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Cities Media Roundup (November 2016)

[Heads of state gathered at COP22 in Marrakesh. Image from Wikimedia] [Heads of state gathered at COP22 in Marrakesh. 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] 

Environmental Issues

Une expérience innovante en marge des opérations de logements « standards »: Le Ksar de Tafilelt, une nouvelle fois récompensé [in French] Keira Bachar discusses on her blog the recent award of a national architecture prize for an ecological project to restructure the Ksar of Tafilelt in Algeria.

Egypt’s First Solar-Powered Village Rises from the Desert in Bahariya Oasis Lacy Cooke reports about a project aiming at building an eco-village powered by solar power in Egypt.

Enormity of the Waste Crisis Effect on Public Health in Lebanon The mismanagement of the waste problem and the burning of waste have resulted in effects and consequences on the health of workers in areas where waste dumps prevailed, with at least a four hundred percent increase of severe health symptoms, compared to workers who were not exposed to waste dumps.

Africa’s Biggest Windfarm Sparks Controversy in the Desert The renewable energy project is also controversial with some Sahrawi–the people who live in the west of the Sahara desert–who complain that it will deepen what they say is the occupation of their land.

Plastic Waste Management in UAE Journalist Pratima Pandey tells the story of the huge effort for collecting, sorting, and treating increasing amounts of plastic waste in the UAE.

Q&A with Environment Minister Khaled Fahmy The Mada Masr team discusses the issue of energy subsidies with Egyptian Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy in the aftermath of the COP22 Summit in Marrakesh.

Local and Regional Policies

A propos de la prévention et de la protection sur les chantiers [in French] Keira Bachar discusses the condition of workers in the construction sector in Algeria, highlighting the lack of strict rules for safety and the informalization of the sector.

Beirut’s Stolen Coast and the Growing Fight to Get it Back Activists have put together this great new video looking at how Beirut’s natural rocky coastline has basically been stolen from the public, destroyed, and turned into concrete marinas for private resorts. For more on the civil society protests against the private development of the coast in Beirut, see the latest posts of Beirut Madinati Facebook page, and this post on Global Voices.

Breadline Egypt: Millions Face “a Slow Death” due to Growing Poverty Middle East Eye provides an overview of Egypt's economic collapse and the prospects for further unrest as a result. 

War and Cities

Trapped in Homs, Architect Imagines a New Future for Syrian Cities The New York Times discusses the work of Marwa al-Sabouni and her ideas for using the architecture of Syria's reconstruction to promote peace.

Seeing Iraq Beyond the Frontlines Photographers Hawre Khalid and Sebastian Meyer give us a richer and more complex view of a country at war.

La résistance des paysans et des pêcheurs dans Gaza étouffée [in French] In Gaza, under the Israeli blockade and incursions, farmers and fishermen try to survive and to escape economic dependence.

Alep et Mossoul, enjeux de la recomposition du Proche-Orient [in French] Behind their supposedly "anti-terrorist" motivation, the battles being fought over Aleppo and Mosul are struggles against antagonistic forces, each determined to decide the recomposition of the region.

Décrire et re-présenter une urbanité en action: la dite « New jungle » de Calais [in French] The Research Program on Urbanism, Construction and Architecture at the French ministry of Housing and Environment features an insightful series of essays documenting the Calais Jungle before its eradication.


Urban Heritage

Beyond the Din of the Battle: Stories from the Struggle for Port Said Historian Alia Mossallam explains her project aiming to uncover ordinary people’s memories about the 1956 Port Said Battle.

A Dream for Baghdad Hadani Ditmars tells the story of Canadian Architect Arthur Erickson’s Master plan for the historical Abu Nawas District in the 1980s.

The Arab Heart of Mexico City Arab immigrants have become a normal part of everyday life, but in many ways they remain a community apart

Regards d’artistes sur les archives 3: Le roman Algérien par Katia Kameli Collective Blog Fotota, dedicated to Photography in Africa, features an interview with Algerian artist Katia Kameli about her recent documentary on a kiosk in one of Algiers’ most famous street selling collections of old pictures about daily life in Algeria.


Essay: Subtile porosité [in French] Alia Ben Ayed, Noha Gamal and Jean-Paul Thibaut summarize their current research on the blog Zerka about experiencing public space through blind walking in the old city of Nefta, Tunisia.

New Book: Refugee Economies by A. Betts et al. This book adopts an inter-disciplinary approach, based on original qualitative and quantitative data on the economic life of refugees, in order to begin to build theory on the economic lives of refugees. It focuses on the case of Uganda because it represents a relatively positive case.

Video: How Institutional Ambiguity and Deliberate Ignorance Shape Sensitive Spaces” by Nora Stel In contrast to dominant discourses that project Palestinian refugees as illicit and undermining sovereignty, “The Agnotology of Eviction…” explains these tactics as a reaction to, and duplication of, a “politics of uncertainty” implemented by Lebanese authorities

Map: Iraq and Syria Noria Research provides its readers with this informative map of Iraq’s and Syria’s competing actors and fragmented territories.

Web Issue: The Urban Refugee ‘Crisis’ This is the first “Spotlight On” web issue from IJURR focusing on the distinctively urban aspects of the ongoing refugee “crisis” underway in Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Central and Eastern Africa.

Book Review: Si La Mecque nous était contée: « Plus qu’un lieu géographique, un état de conscience » [in French] Mohamed Larbi Bouguerra, writing for Orient XXI, positively reviews Zaiuddin Sardar’s book on the history of Mecca.

Call for Papers: Socio-Spatial Dynamics in Contemporary Iran: Between Political Isolation and Opening up [also in French] EchoGéo is calling for papers for a special edition on Iran. The deadline is 6 June 2017.

Call for Papers: Everyday Alexandria–Social Sciences and Egypt's Second Capital [also in French] Abstract submissions for this special issue of Egypt Monde Arabe should be sent by 1 January 2017.

Interview: Kuwait Transformed, Farah Al-Nakib in conversation with Todd Reisz Ibraaz presents this conversation with Farah al-Nakib, Jadaliyya co-editor, on her recent book, Kuwait Transformed: History of Oil and Urban Life.

Monthly Press Review on Urban Egypt: Ville, November 2016 [in French] The monthly press review published by CEDEJ.

Recently on Jadaliyya

Imider vs. COP22: Understanding Climate Justice from Morocco’s Peripheries With the twenty-second Conference of Parties (COP22) taking place in Marrakesh, Koenraad Bogaert reports on the climate struggles and protests taking place in some of Morocco's marginalised towns.

Report: Tripoli City Profile UN-Habitat has released a report on Tripoli in Lebanon, pinpointing some of the city's vulnerabilities. The report is available to download.

Mapping New Constructions in Beirut (2000-2013) Hayat Gebara, Mona, Khechen, and Bruno Marot plot Beirut's new developments and discuss the patterns and findings which can be drawn from this exercise.

The Space of Revolt: An Investigation into the Urban Geography of the Arab Spring Roman Stadnicki reviews Deen Sharp and Claire Panetta's Beyond the Square: Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings.

Report: Table ronde de lancement de L'Atlas du Liban. Les nouveaux défis [in French] An announcement of the publication by IFPO of an Atlas of Lebanon, in coordination with Eric Verdeil, Ghaleb Faour, and Mouin Hamzé.

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