Today cities across the world are more than ever linked through various media networks, whether socially, culturally or economically. Dubai and Los Angeles not only share many characteristics in the natural and physical environment, but also in the history of their development and global perception. Both cities are well known and have a high ‘media presence’, echoing the importance of storytelling—Los Angeles being hugely impacted by the film industry and Dubai by the marketing industry. The notion of storytelling is a reminder of past traditions and culture in the case of Dubai (UAE) and a result of the consistent longing of today’s society for constructed narratives in form of films, in the case of Los Angeles (USA).
Located at the opposite ends in the ‘East’ and the ‘West,’ Dubai and Los Angeles have become hubs for creative industries, endless sources of inspiration and utopian urban visions and places of cultural exchange. Two cities between past and present consistently project possible futures, driven by the advancement of media technology. City EastWest links the two centers to a global imagined city, using narratives and lived memories of Los Angeles and Dubai to read today’s built environment and project future possibilities.
The project City EastWest, is a multi-year research project funded by Zayed University (UAE) and part of the research cluster ‘Pattern in the MENA region.’ The project aims to investigate the impact media (e.g. film, social media and advertising), has on the development of specific districts within these cities and the growth of their creative industries. The creative industries, such as art, design, film, fashion, architecture, advertising, have been a key element to promote understanding and attract investment into culture and ultimately the city. Building a narrative that not only allows to read the urban fabric, but also connects the two creative industries of both cities to a new city, the City EastWest.