Low key doesn't mean low impact

A lack of crowds allowed Cityscape to serve a more valuable purpose

There is probably a fair bit of truth in the claims by Cityscape organizers that numbers were down in Abu Dhabi due to the weather problems in the UK.

Middle East Architect spoke to a number of firms at the event whose directors were stuck in various European airports and a number of stands did remain empty for the duration of the event.

Nonetheless, Cityscape managing director Rohan Marwaha’s claim that “thousands of potential visitors” had been prevented from attending by the weather problems was a little optimistic, ongoing financial uncertainty in the region – rather than a lack of flights from Europe – is undoubtedly still keeping punters away.

But many of the firms that spoke to MEA in Abu Dhabi were positive about the new low-key, post-financial crisis Cityscape, and not just because of the lack of queues and ample parking. Architects in particular said that they had a far better opportunity to meet developers, who instead of spending the whole event plugging their new projects were able to spend time checking out the talent.

Connections were undoubtedly made in Abu Dhabi this week, and as a business-to-business forum Cityscape is just as valuable as it always was, perhaps now even more so. In our last issue, MEA argued that Cityscape needed emphasis on the real, maybe the financial downturn has given it just that.

It would be wrong for me at this point not to plug the next issue of Middle East Architect, due out in the first week of May, and my first as editor. In it we discuss the changing role of landscape architecture in the Middle East, travel to Shanghai to see how the region’s Expo pavilions shape up, and put the world to rights with the boys from DSA Architects in Dubai. Don’t miss it.

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