[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]
Urban and Real Estate Development
Public Land for Sale in Lebanon [In Arabic]
Firas Abou-Mosleh reports in Al Akhabr on the corruption in the real-estate office and land registry of the Lebanese ministry of Finance, and how a large number of public land was sold over the last decade to private buyers.
A Future Seaside Park in Saida (Lebanon)?
Middle East Eye reports on the transformation of Saida’s garbage dump into the site of a future seaside park.
Regulating the Real-Estate Market in Lebanon
Matt Nash from Executive interviews the general manager of Jamil Ibrahim Est. (a major real-estate development firm in Beirut) about the lack of regulations guiding the real-estate market in Lebanon and the need for accurate statistics.
More Saudi Investments in Casablanca [in French]
Challenge reports on the plans of the Saudi Binladen Group to built the highest skyscraper in Africa and Europe in Casablanca. Saudi Binladen is already building a new 250ha city in Bouskoura.
New Infrastructure Projects in Casablanca
Morocco World News reports on Casablanca’s super-sewer and new bypass projects, designed to prevent flooding and improve traffic conditions in the city.
Local and Regional Policies and Governance
Housing Policies in Egypt [in Arabic]
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) reports on its work with the Egyptian ministry of Housing who seeks to learn from past housing policies and to elaborate on a new affordable housing policy.
The New Rent Law Mess in Lebanon [in Arabic]
Al-Akhbar’s Hadeel Farfour discusses the policy ambiguities inherent to the new rent law text and the unwillingness of the Lebanese Parliament to clarify its controversial articles, or postpone its upcoming implementation date.
Overview of the Rent Law in Lebanon [in Arabic]
Adnan Hamdan chronicles in Assafir the different policy changes that the rent control law underwent in Lebanon since 1940 and the contestations around it.
Electric Provision in Zahleh (Lebanon)
The Daily Star reports on how electricity generator private companies in Zahleh have rejected the plan by the Electricity de Zahle (EDZ) private institution, which intends to provide 24h of electricity per day to the city, as it threatens their interests.
Waste Management Policies in Lebanon
In this article in Al Akhbar, Bassam Kantar reports on the new scheme for waste collection and treatment in Lebanon, pointing at its sectarian and business interests. The article also discusses the critical stance of the Lebanese ecological movement concerning the technical and political shortcomings of this plan, namely in terms of the freedom it gives private firms in choosing inadequate environmental solutions.
GCC States and Affordable Housing Challenges
Times of Oman reports on the increasing and urgent demand for affordable housing in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.
Urban Change and Cities
Shopping in Najaf (Iraq)
NPR’s Alice Fordham reports on the newly opened Najaf City Mall in the holy city of Najaf (audio and text).
Istanbul’s “Urban Transformation”
Noria Research features text and visuals on the “urban transformation” of Istanbul that has been characterized by the replacement of hundreds of thousands of residential buildings to meet earthquake regulations, and simultaneously an increase in real estate values in the metropolis.
New Archeological Findings in Baalbek (Lebanon)
Elif Batuman in The New Yorker discusses the new archaeological findings in Baalbek, the site of one of the most important Roman ruins.
A Collective Space to Debate the City in Beirut
Thanassis Cambanis reports for Boston Globe about The Mansion in Beirut—an old house in Zoqaq al-Blatt that incorporates a diversity of initiatives on and about the city—and its founder, architect Ghassan Maasri.
Urban Profile: Khartoum [in French]
A. Franck and C. Iverné discuss the urban changes in Khartoum for La vie des idées, focusing on new urban projects along the Nile, Dubai’s urban influences, rebuilding downtown and real-estate speculation in the suburbs—and how these urban changes are increasing inequalities in the city.
War, Conflict and Cities
Video: Bahrain: An Inconvenient Uprising
VICE News revisits the ongoing struggle in Bahrain in conversation with activists, protestors, grieving parents, and alleged torture victims.
Destruction in Aleppo (Syria) [in Arabic]
Al-Modon features a short report on everyday life in the destroyed old city of Aleppo.
Endangered Archeological Heritage in Syria [in French]
Le Journal du CNRS reports on the necessity to protect archeological information recorded on exceptional sites in Syria such as the Limestone Massif in the north.
Eyal Weizman on Power and Architecture
Amelia Smith interviews Eyal Weizman for The Middle East Monitor on architecture and power, occupation and settlements.
