[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]
USAID and Eco-Cities in the Middle East
David Thorpe reports on the Eco-Cities of the Mediterranean Forum that was held in October 2014 in Jordan, and outlines the three strategic partnerships financed by the USAID on sustainability-related issues to be implemented in Jordan.
Capitalism in the Gulf
Links talks to Adam Hanieh about his latest book Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East, which examines the diverse trajectories of the Arab revolutions since 2011 in Gulf States in the context of neoliberalism.
Access to Affordable Housing Threatened in Lebanon [in Arabic]
Firas Abou-Mosleh reports in Al-Akhbar on the latest legal changes in the new rent law that will open up the market to increased real-estate speculation, gentrification and displacement of middle-classes from main coastal cities in Lebanon.
Financing Housing for Poor Moroccan Cities [in French]
Planner and consultant Olivier Toutaint explains the tools that help financing housing for the poor in Moroccan cities and highlights why they were successful.
Palestinian Companies Expelling Palestinian Bedouins
The Palestinian grassroots anti-apartheid wall campaign exposes the role and involvement of Palestinian companies in Israeli schemes to relocate Palestinian bedouins in new townships.
More Controversies about the Rawabi Project
Al Monitor reports on the polemic project of Rawabi in the West Bank six years after its approval.
Urban Development and Real Estate
Gentrification and Class Struggle in Paris [In French]
In Metropolitics, Anne Clerval and Mathieu Van Crielingen, authors of recent studies about the gentrification processes in Paris and Brussels, answer critics who see gentrification as a positive process of recovering decaying cities. Rejecting a depoliticized and moral understanding of gentrification, Clerval and Van Crielingen emphasize its class struggle nature.
Beirut: A City without Urbanity? [In Arabic]
Al-Akhbar publishes a special issue on Beirut, including this entry by Rajana Hamiyeh based on an extensive interview with Rahif Fayyad which reflects on the urbanization of the city, and its losses on the urbanity level.
Lebanon 2004 Construction Law
Hisham El Ashkar writes for the Civil Society Knowledge Center on the 2004 building law in Lebanon and the process of its formulation. He examines parliamentary debates that helped draft the law, and how it is (re)defining the aesthetics and ethics of Lebanon’s urbanization.
Infrastructure Project Threatens Urban Heritage in Achrafieh (Beirut)
Al-Jazeera examines the heated debates over the planned highway that will cut one of Beirut’s historic neighborhoods.
Building the Grand Theater in Rabat
King Mohamed VI inaugurates the launch of the construction works of the new Grand Theater in Rabat. The design for the theater comes from starchitect Zaha Hadid and the project forms part of the broader Bouregreg urban renewal project.
Mecca: Development or Destruction?
In this opinion article for The New York Times, Ziauddine Sardar traces the urbanization and cultural devastation of Mecca through the development of skyscrapers, luxury malls and hotels around the area that are leading to commercialization and erasure of history.
Local and Regional Policies, and Governance
Autonomous Legislative Authority in Kabylia (Algeria) [in French]
Matouf Tarlacrea reports from Barbacha (Kabylia, Algeria) for Article 11 where an autonomous local parliament has taken over the legislative power and intends to rule a region of 27,000 inhabitants.
The Tax Breaks of the Golf Club of Lebanon
The Daily Star reports on the profitable tax rent arrangements of the Golf Club of Lebanon which is renting large amounts of public land in the southern section of the Beirut, in proximity to dense illegal settlements.
Jerusalem Light Rail Consolidating the City Divided
Ofer Petersburg reports for Ynetnews about the light train of Jerusalem built by the French firm Veolia. Once thought as an instrument of unification of the city, the train faces strong resistance and has become a symbol of the city’s division.
Local Governance in Sayada (Tunisia) [in French]
Journalist Ismael Halissat reports for Orient XXI from the small Tunisian coastal city of Sayada, where the pioneering experience of open local government and open data is being implemented.
War and Cities
ISIS’s Archeological Looting
David Kohn writes for The New Yorker about the looting of archeological sites during recent times of conflict in the Middle East, focusing on ISIS practices.
