Follow Us

Follow on Twitter    Follow on Facebook    YouTube Channel    Vimeo Channel    Tumblr    SoundCloud Channel    iPhone App    iPhone App

Cities Media Roundup (January 2016)

[Microbus strike in Bardo, Tunisia, 2015. Image by Emna Mizouni via Wikimedia Commons.] [Microbus strike in Bardo, Tunisia, 2015. Image by Emna Mizouni via Wikimedia Commons.]

[This is a monthly roundup of news articles, and other materials related to urban issues in the region, and beyond. It does not reflect the views of the Cities Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send recommendations for inclusion in the Cities Media Roundup to, mentioning "Roundup" in the subject line. We also welcome your submissions to the Cities Page: please check details on]

Special Feature: Protests in Tunisia

Le “prix” de la révolution en Tunisie [in French] Political sociologist Amin Allal analyses the Nobel Prize granted to Tunisian civic organizations, and underscores how this prize overlooked the issues of social justice.

Tunisie: manifestations à Sfax pour la fermeture d'une usine de transformation des phosphates [in French] Eric Verdeil, one of Jadaliyya's Cities Page editors, has put together a selection of links documenting the contradictory urban mobilizations in Sfax.

In 2015, citizen movements struggle to keep the gains of the revolution Vanessa Szakal writes for Nawaat about the development of the movement in Tunisia which preceded the current outbreak of protests.

Peaceful protests continue throughout the country Another article about Tunisia on Nawaat featuring a map of the sites of protest around the country.

Tunisia: "Nothing's changed since the revolution" A photo essay in The Guardian by Callum Francis Hugh documents the country's continuing socioeconomic hardship.

Tunisie: "À Kasserine, on reste dans des politiques de court terme d'absorption de la colère" An interview with International Alert's director, Olfa Lamloum, in which she comments on the weakness of social policies since the revolution, and the gap between the interior and the coastal cities in Tunisia.

Wars and Refugees

The Strange Sectarian Peace of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Laura Dean writes for Lawfare that the primary tension between Syrian refugees and Lebanese is based on socio-economic rather than sectarian dimensions.

Les ravages de la guerre en Syrie vus du ciel [photo essay, text in French] A collection of satellite images reveals the extent of the destruction which Syria has undergone since 2011.

À Calais, un camp des années 30 [in French] Libération discusses the environmental layout and urban space of the Calais refugee camp, discovering that it is worse than anyone could have feared.

Towards a Post-Apartheid Palestine: Atlas of Israeli Settlements What if the settlements and their architectural/urban modifications implemented to disintegrate their segregative effects were the scene of the temporary return of the refugees, while many of the villages and towns destroyed after 1948 were being rebuilt?

Planning Problems in Palestine Kashmir-based town planned Ghulam Hussain Mir discusses his impressions of the planning constraints in Israeli-occupied Palestine.

Turkey breaks new ground in southeast reconstruction Al-Monitor reports on Turkey's new construction drive in its Kurdish southeast, and how this is used as a technique of control and power.

Urban Development

L’architecte Bernard Khoury redresse son Liban [in French] Libération interviews Khalil Khoury’s son Bernard about the political side of construction, as well as the B018 nightclub in Beirut.

ست سنوات بلدية في صيدا.. "انجاز" ليس كل شيء [in Arabic] The continuing divisions and conflict within the Saida-Zahrani municipality (Lebanon) are stalling opportunities for development, writes Huda Habish.

En 2016, l'Île flottante voguera au large du littoral L'Orient Le Jour reports on plans to built a floating island dedicated to cruises off the coast of Lebanon.

How the historic Adloun coast is becoming "Nabih Berri Port" Journalist Habib Battah reports on his blog about the latest encroachment of a sensitive historical site on the seashore in Adloun, South Lebanon, for a port project apparently aimed at harboring luxury yatchts.

المصري اليوم ترصد معاناة أصحاب ٥٠ ألف ورشة في دمياط [in Arabic] A report in Al Masry Al Youm on the difficulties facing the Egyptian city of Damietta.

محافظ بورسعيد: تحويل المحافظة لـ«جوهرة المتوسط» وإعادة تنشيط المنطقة الحرة [in Arabic] Al Masry Al Youm interviews the new governor of Port Said province on his plans to transform the city into the "jewel of the Mediterranean."

أبرز المعالم الهندسية في أبو ظبي [in Arabic] Raseef reviews Abu Dhabi's most noteworthy architecture.

Masdar City: A Critical Retrospection Boris Brorman Jensen writes for urbanNext reflecting on the failed promises of the Masdar project in Abu Dhabi.

Dubai, Doha Remain Low Construction Cost Locations Doha and Dubai remain some of the least expensive 
cities in the world in which to build, according to the International Construction Costs Index.

Where are the world's newest cities ... and why do they all look the same? Adam Greenfield writes for The Guardian on the development of "smart cities" and global business districts, and why they seem so similar.

Alger: une éliminiation totale (et définitive?) des bidonvilles de la capitale, officiellement annoncée pour 2016 [in French] Geographer Keira Bachar discusses on his blog the latest governmental announcement aiming at removing all slums from Algiers in 2016.

Environment, Infrastructure, and Governance

Answer to UAE's water security crisis could lie in Pakistan, says head of Geowash The National suggests that part of the solution to the lack of fresh water in the UAE could lie in importing water from Pakistan.

