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Cities Media Roundup (July 2016)

[Image from the dossier of the Campaign to Protect the Bird's Nest Historic Site in Byblos] [Image from the dossier of the Campaign to Protect the Bird's Nest Historic Site in Byblos]

[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 Inequality

قرصنة الرملة البيضاء: بيع الملك العام لزيادة ثروة الحريري [in Arabic] Al Akhbar reports on the real-estate deals that transformed the commons of the public beach of Ramlet el Beyda in Beirut into private property since the 1930s. 

«بارونات» الإنماء والإعمار [in Arabic] Al-Akhbar reports on the ten companies that divide up the infrastructure and project contracts as decided by the Lebanese Council for Development and Reconstruction’s board.

New Battle in One of the World’s Oldest Cities With the unregulated real-estate boom in Lebanon, local archaeologists are hamstrung by budget constraints and property laws.

New discoveries in Byblos (Lebanon) amid resort development A shorter article on the same story from Beirut Report, containing a map of the site in question. For more on the endangered site, see this report.

Beirut’s bus system might actually work Beirut’s buses come in many shapes, colors and sizes. They may seem disorganized, and their routes unpredictable from the outside. However, the system is remarkably self-sustainable, even though it is almost entirely unregulated.

World Bank Group Launches Partnership Framework to Scale up Services and Expand Economic Opportunities in Lebanon The World Bank Group (WBG) has rolled out a new six-year program for its engagement in Lebanon. The strategy broadly aims to recalibrate confidence of citizens in the state that has been deeply shaken by political instability, inadequate public services, shrinking economic opportunities and fallouts of the conflict in Syria.  

10 Nabrawy Street, in danger again, points to web of interests behind demolitions In the newest installment of a story previously covered in the monthly roundup, Mada Masr brings its readers up to date on the ongoing battle to forestall the demolition of this residential building.

Energy and the Environment

أزمة النفايات في لبنان: من احتجاجات إلى حركة شعبية إلى انتخابات بلدية [in Arabic] Tadamun analyzes the garbage crisis in Lebanon and its leading up to independent municipal election lists.

Iraqi marshlands named as Unesco world heritage site The area in southern Iraq, which Saddam Hussein once attempted to drain, has been added to the global list of important sites.

"The best solution? Move the Mauritanian capital:" water on the rise in Nouakchott The Guardian reports on Mauritania's preparations for the Arab League summit which took place at the end of July, and the related effects of climate change on the nation's capital.

Is it safe to drink the tap war in Cairo? Mada Masr reviews the state of the Egyptian capital's water infrastructure.

Egypt's latest concession to Ethiopia amid construction of controversial dam Mada Masr reviews the current situation surrounding the Nile Renaissance Dam, including the water shortage in Egypt and the involvement of Israel as a "partner nation" for similar projects across Africa.

Conflict in Cities

Syrians face violence and suspicion in Lebanon after bombings The bombing of al-Qaa has worsened an already terrible situation for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, with an increasing number of municipalities instituting curfews and many Lebanese turning to private arms.

New Report: Iraq from the Ground: Two Years after the Fall of Mosul This report comprises expert analyses and maps produced by Noria’s cartography department. The dossier’s aim is to comprehend the strategies of the different Iraqi political organizations. Its main objective is to go beyond the prism of a purely sectarian reading of the conflict to better understand both its impact on the civilian population and the social developments which it has caused.

The future of Gaza: from city under siege to world tourism hub? The Guardian interviews Basil Eleiwa on his plans for transforming Gaza into the Middle East's new attraction.

Falluja after Isis: a city of ghosts and graffiti Martin Chulov in The Guardian reviews the situation in Falluja after the Islamic State's withdrawal from the city, and considers the possibilities for revival.

Sinai tells its own story Mada Masr covers the development of new narratives by Sinai residents to counter the fact that most information about the province comes from the military.


New Report: Crisis & Control, (In)Formal Hybrid Security in Lebanon This report aims to analyze how formal and informal security providers implement their respective social order agendas through a security “assemblage.” It also aims to inform the debate on refugee protection and security provision in urban settings, in the context of Lebanon’s hybrid security system. The accounts collected illustrate how state security institutions tacitly accept– or even rely on–informal security actors, managing at times to achieve their political and strategic goals through decentralized and/or illegal forms of control. In this vein, local municipalities imposed curfews and street patrols, which, far from being an institutional measure, follow a flexible and unpredictable pattern.

Revue de presse-Ville, Juin/Juillet 2016 [in French] The monthly review published by Egypt's Centre d'Études et de Documentation Économiques, Juridiques et sociales.

New Website: Syria Untold Through the use of innovative forms of storytelling mixing research-based written content, infographics and documentary videos, the project’s objective is to fill this gap by documenting a comprehensive, chronological account of the events as they happened, in all their complexity and diversity, in the six cities, with a focus on civil movements and creative disobedience.

CFP: The ACSS Third Conference The Arab Council for the Social Sciences is pleased to announce its third conference, titled "State, Sovereignty and Social Space in the Arab Region: Emerging Historical and Theoretical Approaches" to be held in Beirut, Lebanon on 10-12 March 2017. Deadline is 6 September. 

New Article: “Rural transformation, landscape, and conflict in a village of South Lebanon, Sinay" [in French] Cynthia Gharios, Saker El Nour, Martha Mundy et Rami Zurayk present a landscape study of the village of Sinay in South Lebanon, and analyse the role of local conflicts in the transformations we observe. They used mixed methodology (ethnography and cartography) to demonstrate the links between landscape transformations, social, political, and economic changes.

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