[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 firstname.lastname@example.org, mentioning "Roundup" in the subject line. We also welcome your submissions to the Cities Page: please check details on cities.jadaliyya.com]
War and Cities
Gaza’s War Rubble
Omniyah Abu al-Khair reports to Al-Akhbar about the hundreds of thousands of tons worth of rubble in Gaza, and the environmental and health hazards they pose.
Forensic Architecture and Gaza
Eyal Weizman talks to The Guardian about how forensic architecture’s tools can provide useful clues about war crimes and violence against people, and how settlements can become Palestinian public institutions.
Significant Damage to World Heritage Sites in Syria
Five of the six World Heritage sites in Syria exhibit “significant damage," and some structures have been "reduced to rubble," according to new high-resolution satellite image analysis by the nonprofit, nonpartisan American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Misrata Gains Power with the Power of Militias
Marylin Dumas and Mathieu Galtier report to Orient on the militias taking over power in Libya, and making Misratat the new capital of the country, building on their old-established commercial networks during Kadhafi’s reign.
Urbanization’s Socio-Economic Impacts
Evictions and the Suez Canal Project
The Guardian reports on the unfair evictions of Egyptians for the Suez Canal project.
Whose City? Evictions of Street Vendors in Cairo
Mada Masr reports on the street vendors’ evictions to Turgoman, an abandoned parking complex fifteen minutes away from the Ramses train station, and the dire impacts on the city in terms of social exclusion and further gentrification.
Working Children in Fez, Morocco
A blog entry by Eileen Byrne addresses child labor in the crafts industries in Fez, Morocco. The essay is accompanied by images showing life for children in these workplaces.
Energy and Environment Issues
Overemphasis of Environmental Risks in Southern Tunisia
Tunisian geographer Habib Ayeb criticizes the overemphasis by middle class on urban environmental risks, at the expense of less visible but sometimes more dramatic ones, like environmental pollution and water depletion in the Gabes oasis, in Southern Tunisia.
Pollution in Tunisia Confronts Democratic Politics
In an article for Open Democracy, human rights activist Eric Goldstein exposes the case of farmers and citizens lobbying against the environmental pollution in Gabes, Tunisia which has been the result of years long disdain for the environment under Bourguiba and Ben Ali regimes.
Gas Exploration in Tunisia
In this op-ed for Leaders, Mohamed Larbi Bouguerra discuss the Tunisian government’s exploration for shale gas in the country. Referring to a number of international studies, he underscores how the shortage of water in the country is a major hurdle regarding future exploitation. He also warns about potential conflicts between inhabitants, farmers and industrials.
On Public Space
Privatizing Beirut’s Public Beach
Mohamad Wehbe reports for Al-Akhbar on the forthcoming privatization of the public beach of Ramlet el-Beida in Beirut, in the light of the take-over of most of the capital’s cost by private real-estate developments.
Horch Beirut to Re-Open in 2015 says Beirut Municipality
An-Nahar reports on the roadmap of the municipality of Beirut to re-open Horch Beirut to the public in 2015.
Differential Policing Beirut
In this blog entry, Habib Battah reports on how the Lebanese police selectively selects who to police depending on its perception of their political networks.
Cleaning the Streets in Cairo
Al-Yawm al-Sabeh reports with a photo-essay on a youth-led campaign aiming to clean the streets of al-Wadi al-Gadeed in Cairo.
Urban Development and Real Estate
New Dubai Mega-Project: Parks and Resorts
Dubai Chronicle reports on the plans for Dubai Parks and Resorts, a 2.7 billion dollar amusement complex expected to double the number of annual visitors to Dubai by 2020.
Dubai Mega-Projects: More Grounded?
Against the backdrop of several newly announced mega-projects in the city, Deepak Jain argues in Gulf News that Dubai developers have adopted a more grounded approach since the financial crisis, shedding their former “design-led” approach.
Urban and Regional Policies
Alternative Service Provision in Lebanon
Samar Kadi reports on how Lebanese municipalities and private entrepreneurs are partnering to solve electricity shortage in their towns, thus providing valid alternatives to public service provision.
Tunisia Rural Areas Hope for Decentralization
This essay by Anne Wolf for Al-Jazeera addresses how people in rural areas in Tunisia have high hopes for potential decentralization plans.
New Decentralization Program in Egypt [in Arabic]
Al-Yawm al-Sabeh reports on the plans for a new administrative division of regions in Egypt that promotes efficient decentralization of services and better economic development.
