Since the Tanzimat (Ottoman reforms), Baghdad has never ceased to suffer from aborted attempts at modernizing its urban form. Despite its leading role in the fields of modern arts and culture since the 1930s, imported models of urbanism have repeatedly proven inappropriate to the local context while being challenged by continuous political instability. A short historical overview shows that urbanism visions of Baghdad as the capital city of Iraq were mostly imposed from above, first by colonial powers and later by local governments with their own political and ideological agendas. This is instrumental in understanding Baghdad’s urban context today (Figure 14.1), which is torn between two extremes: the center dating back to pre-modern and modern periods and being subject to neglect, physical degradation and slumification and projected large-scale peripheral neighborhoods conveying a global outlook.