Mapping ISIS Advances [in French]
Fabrice Balanche reports for Libération on the geographical progression of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, providing visual mapping of their borders, territories, sources of fighters and sources of capital.
Public Transportation in Cairo and the Challenges of Daily Violence [in Arabic]
A report in Al Masryalyoum about the challenges that face bus drivers due to the recent terrorist attacks and the dangers linked to the growing targeting of bus stations and parking lots.
Reinforcing Gaza’s Siege through Reconstruction?
Electronic Intifada reports on the politics of reconstruction in the Gaza Strip, arguing that the UN and the Palestinian Authority are consolidating the Israeli siege on Gaza.
Learning from the Assault on Gaza [in French]
Political scientist Julien Salingue draws the lessons learnt from the assault on Gaza this summer for the French journal Contretemps.
Tanya Goudsouzian explains to Al Jazeera the geopolitical location of Kobane, its emergence as a symbol of Kurdish nationalist aspirations, and its significance in the war on ISIS
On Life in Raqqa
An anonymous inside source describes everyday life in Raqqa, ISIS de-facto capital, for Vanity Fair, with illustrations by Molly Crappable.
The Political Geography of Mobilizations for/against Kurdish Resistance in Istanbul [In French]
Geographer Jean-François Pérouse analyzes the political geography of mobilizations in Istanbul, in favor or against the Kurdish resistance in Kobane.
Public Space Issues
Urban Greening: Ideas from France
Cédric Ansart and Emmanuel Boutefeu explore for Metropolitiques new ways of enhancing city streets through small-scale greening.
Civil Coalition Suing the Lebanese State for Usurping Public Property
Beirut Report tells how the Daliyeh coalition is suing the Lebanese state over its illegal give-away of coastal public property to private real-estate investors to create five new massive resort projects on the last stretch of undeveloped coast in the capital.
Landfill Development in Saida (Lebanon) [In Arabic]
An-Nahar reports on the garbage dump of Saida (Lebanon) and on the plans to transform it into yet another landfill where real-estate developments can thrive. A civil coalition named Mubadarat al-Madina is arguing instead for a more environmental solution. More details about their alternative proposal can be found on their website here.
Urban Refugees and Informality
Beautifying the Skyline of Poor Cairo [In Arabic]
France 24 reports on a campaign led by Jason Stoneking which aims to beautify the roofs of Cairo’s low-income neighborhoods with colored satellite dishes (#CairoDishes).
Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
A report by Gilles Duley for The Guardian on the Syrian refugees’ dire situation in Lebanon.
Story of a Syrian Refugee
Joshua Hersh tells the story for VJQ of the hardships of a Syrian refugee in a camp on the Turkish border, with illustrations by Danijel Žeželj.
Representing the City
Inhumanitarian and Humanitarian Mapping
In his blogpost Geographical Imaginations, geographer Derek Gregory reflects about the misuses of humanitarian geographical technologies by Israeli militants in the assessment of Gaza damages. In this other entry, he examines the Open Street participatory mapping project. The post includes a link to constantly evolving maps of Syria.
Overview of Alexandria’s History
Farah al Akkad writes in Al-Ahram an article about Alexandria’s history and its role as a cultural lighthouse between the East and the West through memories, oral history and the stories of the different neighborhoods of Alexandria.
Sustainable Construction Project Wins Award in Beirut
AUB News reports on the winning entry of AUB Architecture students’ team to the Holcim Awards for sustainable construction. Their project was geared around urban energy recovery and development in the industrial area of Bawchrieh, north of Beirut.
Book Preface: Jérusalem. Bâtir deux villes en une [In French]
Jadaliyya co-editor Eric Verdeil preface of Irène Salenson`s new book on the contested planning of Jerusalem is available on his blog.
Conference Announcement: International Conference of Critical Geography, Ramallah
The aim of the seventh International Conference of Critical Geography (ICCG 2015) is to provide an inclusive venue for the discussion of themes that examine the geographies of critical social theory and progressive political praxis. Deadline for submissions is December 1, 2015.
CFP: Espace Public et Espaces Publics en Méditerrannée [In French]
The French journal EMAM (University of Tours) published its Call for Papers on the theme of public spaces in the Mediterranean.
