Contemporary development in many Arab-Islamic cities, such as Cairo, Riyadh, Dammam, Damascus, Baghdad, and Tunis, presents a profound paradox and offers interesting insights into both the role of tradition in shaping settlements and the appropriateness of various mechanisms for transforming and assimilating foreign influences. On the one hand there is almost uniformly a deeply felt social need to continually re-affirm traditional values, cultural , and even national identities. On the other, there has been a wholesale commitment, even infatuation, with modern Western technology associated with participating in the geo-political economic order and in reckoning with the very real problems of rapid growth in urban population, largely occasioned by this participation. So far, public policy and private entrepreneurial investment has been weighted heavily in favor of new development, resulting, in most cases, in a transformation of the urban and architectural expression of the city towards norms that are largely devoid of traditional architectural values and conventions. Quite apart from the erosion of traditional building practices per se, the resulting commodification of habitat can often be alienating, particularly for those who are unaccustomed to the new conventions, or who are disenfranchised from the process of settlement itself.
Hakim, Besim S., and Peter G. Rowe. "The Representation of Values in Traditional and Contemporary Islamic Cities." Journal of Architectural Education 36, no. 4 (1983): 22-28.