Follow Us

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

Cities Media Roundup (August 2016)

[A USS navy missile cruiser in the Suez Canal, 1992. Image from Wikimedia Commons] [A USS navy missile cruiser in the Suez Canal, 1992. Image from 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

Improving Livelihoods in Eastern Sudan The Sustainable Livelihoods for Displaced and Vulnerable Communities in Eastern Sudan Project (SLDP) provided livelihood opportunities to hundreds of households in some of the poorest Internally Displaced People (IDP) and host communities in eastern Sudan.

Dans le Chouf, le "grignotage démographique" chiite inquiète chrétiens et druzes [in French] Journalist Fady Noun reports for L’Orient-Le Jour on the recent decision of a majority Christian Chouf municipality to halt the revision of the master plan that would have opened the area for the development of buildings to be bought by Shiites. The story highlights the sectarian tensions in the South of Beirut’s metropolitan area.

Despite Coptic Leaders' Approval, Draft Church Construction Law Faces Criticism The revised law on the construction of churches, long requested by the Coptic Pope, has been criticized for potentially making the process more difficult.

Urban Mobility: More than Just Building Roads (Tadamun) As cities continue to grow, planners are facing the challenge of designing urban mobility systems that are sustainable on social, economic, institutional and ecological levels. To achieve this, there are growing calls from planners for a paradigm shift in transportation planning: to move away from the transport bias, which equates mobility to transportation, and to put more focus on people’s accessibility needs. 

Urban Heritage

Lost cities #1: Bablyon–How War Almost Erased Mankind's Greatest Heritage Site The Guardian traces the history of the site of Babylon through its originsUrban Mobility: More than Just Building Roads Ta to the restorations of the Ba'thist era.

Gentrification Glitter Fades into Dust in Instanbul’s Heart Istanbul’s most famous avenue falling into urban decay is a sign of economic hardship awaiting Turkey in the near future.

Supporting Lebanon’s Cultural Heritage as a Driver of Job Creation and Local Economic Development The Cultural Heritage and Urban Development project is helping preserve the heritage of 5 historic cities in Lebanon through renewing infrastructure, opening ways to creative business opportunities and helping grow the economy.

Video: Urban Heritage in Beirut [Arabic] BBC Arabic discusses the urban heritage of Beirut, its loss and neglect, and how creative solutions can still preserve what is left of it. The video features heritage activists Hana Alamuddin and Abdul-Halim Jabr.


Infrastructure and the Environment

One Year On: Where Does the "New Suez Canal" Stand? Mada Masr discusses the disappointing returns produced by the new canal in the context of the greater economic downturn, as well as governmental efforts to disguise this fact.

Why are Beaches Disappearing in Morocco? Matthew Greene reports for Middle East Eye on the disappearance of sand from Morocco's beaches for use in construction. The widespread practices of "sand mining" has ravaged the country's coastal ecosystems.

Violente diatribe de S. Gemayel contre "La catastrophe écologique et sanitaire » de Bourj Hammoud [in French]L’Orient-Le Jour reports on a new episode in the protests led by Kataeb leader Samy Gamayel over the dumping of garbage in Beirut, after the government authorized the reopening of the dumpsite in Borj Hammoud.

Conflict in Cities

The Birth of Agro-Resistance in Palestine For decades Israel has been driving Palestinian farmers off their land by imposing restrictions on agriculture. But one company, Canaan Fair Trade, has found an innovative way to resist.

Google Maps, Palestine, and How Technology Shapes What We Know Sarah Moawad, writing for Muftah, uses the controversy over Google Maps' failure to adequately label Palestine as a jumping-off point for a discussion on the (non-)neutrality of technology.

Life and Death in Palestine The Guardian's long read on the effects of Israeli militarization and occupation on the town of Hebron.

The Siege Sector: Why Starving Civilians Is Big Business Syria Deeply talks to Will Todman, a researcher at Georgetown University, about the country's war economy and how some groups benefit from the siege of Aleppo.

