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Cities Media Roundup (May 2016)

[The Jordan Gate Towers in Amman. Image from Wikimedia] [The Jordan Gate Towers in Amman. Image from Wikimedia]

[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]

Urban Design and Governance

Story of cities #49: the long road to Rawabi, Palestine's first planned city Harriet Sherwood continues the Guardian series, evaluating the Rawabi project as "a momentous trailblazer, or a colossal folly?"

Story of cities #43: how Dubai's World Trade Centre sold the city to the world Todd Reisz writes for The Guardian about the role of architecture in the initial stages of Dubai's transformation into a center for global capital.

Finding bureaucracy a new home Among the newest of the Egyptian government's crop of architectural projects is the search for a replacement for the infamous Mugamma building on Tahrir Square, which has housed the cities bureaucracy since the 1950s.

Should Boulaq have a mayor? A visual and historical article about the neighborhood of Boulaq in central Cairo and its changing urban and political landscape.

«الأسمرات».. أهالى الدويقة يودعون العشوائيات [in Arabic] Al Masry Al Youm writes about a project to resettle the residents of an area near al-Muqatam in Cairo. The area was deemed unsafe, and the government started a housing project to relocate the residents. The article addresses the official discourse, which sees this project as a major development, and the residents' reactions.

Palestinian museum set to open – without exhibition YourMiddleEast covers the opening of the new Palestinian Museum, fêted by the country's leaders but with no exhibits, and considers whether the project was worthwhile.

Cities and Conflict

Story of cities #44: will Dadaab, the world's largest refugee camp, really close? Ben Rawlence explores the conditions in Kenya's Dadaab camp and the increasingly urban nature of long-term refugee camps.

Paris mayor to open a refugee camp in French capital within a month Report Mayor Anne Hidalgo has announced that the city's new refugee camp will conform to UN regulations, but Parisian residents are resistant to the idea.

How Israel Physically Erased the Palestinians After 1948 Eman Elshaikh's article on Muftah covers the way that forestation and other environmental projects were used by the Israelis to cover up traces of Palestinian geography in occupied land.

A Day in The Life of The Jungle: Syrians Camped out in Calais Tam Hussein writes on Syria Comment depicting everyday life in the Calais camp and their place, both locally and internationally.

Air strikes on Isis in Iraq and Syria are reducing their cities to ruins Patrick Cockburn, in Independent, analyzes the urban repercussions of the continued use of air strikes as the main tactic to fight against Islamic State, arguing that cities such as Ramadi have been destroyed.

Chroniques / Urbicide en cours au Kurdistan : Diyarbakır, de la ville-refuge à la ville-cible [in French] Geographer Mathieu Gosse describes the destruction of the old city core of the Kurdish town of Diyarbakır as urbicide in the geographical journal Urbanités.

World Bank: Egypt's middle class shrank in the lead-up to Arab Spring MadaMasr reports on a recent World Bank Report, highlighting that the middle class has shrunk in some Arab countries but not in others. This finding casts some doubt on a purely socio-economic explanation of the uprisings.

Cities for Girls An article about the Safer Cities for Girls Program, a joint program launched in 2014 in partnership with Plan International, Women in Cities International, UN-HABITAT, and CARE. Cairo is one of five cities included in the program.

Municipal Elections in Lebanon, Focus on Beirut

À Baalbeck-Hermel, l'art d'imposer des victoires [in French] In South Lebanon, despite the victory of the Hezbollah-Amal alliance, competing independent lists received an unusually large number of votes. Sandra Noujeim reports on this for L'Orient Le Jour, and has also written a companion article about the South and Nabatiyeh.

La manne municipale suscite les convoitises... Scarlett Haddad, writing in L’Orient Le Jour, analyses the struggle for the municipalities in light of the amount of money they now manage.

Le début d'un vrai combat citoyen du Liban [in French] Bachir El Khoury writes for Le Huffington Post about the beginning of a true citizens' fight after the municipal election results.

Lebanese activists leave their ‘comfort zone’: how to overcome mistrust in conventional politics Alexandra Kassir writes for OpenDemocracy, using the example of Beirut to illustrate how municipal elections can offer an opportunity to challenge corrupt political systems.

Despite its Loss at the Polls, Beirut Madinati Provides Hope for Change Beirut Madinati voters cast ballots for independent groups with a platform not based on sectarian discourse and clientelistic networks.

32 ألف صوت بيروتي للقمصان البيض... إنجاز الدوائر الثلاث [in Arabic] A report on the local election results and the positive performance of Beirut Madinati.

For Beirut Madinati, now what? Building on the momentum from the municipal elections, Beirut Madinati must transform from a civil society group to a real grass-roots political organization.

Beirut Madinati: The Institutional Rise of Lebanese Civil Society No matter what happens, the movement has at least succeeded in taking the electoral process to another–much needed–level.

عن الملل والسياسة و بيروت مدينتي [in Arabic] Samer Frangieh writes for Al-Hayat analyzing politics, boredom, and Beirut Madinati.

ما الذي حدث في بيروت قبل يومين؟  [in Arabic] Hazem Saghieh analyzes the results of Beirut Madinati in the elections.

‏"بيروت مدينتي" ترصد مخالفات خطيرة تخللت الانتخابات البلدية ⁦‪ [in Arabic] Legal Agenda reports on Beirut Madinati's claims of serious illegalities during the Beirut municipal elections.

بيروت: هزيمة بنكهة الانتصار [in Arabic] Elias Khoury's analysis of Beirut Madinati's municipal election results.

بلدية الظل [in Arabic] Akel al-Awit's plea for Beirut Madinati to persist as a shadow municipality.

Featured Resources

Report: Syria: Opinions and Attitudes on Federalism, Decentralization, and the experience of the Democratic Self-Administration This study provides insight towards finding a solution to one of the central issues facing the future of Syria–the administration of the country during the transition and beyond.

Report: UN-Habitat World Cities 2016 The UN-Habitat's World Cities Report 2016 is published.

Photo-Essay: Mardin: a town fighting for peace (Turkey) The Turkish town of Mardin is situated in an area that once belonged to Mesopotamia. Now the Kurdish conflict and the Syrian civil war just across the border are putting its tradition of openness to the test.

Photo-Essay: Lebanon's abandoned hotel on the hillside Very little land is not under construction, or signposted as sold, in Lebanon. The battle-scarred and decaying Grand Aley Hotel stands in haunting contrast.

Video: City Debates 2016 "Urban Policy Mobilities and International Aid" The annual conference held at the American University of Beirut has published the videos of its 2016 edition.

Video: Jordan Gate Park A proposal video for the Jordan Gate towers on the 6th circle in Amman.

CFP International Competition The CFP for the International Architecture and Urbanism Competition issued by the Ecuadorian ministry as part of HabitatIII is out. Deadline is 6 July 2016.

Recently on Jadaliyya

What a Queer Urban Future Looks Like: Beirut Maya Mikdashi writes on sexuality, gender, and the Lebanese urban landscape.

City Talks: Ananya Roy on Urbanism, Poverty, and the Whiteness of Theory In this video, Hiba Bou Akar and Hun Kim continue City Talks to discuss the "whiteness of theory," scholarship on urban informality, social movements, and postcolonial urban theory.

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