Exportation des déchets : les contrats pourraient être finalisés aujourd'hui [in French] Suzanne Baaklini writes for L'Orient Le Jour about the secretive processes behind exporting Lebanon's waste.

La fin programmée du mouvement des journaliers d'EDL [in French] Journalist Philippe Hage Boutros, writing inL'Orient Le Jour, predicts the end of the contractual electricity workers' movement in Lebanon. In a separate, earlier article, he also draws a bitter assessment of Electricité du Liban yearly achievement in 2015.

Transition politique et action publique locale: un colloque, un livre, une thèse [in French] Eric Verdeil analyses on his blog a series of publications concerning decentralization policies in the Arab world and their links with European policies.

Slow death of the 'mute doctor' Al Ahram Online reports on the declining usage of traditional hammams.

In Damascus, a New Student Craze: Bicycles Started by Maen Elhemmeh, a Damascus University lecturer who abandoned his car commute for a bicycle, the campaign seeks to spread the bicycle culture to combat the overcrowded streets, and to create a healthier alternative than riding in a bus or car.


Book Review: Bourj Hammoud as a Palimpsest of Culture In Ara Madzounian’s Birds’ Nest Talar Chahinian reviews Ara Madzounian’s book Bird’s Nest: A Photographic Essay of Bourj Hammoud.

New Book: Urban Change in Iran A new book that provides an in depth case study for understanding complexities of urban transformation in Iran, using cross disciplinary perspectives.

Interview: La modernité inachevée: Entretien avec le collectif Suspended Spaces [in French] La Vie des idées presents a collection of interviews with Suspended Spaces, a Paris-based artistic collective, about their work in cities such as Tripoli and Famagusta, in which derilect, uncompleted projects take on new meaning.

Interview: Architects Are Never Taught the Right Thing Universities are failing to give architects the training that will enable them to find solutions for an imminent global housing crisis, says 2016 Pritzker Prize laureate Alejandro Aravena.

CFP: Informal Habitat in North Africa A conference organized by the Centre Arabe des Recherches et de l’Etude des Politiques (CAREP) on informal habitat in North Africa to be held in Tunis, 24-26 November 2016. Deadline: 15 March 2016.

Paper: Understanding Lebanese Waste Zeinab Attieh authors for the Youth Economic Forum a white paper related to the garbage crisis in Lebanon.

Illustration: We Want to Live a Decent, Simple Life—Refugee Camps as Seen by Illustrator George Butler George Butler provides watercolors of refugee camps’ life in Afghanistan and Lebanon.

Website: Top Ten of 2015 Planetizen lists its top ten planning websites of the year.

Video: Syrian Refugees’ Unsafe Dwellings in Lebanon A video report by Dala Mawad on the unsafe places Syrian refugees are dwelling in Lebanon.

Slideshow: Spatial Justice Maps in Greater Cairo by Tadamun [in Arabic] Tadamun presents its mapping of urban poverty across Greater Cairo neighbhorhoods, as well as access to basic services.

Recently on Jadaliyya Cities

Call for Papers: Graduate Student Conference on Social and Political Change in MENA (April 8, New York) CUNY invites papers on a variety of topics relating to the political and social upheaval of the last five years. The deadline is February 5, 2016.

إطلاق حملة بعنوان «مدينتي ومن حقي البقاء فيها» من أجل دعم قضية المستأجرين في لبنان A video by the Right to Live campaign in Lebanon highlights the issue of landlords and rental policy.

"This Land is their Land": Egypt's Military and the Economy Abdel-Fattah Barayez analyses the changing nature of the military's control over the economy, and in particular their involvement in rent extraction as a main source of revenue.

The Rise and Decline of a Heterotopic Space: Views from Midan al-Tahrir Farha Ghannam takes a look at the eighteen days of protests in Tahrir Square, using them to re-evaluate Foucault's notion of "heterotopias" into a more fragmented vision of "heterotopic spaces".

Art Dubai: The Shifting Architectures and Expedient Geographies of the Art World Nicole Demby discusses the rise of the art world in the UAE, such as the new Guggenheim, as a combination of different modes and temporalities of cultural production.

Art Dubai: The Shifting Architectures and Expedient Geographies of the Art World Nicole Demby examine the manner in which Art Dubai coheres a heterogeneous array of actors and rhetorics that coordinates architectures of the visual arts under a new global temporalities of cultural production.

Snapshot: Amman A collection of photographs of Ammani architecture by Hamza AbuHamdia, along with a short explanation of the motives behind the project.

Decoding an Urban Myth: An Inquiry into the Socio-Economics of Van Number 4 in Beirut Amer Mohtar and Petra Samaha investigate the self-imposed structures of organisation underlying informal transit networks in Beirut.

اللاجئون الشوريون في المدن الألمانية: آليات إعادة توطينهم وآثارها على البنى العمرانية في المدينة Ghiath Al Jebawi discusses the effects the influx of refugees has had on the city of Cologne, and the geography of refugee communities.

La question du patrimonie en Algérie Sidi Mohammed el Habib Benkoula questions whether European architecture and involvement in Algeria constitutes part of the country's cultural legacy.

If you prefer, email your comments to




Apply for an ASI Internship now!


Political Economy Project

Issues a

Call for Letters of Interest


Jadaliyya Launches its

Political Economy




F O R    T H E    C L A S S R O O M 

Roundtable: Harold Wolpe’s Intellectual Agenda and Writing on Palestine


The 1967 Defeat and the Conditions of the Now: A Roundtable


E N G A G E M E N T