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Cities Media Roundup (June 2016)

[Baghdad by Haidar Omar al-Sharifi, via Wikimedia Commons] [Baghdad by Haidar Omar al-Sharifi, 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]

Urban Planning and Development

Beyrouth Madinati appelle à préserver le bois des pins et Ramlet El-Baïda [in French] Beirut Madinati calls for the preservation of the public character of Beirut’s forest and the beach of Ramlet el Bayda.

Décentralisation: Les enjeux politiques du nouveau découpage communal (Tunisia) [in French] Hawafa Rebhi in Nawaat analyses the law on municipal decentralization creating 350 new municipalities in Tunisia. Several commentators highlight the political motivations behind the technical criteria adopted for redistricting.

Developing the Triangle (Egypt) The Governorate of Cairo is planning a survey of residents of the Maspero in downtown Cairo to learn about their needs and view in how to “develop” the area.

Professionalizing Local Administration in al-Minyā (Egypt) Al-Minyā governorate in Upper Egypt set up a physical planning consultancy unit within the governorate which operated so professionally that it rivaled some of the leading local consultancy offices, generating significant revenues for the governorate.

Quand Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reparle de la destruction de Gezi Park [in French] Political scientist Jean Marcou writes for the Observatoire de La Vie Politique Turque analyzing the recent declaration by Turkish President Erdoğan that the project to rebuild Ottoman barracks on Gezi Park in Istanbul will soon resume.

Urban Inequality

Cairo–A City for All Amira El-Noshokaty reports for Al Ahram on the efforts being made to transform Cairo into a city which is more friendly towards people with disabilities.

Aïn Dara : Marche citoyenne contre le projet de mégacimenterie [in French] Nadège Justiniani reports for L’Orient-Le Jour on the mobilization of the villagers in Ain Dara against a project to develop concrete quarries there.

The Built Environment Budget 2015-16. An Analysis of Spatial Justice in Egypt This article on 10Tooba presents several compelling charts analyzing social inequalities in Cairo.

À Beyrouth, comment se réapproprier la ville ? [in French] Hugo Lautissier and Jérémy El-Mlaka report for Middle East Eye about the origins of social mobilization in Lebanon, from the preservation of the coastline to the municipal campaign of Beirut Madinati.

Beyrouth, inaccessible aux primo-accédants ? Céline Haddad analyses in L’Orient-Le Jour recent data about real estate in Beirut suggesting that young families cannot afford to buy property in the city.

Energy and the Environment

L’abattage d’arbres de nouveau interdit à Janné (Liban) [in French] L’Orient-Le Jour  reports that the minister of the Environment has prohibited cutting down trees for the on-going works on Janneh dam, in Lebanon.

المحلة الكبرى.. قلعة صناعية تحت حصار القمامة (تحقيق) [in Arabic] Al Masry Al Youm reports on the severe trash problem facing the city of al-Mahalla al-Kubra, one of Cairo's major manufacturing centers.

Gaz offshore : De vieilles données peuvent-elles permettre de débloquer le dossier au Liban ? [in French] Cyrille Obeid and Karen Neme report on the recent efforts by Speaker Nabih Berri to restart the exploration for gas in Lebanese waters, based on newly released data suggesting the disputed border zone between Lebanon and Israel could contain gas.

Publication des contrats pétroliers : Les lignes rouges de la transparence [in French] Hafawa Rebhi reports for Nawaat that the Lebanese Ministry for Industry has eventually released the contracts for oil drilling projects which environmental organizations had requested. Howver, key information is missing.

Tunisia’s Renewable Energies Threatened by Foreign Loans and PPPs Drawing a parallel between Morocco and Tunisia, Vanessa Szakal asks in Nawaat if a recent law promoting renewable energy will not favor foreign investors over Tunisian interests.

Israel: Water as a tool to dominate Palestinians Al Jazeera reports on the techniques used by the Israeli occupation authorities to weaponize the distribution of water to the West Bank.

Conflict in Cities

Something is stirring in Egypt This Muftah article presents a timeline of some of major events in Egypt over the last two months, providing insight into the current crises facing Egyptians three years into President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi’s rule.

Camp Code: How to Navigate a Refugee Settlement Claudia Martínez Mansell discusses the typical features of the political and social geography of Lebanese Palestinian refugee camps.

The Nakba of Baghdad Al Ahram reports on the history of Baghdad, the devastating impact of war on its landscape, and the effect of the recent crisis on its residents.

مطاعم رمضان فى 6 أكتوبر «سورى x سورى» [in Arabic] A discussion of the impact of Syrian refugees on the landscape of the 6th of October City in Egypt, and a look at the restaurants that are spreading around the area and shaping its spaces.

An Insider's Guide to El-Aaiún: Camel Convoys and Revolutionary Rappers  El-Aaiún (also known as Laâyoune) is the capital of and biggest city in the disputed territory of Western Sahara. It only sprang from the desert in the 1930.

Guest: Tripoli (Lebanon), A Historic Field of Dissidence Sylvain Mercadier writes in The Cobble and the Frame about his research in the districts of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen in Tripoli, and the history of their rivalry.

It's Time For Airbnb to Just Say No to #Stolehomes on Occupied Land Sarah Moawad writes on Muftah about the campaign to force Airbnb to remove listings which are located in illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories.

Le ministère des Affaires Sociales effectue un recensement des réfugiés syriens Khalil Fleyhane reports in L’Orient-Le Jour that the Lebanese Ministry for Social Affairs has launched a census of Syrian refugees in the country with the clear aim of preventing their permanent settlement there.

The Gaza Strip: The Political Economy of De-Development: Sara Roy Juan Cole in Informed Comment praises the third updated edition of Sara Roy’s seminal book assessing the economic and political consequences of Israeli assaults against Gaza since 2008.

More Than Half the World’s Refugees Live in Urban Areas. Here’s What that Means for Cities. Still many national governments have been slow to see the worth in integrating into the economic and social fabric of their cities.

The Forgotten Story of European Refugee Camps in the Middle East  The Washington Post explores a forgotten refugee crisis–the flight of European refugees to the Middle East during the Second World War.


The Arab City Given the tensions that can arise between constructed image and lived reality, can architecture ever really exist beyond context or content, beyond place or program?

Revue de presse-Ville, mai 2016 [in French] CEDEJ carries out a press review of stories related to cities in Egypt.

Video: The Truth about Tehran Artist Nazgol Ansarinia reflects on the Tehran Bureau of Beautification's murals of old village life and the rapid urbanization of the city.

Les listes indépendantes dans un chantier d’autocritique [in French] Ornella Antar reports for L’Orient-Le Jour on a roundtable gathering of six civic lists during the recent Lebanese municipal elections.

Doha slavery museum confronts past to help Qataris shape future  "In the old house, ... the larger history of slavery in the Indian Ocean world that brought, by some estimates, hundreds of thousands of enslaved people to the Arabian Gulf is being explored for the first time in a museum confronting the past and, its curators hope, helping Qataris shape their future."

Recently on Jadaliyya

Zaatari Refugee Camp: A Makeshift City Kamel Doraï discusses the spatial dynamics of this camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan. The article is accompanied by a slideshow.

Conference Report: The Nexus of Urbanization, Violence and Conflict The report of this conference, which took place at CUNY in April 2016, is available to download, along with the conference's recommendations.

Critical Readings in Political Economy: Deserts, Soils, and Colonialism Max Ajl reviews three new books covering similar topics: Fazal Sheikh and Eyal Weizman's The Conflict Shoreline, Diana Davis' The Arid Lands, and Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro's Ecology, Soils, and the Left.


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