review of each city’s experiences with urban planning since the beginning of the twentieth century. The goal is, firstly, to address the sources of these cities’ otherness as tourist destinations (MacCannell, 1999) and the rationale behind their labelling under the myth of the unchanged (Echtner and Prasad, 2003). Secondly, this chapter’s discussion establishes the links between the recent history of urban planning in these cities and the choice of a planning approach in each. The argument contends that the history of urban planning in Aleppo, al-Salt and Acre had strongly influenced the more recent place-making initiatives as we shall see in Chapters 3, 4 and 5.