This design studio focusses on context-sensitive urban upgrading of Harat Al Shamal neighborhood in Muscat (MCT), OmanMuscat, the buzzing capital on the shores of the Gulf of Oman, has managed to combine tradition and modernity like few metropolises on the Arabian Peninsula. However, authentic traditional quarters for the local population are at risk, especially in the port and fish market area of Muttrah, a district on the eastern side of the Muscat agglomeration.

In pre-Covid19 times, hundreds of thousands of tourists from cruise ships entered the port area to visit the nearby fish market (designed by the Norwegian architectural office Snøhetta) as well as the boardwalk (“Corniche”) leading to the traditional market area (“Muttrah Souq”).

Away from the tourist streams lies the small neighborhood of Harat Al Shamal, where the locals still go about their normal everyday life in (partly) traditional urban surroundings. However, the neighborhood faces various challenges: Vacancy and decaying building stock, a lack of community facilities, poor quality of public space and a lack of adaptation to climate change call for ideas to improve the situation and respond to the needs of the local population.

In this studio we will examine, design and visualize upgrading measures to improve the quality of life in this neighborhood while at the same time maintaining and respecting the existing socio-economic context.

This studio can be combined with the seminar “Urban Mapping Lab”, which is dedicated to experimenting with various tools and techniques for location-based analysis and visualization.