Solving Traffic Problems in Greater Cairo [in Arabic]
Al-Yawm al-Sabeh reports on the urban policy developed to solve traffic congestion in Cairo, which includes public transit.
Urban Refugees and Informality
The Business of Illegal Building in Alexandria [in Arabic]
Mohammad ‘Abd El ‘Aal reports for Al Masr El Yawm on the thriving business of illegal construction in Alexandria. The report includes eight numbers that describe illegal building in Alexandria
Why Egyptian Public Policies to Deal with Informality Failed
The NGO Tadamun makes an in-depth analysis of the failure of the Egyptian public policies towards informal settlements, contrasting them with more successful international cases. The article promotes more participatory urban policies.
Camps and Home
The New York Times reflects on how Palestinian refugees in Fawwar (near Hebron) contributed to designing and building a public square in the refugee camp. The Funambulist responds with a compelling commentary.
Syrian Refugees on Returning Home
Geographer Mathew Stevens reports on his interviews in Irbid that reveal how a number of Syrians refugees want to return home, despite the political risks and the continuing stalemate between the regime and Da`esh.
Art and Music in Baghdad
Alice Fordham from NPR tells stories of art and music in Baghdad, text and sound.
Earliest Sketch of Abu Dhabi
Nick Leech reports to The National on the unexpected discovery of a 155-year old sketch of Abu Dhabi in the archives of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, giving urban historians new insights into the city’s earliest development.
Report: Lessons for Poor Cities, from New York
Edward Glaeser reports to City on three key elements local governments of poor cities should focus on: clean water access, reducing crime and corruption, and securing affordable housing.
Book: Zaatari Camp as the Instant City
The Affordable Housing Institute (AHI) publishes a book available for free download documenting the Zaatari Syrian refugees camp in Jordan, entitled The Instant City.
Book: Housing Market and Policy Design in the Gulf
The Affordable Housing Institute (AHI) and the Gulf Research Council publish an edited volume available for free download analyzing the housing market in Gulf Cities.
Book Review: Carbon Democracy [in French]
Jean-Baptiste Fressoz reviews Tim Mitchell`s book Carbon Democracy, which was recently released in France, pointing to the novelty of his material reading of oil history and its relevance to understanding the social struggles of the last century in the Middle East.
Book Review: La Banlieue du “20 heures” [in French]
Julie Sedel reviews Jérôme Bertaud`s book La Banlieue du “20 heures" which deconstructs journalists` cliché representations of French banlieues as ethnic and violent clusters.
Book Review: Les Druzes de Syrie. Territoires et Mobilités [in French]
Isabelle Rivoal reviews Cyril Roussel`s book on Syrian Druzes and their mobility, discussing the geographical paradox of a community strongly anchored in the Jabal but splintered through Syria, the Middle East and the world.
Book Review: Syria and Bilad al-Sham under Ottoman Rule [in French]
Catherine Mayeur-Jaouen reviews this book by Sluggett and Weber honoring the great Syrian historian Abdul Karim Rafeq, assessing the recent trends and new challenges of historiography in Syria especially concerning cities and urban-rural relationships under Ottoman rule
Book Review: Spoils of Truce. Corruption and State-Building in Post-War Lebanon [in French]
Élizabeth Picard reviews Leenders’ book and considers it the best book on Lebanon after the civil war, in its analysis of its reconstruction policies and the role of corruption in the transformation of the country.
Conference Announcement: “Public, Shared and Borrowed Spaces of Syrian Migrants in Palestinians Refugee Camps,” October 8-15, 2014 (Beirut, Mount Lebanon, Bekaa)
A conference organized by the CIMORE network which will present research results of researchers who worked on the conditions of Syrian migrants in Palestinian camps in Lebanon.
Recently on Jadaliyya
Excavating the Sky
Jadaliyya features Khaled Malas` introduction to Excavating the Sky booklet on the production of landscape in Syria, documenting the exhibition he produced for the 14th Venice Biennale.
Understanding Modernity: A Review of the Kuwait Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Farah Al-Nakib, Cities Page co-Editor, reviews the Kuwait pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale and discusses the various discourses regarding Kuwait’s complex relationship to urban modernity.
New Texts Out Now: Myriam Ababsa, Atlas of Jordan: History, Territories, and Society
Myriam Ababsa reports on her new book and provides excerpts of it.
Djerba, Tunisia: Garbage Disposal, the Environmental Crisis, and the Awakening of Ecoconsciousness
Rania Said reports on the strikes, activism and the fight of the people in Djerba to safeguard the environment against pollution.