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Cities Media Roundup (April 2016)

[Screenshot of the website Beirut Madinati, one of Beirut 2016 municipal lists] [Screenshot of the website Beirut Madinati, one of Beirut 2016 municipal lists]

[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]

Housing and Employment

المصري اليوم تفتح ملف قانون الإيجار القديم Al Masry al Youm examines the implications of old renting laws which still regulate the relationship between owners and tenants, and considers their effects on the modern state of housing in the city.

Reportage à Kerkennah : Les raisons de la colère [in French] Thameur Mekki reports for Nawaat about the struggle for jobs fought by local jobless youth against the oil and gas company Petrofac on the island of Kerkennah, Tunisia.
Five Critical Days in the Life of 10 Nabrawy Street Alexandra Stock narrates the partial collapse, and subsequent demolition, of a residential building in Cairo.
‘Tam’ opération de démolition sous tension à la cité El Qamar [in French] El Watan reports about the demolition of the Al Qamar settlement in the Algerian city of Tamanrasset. Its displaced inhabitants blame the corruption of the housing administration that prevented them from being re-housed.

The Peaceful Settlement of Syrian Refugees in the Eastern Suburbs of Beirut: Understanding the Causes of Social Stability Marianne Madoré examines the phenomenon in this new report for the Civil Society Knowledge Centre.

Urban Planning and Centralization

نائب وزير الإسكان للتطوير الحضاري: ٣٧٫٥٪ من حجم المدن «عشوائي» An interview with the Egyptian Deputy Minister of Urban Planning by Al Masry Al Youm, in which he states that 37.5% of Egyptian urban areas is unplanned, and discusses the government's plans to tackle this.

The Armed Forces and Egypt's land Laila Sawaf, writing for Mada Masr, considers the latest announcement that the Egyptian Armed Forces Land Projects Agency has been granted the ability to form joint ventures with regard to the construction of the country's two mega-projects.

Decentralization in the Mashrek Region: Challenges and Opportunities. (The cases of Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen). A new report by Omar Abdulaziz Hajjaj, Myriam Ababsa, Karam Karam, and Ryan Knox.

Le Parc du Belvédère bientôt mutilé? [in French] Néjiba Belkadi for Leaders reports on the mobilization of the Association des Amis du Belvédère against a planned road which would cut through a historic garden in order to reduce traffic congestion in Tunis.
مشروع المترو الخفيف بصفاقس : 2016 انطلاق الأشغال .. خطوط باتجاه المطار وقرمدة [in Arabic] An article on the website Histoire de Sfax which describes the plans for a metro in the Tunisia city of Sfax. Construction on the metro began this year and is due to be completed by 2029.
Bizerte : Marina cap 3000 ou les 3000 déboires d’un projet contesté (Partie III) [in French] Nadia Tarhouni highlights the delays to a tourism project in Bizerte which encapsulates the contradiction between Tunisian tourism and the state's decentralization policies after the revolution.
Décentralisation ou démission de l’Etat ? [in French]
Hafawa Rebhi reports on a recent seminar at which former executive of the Tunisian State Planning Agency, Fathi Ennaifer, warned that planned decentralization to municipalities may represent the State's abandonment of its prerogatives. At the same conference, former diplomat Ahmed Ben Mustafa warned against a loss of sovereignty resulting from the policies of the World Bank.


Environmental Issues

LOCAL: Turkey’s First “super Town” to Be Built in Eskişehir The mayor of Eskişehir announces the construction of a new city of 75,000 people based of the principles of eco-planning. The inhabitants of the existing villages will be relocated to new sustainable settlements with electricity-fueled transportation.
A Thala, l’hépatite C tue dans l’indifférence [in French] Henda Chnaoui reports for Nawaat that about 3% of the population of the Tunisian interior of Thala is infected by Hepatitis C, while no action has been taken by the Health minister.

Retour sur une référence devenue incontournable au Nord comme au Sud : Le développement urbain durable [in French] On her blog, geographer Keira Bachar critically examines scholarly works and public initiatives revolving around the notion of urban sustainable development. 

