• December 10, 2023

The Global Socialist Planning of Baghdad


Łukasz Stanek

Maybe it’s useful to start with the similarities. These plans came from the same urban planning culture, in the sense of a modern, functionalist urbanism, with zoning, the separation of traffic and pedestrians, and so on. The Miastoprojekt master plan kept several decisions of Minoprio, including the green belt, the ovoid shape of the city, and the principle of the neighborhood units.

By contrast, Miastoprojekt planners envisaged Baghdad on a regional scale. They distinguished the large-scale demolitions of the Ottoman-era urban fabric recommended by Minoprio from their own proposal of the extensive preservation of historical districts of Baghdad, including the district of Kadhimiya. Their plans were also much more detailed. The differences had to do with the Polish planning tradition, but also the scope of the exercise.

Miastoprojekt had more resources and a bigger presence on the ground, as it set up a field office. The agency was working much more closely with the Iraqi planners and was much more embedded in the institutions in Baghdad. That meant that it had a better understanding of the city, although it tended to overlook a number of social questions, notably the religious denominations.


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