Governing the Most Dangerous City in Syria Syria Deeply looks into the network of different councils, groups, and parties running the city of Aleppo.

Uncovering the Realities of Refugeeness among Syrian Women in Amman Alia Fakhry, writing for Your Middle East, critiques the narrative of helplessness which is ascribed to both refugees and Middle Eastern women, using examples of refugee life in Amman.

Gender Roles for Syrian Refugees are Changing in Jordan's Camps Middle East Eye explores how the situation in refugee camps and the paid labour provided by NGOs are shifting gender norms and roles among Syrians in Jordan's Azraq camp.

Jordan Experiment Spurs Jobs for Refugees Policy experts are hoping that a small patch of desert in Jordan can provide global answers to the refugee crisis by giving displaced Syrians the right to work.

The Desperation of Oromo Refugees in Cairo Pesha Magid for Mada Masr reports on the dire situation Oromo refugees are facing in Cairo.


On the Life of the Late Robert Mabro (1934-2016) Mada Masr republishes this portrait written twenty years ago by anthropologist Reem Saad. Beyond his role as an oil economist and founder of the Oxford Institute for Energy studies, the article highlights his complex relationship to his mother city of Alexandria, which he preferred to label Egyptian rather than cosmopolitan, despite the multiple nationalities he and his family held.

Video: What is Behind the New Migrations: A Massive Loss of Habitat (Saskia Sassen)
The language of “migrants” and “refugees” is insufficient to cover a new type of migration. They are being expelled from their land and homes by major corporations grabbing land to develop plantations, the sharp expansion in mining due to the demands of the electronic revolution, climate change, the explosion in the building of new, often private, “cities” and office parks.

New Report: The Right to Housing in Kuwait: An Urban Injustice in a Socially Just System This work by Sharifa AlShalfan examines the extent to which land-use policies and social housing laws have contributed to the demise of the urbanization process of a city. It is set in the context of Kuwait–a city-state that has undergone a short but rapid urbanization history that only started in the 1950’s after the discovery of oil.

New Report: Setting the Aperture Wider: Security Pluralism in Tunis, Nairobi and Beirut In the contexts of security pluralism, an array of actors assert claims on the use of force, operating simultaneously and with varying relationships to the state. This new understanding is applied to poly, offering innovative and empirically attuned considerations for security assistance and reform.

New Website: Saudi Housing Strategy Information about the new Saudi Housing Strategy can be found on this link.

New Paper: Thinking Beyond “Crisis:” Population Displacement and State Building in the Middle East This essay by Giulia ElDardary series explores the human costs and policy challenges associated with the displacement crises in the Mediterranean and Andaman Seas. What myths or misconceptions have pervaded discussions and/or responses to these emergencies? And how have such misunderstandings impeded or distorted the response to them?

CFP: IJMES Special Issue: The Environment in the Middle East and North Africa  Reflecting growing interest in the environment as a topic of concern, this special issue of IJMES will bring together scholarship from anthropology, geography, sociology, Science and Technology Studies (STS), and related disciplines on current environment-related themes in the region. Authors need to indicate in their cover letter that their submission is intended for the special issue. All special issue articles must be accepted individually through the IJMES peer review process. Deadline for paper submission: 15 November 2016.

Recently on Jadaliyya

Neo-Ottoman Architecture and the Transnational Mosque: An Interview with Kishwar Rizvi In the inaugural episode of Ottoman History Podcast Season 6, we sat down with Professor Rizvi to explore this phenomenon and her new book The Transnational Mosque (UNC Press, 2015), which "aims to analyze the role of mosques in the construction of Muslim identity through the lens of their political, religious, and architectural history." 

The Dubai Social Contract Marine Chevallereau and Jonathan Pichot discuss the society offered to non-Emiratis working in Dubai and the role this plays in establishing the government's legitimacy.

In the Eye of the Storm: Geopolitics and the Safe City Alina Bekka and Raphaël Gernath explore the role played by the concept of the "smart city" or the "intelligent city" in supporting urban securitization in Abu Dhabi.

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