Essay: On “The Right to The City” in Cities of the South
Geographers Marianne Morange and Amandine Spire critically reflect in Metropolitiques on the notion of the right to the city. Pointing to the changes of context since Lefebvre`s use of the notion, they call for integrating how activists and political elites in cities of the South use this rhetoric.
Essay: Comparative Urban Research
Bahar Sakızlıoglu writes for the LSE research methods lab about her experiences conducting comparative urban research on displacement across Istanbul, Turkey and Amsterdam.
The Cairo Urban Resource Library
CURL is a dedicated library collection available to researchers and scholars, housed at the Cairo Lab for Urban Studies, Training & Environmental Research (CLUSTER). The idea is to create a publicly accessible architecture and urban studies library in a central location.
Urban Guide: Tunis
Eileen Byrne shares in The Guardian her illustrated urban guide to Tunis.
Photo Essay: Congestion in Urban Burial Grounds [In Arabic]
Photo essay in Al Masryalyoum about how different big cities, including Cairo, are dealing with limited space available for the burial of the dead.
Photo-Essay: Cairo from the Top [In Arabic]
Photo essay on Cairo in Al Yawm El Sabe` with photos taken from the highest tower in Cairo.
Photo Essay: Development Projects in Cairo’s Religious Sites [In Arabic]
A photo essay in Al Yawm Al Sabe’ about the recent attempts to develop two areas in Cairo known for their significant religious sites.
Report: Reconstructing Gaza
The Brookings Institute in Doha releases a report by Sultan Barakat and Omar Shaban pressing the international community for the establishment of a collaborative council to manage the reconstruction process in Gaza.
Video: Taxi Driving as a Female in Egypt [In Arabic]
In a video by Shourouk, Nour talks about her experience as a taxi driver in the streets of Egypt and the relationship between her and the people she drives.
Video: The Architecture of Violence
As part of the Al Jazeera series on Rebel Architecture, Eyal Weizman explains architecture`s key role in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the evolution of urban warfare.
Video: Casablanca by Night
Hamza Benkirane films Casablanca by night, via Mashallanews.
Video: Palestinian Political Economy under Occupation
The Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy has released the videos of its 20th annual conference.
Recently on Jadaliyya
الحق في المدينة، في الأرض، وفي البحر
Samah Hassine investigates the right to the city and the sea over time in Bahrain.
البحر الذي تواطأ مع الغزّاة: منمنمات من ساحل المتوسط / فلسطين المحتلة
Haneen Naamnih explores the historical relationship between people, the coast and colonizers in Haifa (Occupied Palestine).
مقدمة" البحر من هنا
The Dictaphone Group introduces the collection of articles previously published in ArteEast in English and reposted in Jadaliyya in Arabic, arguing in favor of a freely accessible sea for all.
هذا البحر لي
The Dictaphone Group argues for the right of the people to reclaim the sea in Beirut through a performance on the seashore of Beirut entitled “The Sea is Mine.”
Khaled Malas presents his “Excavating the Sky” project on the production of landscape in Syria, documenting the exhibition he produced for the 14th Venice Biennale.
Debt and Obligation in Contemporary Ramallah
Christopher Harker writes on the prevalence of debt in Ramallah and how it impacts social relationships in in the city.
From Home to Real Estate: Urban Redevelopment on the Axis of Speculation in Istanbul
Duygu Parmaksizoglu follows conversations between developers and residents of Fikirtepe, a gecekondu of Istanbul, and the promises of wealth through a redevelopment project that was halted.
New Texts Out Now: Reem Charif, Mohamad Hafeda, and Joumana al Jabri, Creative Refuge
Reem Charif, Mohamad Hafeda and Joumana al Jabri of Febrik discuss their new book Creative Refuge, and its relationship with their work.
Le projet de ville nouvelle Bio-Istanbul: Un urbanisme speculative, ségrégatif et durable
Elvan Arik analyse le projet de ville nouvelle Bio-Istanbul qui vise à construire de nouveaux quartiers pour les classes aisées et les categories professionnelles dans le domaine de la santé, selon des principes de développement durable dans une zone écologique.