Monday, September 28, 2009

Musings made whilst Flâneuring Along Salem Al-Mubarak Street




The included short 'animation' consists of some musings made during a walk down Salem Al-Mubarak Street in Salmiya, Kuwait. The film, made out of over 400 individual images assembled in Power-point, had to unfortunately be filmed off my computer screen as the software I was planning to use refused to convert any shots lasting less than a second into a MPEG, AVI or Quick-time format, resulting in the video that should last about 3 minutes taking well over 20 minutes (as it converted the fraction of a second shots into full seconds). Nevertheless, it is clear enough to catch the intended gist of the video, and, if I manage to figure out how to convert the movie directly (any suggestions would be much appreciated) I'll replace the current one.


A few years back we used to live in Salmiya, a stones throw from the Sha'ab Amusement Park, and I used to walk down this street almost daily, on my way to the selection of coffee-shops clustered around the Sultan Center. The Salem Al-Mubarak Street is amongst the only sections of the city that has the the history and, in regards to future development, the 'bones' to be developed into a proper external pedestrianized area. This factor has also been noted by others in Kuwait, such as fellow bloggers re:Kuwait, who included a recent post on the subject matter and area (click here for a link to their submission). Unfortunately the street seems currently to be under threat, as substantial sections of the on average three and four floor buildings flanking its sides are either abandoned or in the process of being demolished. This is a true pity, and, again, a considerable lost opportunity (a term that seems to crop up regrettably often on this blog) as what this street and area has will be very difficult to duplicate or rejuvenate if the current 'developments' are allowed to proceed much further. What it needs is a total strategic overhaul that provides the street and district with an update whilst retaining its unique qualities – its casualness, non-mallness, spontaneity, walkability – its outdoorness...

This last point became particularly pertinent recently when we were invited to present at the Dar Al-Athar al-Islamyyia, scheduled to take place on November 11th (more details about this at a later date) as this occasion could be the perfect opportunity to tie together and develop a coherent proposal from the various, still somewhat discordant, ideas we've developed for this area over the last few years for how this street could be designed and modified to accommodate the desires of the above musings. What this will entails exactly remains still to be seen, but the intention is to present a, still at this stage schematic, proposal for how the Salem Al-Mubarak Street could be rethought. The included video forms a part of this process.

3 comments:

Mark said...

From 1980 to 1990 I was living in the building at 2:!3, from 1991 till the present time I live in the building at 2:10.

I hate whats happening. I have an emotional attachment to the area and there is nothing I can do about it.

My cries to elect me as mayor have not been answered yet...

http://www.248am.com/mark/kuwait/elect-me-as-mayor-of-salmiya/
http://www.248am.com/mark/kuwait/i-am-still-not-the-mayor/

Mark said...

btw can I have a go at converting your video? I am usually good at these things and would love it if there was a better quality video up on youtube. worse case i will just redo your whole video in imovie, shouldnt take long.

Thomas said...

Thanks for the comments and pointers Mark. I got a few suggestions regarding how the video could be converted, which I've haven't, as of yet, had a chance to try out. If they don't work out I'll let you know.

Good luck with your attempt to become the Mayor of Salmiya. Do you get to wear one of those big gold chains if it works out..?