Masdar’s Eco-City Eyes Sustainability, Quality The CEO of Masdar in Abu Dhabi has announced the planned construction of 1000 eco-houses and related infrastructure within the next five years, with the target of having built 35% of the whole project by. However, the zero-carbon objective has been abandoned in favour of “four pearls” buildings, which will save about 50% of the consumed resources.

On Heritage

Palmyra Must not be Fixed. History Would Never Forgive us Jonathan Jones, writing in The Guardian, argues that Palmyra's Roman ruins should not be re-built as their destruction by Daesh is just as much part of their history.

Ex-nid de snipers, futur lieu de mémoire: visite guidée de Beit Beirut [in French] L'Orient Le Jour provides a historical overview of Beit Beirut, formerly known as the Yellow House or the Snipers' Nest, which has recently re-opened to the pubic, as well as a video guided tour.

Beirut's bullet-riddled Holiday Inn: a history of cities in 50 buildings, day 28 As part of The Guardian's History of Cities series, Moe-Ali Nayel considers the place of the Holiday Inn in Beirut's collective imagination and memory.

Boathouses on the Nile In Al-Ahram, Farah El-Akkad examines what Cairo's now delapidated boathouses can tell us about the city's history, and provides photographs of their current state.


Municipal Elections in Beirut

The programme and website of the electoral list Beirut Madinati, which is running in the city's municipal elections slated to take place on 8th May 2016, is available in English and in Arabic.

Meet the Candidates of Beirut Madinati The blog A Separate State of Mind provides brief profiles of the list's 24 candidates.

New and Old Ways of Practising Lebanese Politics Beirut Report discusses how the new reform lists are attempting to change the nature of political inclusion in Beirut.

The Municipal Programme [in Arabic] of the movement Muwatinun Muwatinat fi Dawlah (Citizens Within a State), led by former minister Charbel Nahhas. Nahhas is personally running for election in Beirut, but claims that the movement will present candidates in other regions of the country.


Egyptian Street Photographer Explores Revolutionary Change in Cairo The Huffington Post reports on the work of photographer Owise Abuzaid, and provides a link to more of his work on his Instagram feed.
Call for papers: The Zabbaleen : An Over-studied Object ? [in French and English] Gaetan Duroy launches a call for paper for the journal Egypte Monde Arabe edited by CEDEJ. The deadline is 30th June 2016.

Book Review: Three Architects who Built Jerusalem: How they Shaped and Fled (and Were Forgotten by) the Conflicted City Ben Ehrenreich for the Los Angeles Times considers Adina Hoffman's book Till We Have Built Jerusalem and the effects of the three architects' work on the modern city.

Cariobserver: Five Years Later Cairobserver considers its own history in the context of the architectural and spatial transformations which have taken place in Egypt. "What emerged from the experiences of the past five years is a consensus that our cities are fast changing, and that restricting debates about urban affairs to professionals only is part of the reasons why the changes are often for the worse."

Recently on Jadaliyya

Job Opportunity: Director, AUB Neighborhood Initiative The deadline is May 15, 2016.

On Municipal Elections in Lebanon and the Prospects of Change Sami Atallah reflects on the upcoming municipal elections in Lebanon, their developmental potential, and the role of voters.

Après Ben-Guerdane: dépossessions, déstructurations et insécurité alimentaire dans le Sud-est tunisien [in French] Habib Ayeb discusses the role of the frontier in creating Southern Tunisia's food crisis.

Ici les corps politiques [in French] Léo Kloeckner, Sandra Lucbert, Flaminia Paddeu and Fanny Taillandier consider the role of public space in forming the body politic from Nuit Debout to Calais and Gezi Park.

Un éclairage inédit sur l'histoire moderne de la ville de Bagdad [in French] Marlène Ghorayeb reviews Caecilia Pieri's book Bagdad. La construction d'une capitale moderne (1914-1960).

Baghdad through Latif al-Ani's Lens Jala Makhzoumi and Mona Damluji comment on a selection of photographs by Latif al-Ani, depicting life in Baghdad in the 1950s and 1960s. The photographs are included in the article.


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