Urban Refugees and Informality
Slum Dwellers Struggle during Winter in Cairo [in Arabic]
Al Masr el Youm reports on the struggles of the poor inhabitants of slums and the difficulties they face during winter.
Cairo’s Building Collapse [in Arabic]
Al Masr el Youm reports on a building that collapsed in Cairo, killing eighteen people.
The Everyday in a Palestinian Camp in Jordan
Luigi Achilli discusses in Allegra the everyday life in the Palestinian refugee camp of al-Wihdat and the absence of political participation in the context of a region in turmoil.
Blaming the Victims in Lebanon
Eva Shoufi reports in Al Akhbar on how the Lebanese ruling class blames Syrian refugees for social and infrastructural problems that are the result of corrupt urban, social and economic policies.
Municipal Policies Against the Poor in Lebanon
Maya El Helou reports for Legal Agenda on how a number of municipalities in Lebanon are imposing curfews on Syrian refugees and other low-income foreigners.
Urban Policies in Morocco Against Slum Dwellers [in French]
Soraya el Kahlaoui reports for Orient XXI on the expulsion of slum dwellers in Morocco in the name of sustainable development.
The World Food Programme and Syrian Refugee Camps
Dexter Filkins reports in The New Yorker on the dire challenges facing refugee camps housing Syrian families this winter, now that the World Food Programme is suspending its aid.
The Lived Experience of Displaced Syrians in Jordan
Matt Stevens explains for Syria Comment how the Jordanian government is strictly restricting Syrian refugees from accessing services and support from the UNHCR and other agencies. Many refugees prefer to stay in cities instead of living in camps where living conditions are very bad.
Amman Wins Resilience
Jordan Times reports on Amman becoming a member of one hundred resilient cities, which was pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation to form a growing network of urban centers around the world, ready to respond to the social, economic and physical shocks and stresses that are a growing part of the 21st century.
Best Guardian’s Cities Books of 2014
The Guardian provides its list of the ten best cities books for 2014.
New Article: Cultural Heritage and Urban Development in Jbeil, Saïda, Sour in Lebanon [in French]
Moussi examines in Revue des Mondes Musulmans et de la Méditerranée the diverging discourses and preservation policies in the Lebanese historical cities of Jbeil, Saida and Sour, focusing on the World Bank’s Cultural Heritage and Urban Development project.
New Article: Urban Renwal in Annaba (Algeria) [in French]
B. Kebir and A. Zeghiche study in Revue Européenne de Géographie the dilapidated old buildings in Annaba (Algeria) and the emergence of new urban renewal policies, involving private initiatives taking over public poicies.
New Article: Beirut’s Urban Rhythms in the Night [in French]
M. Bonte and L. Le Douarin examine in Revue Des Mondes Musulmans et de la Méditerranée the urban rhythms of night life in Beirut, focusing on the transition time between day and time, materialized through the practice of walking. Their study reveals how the city is divided.
Website: Refugee Republic
This is a fascinating interactive transmedia documentary about everyday life in Domiz Syrian refugee camp in northern Iraq by artist Jan Rothuizen, journalist Martijn van Tol and photographer Dirk Jan Visser.
Photo Essay: Gaza
Kyrre Lien authors a photo essay for Roads & Kingdoms on Gaza three months after the end of the ceasefire, featuring family portraits among the ruins of Shejaiya.
Photo Essay: Graffiti in Beirut
Executive features a photo-essay by G. Demarque and T. Schellen on art works in the public spaces of Beirut.
Photo Essay: Beautifying Tahrir Square [in Arabic]
A photo essay in Al Youm El Sabe’ about the beautification of Tahrir:
Photo-Essay: Coloring Cairo
A photo essay about the beautification efforts of a group called “We Will Color It” that color neighborhoods in Cairo.
Video: Tim Mitchell on The Arab City
A video that showcases the keynote talk of Timothy Mitchell at Columbia’s GSAPP conference on Architecture and Representation.
Video: Saving the Egg in Beirut
A documentary about the modernist egg-shaped building in downtown Beirut by Aimee Merheb.
Recently on Jadaliyya
Cairo Past Futures
Mohamed Elshahed presents a photo-essay critiquing the contemporary urban conditions of Cairo through juxtaposition with the overly optimistic headlines from a previous era of revolution.
New Texts Out Now: Jean-Claude David et Thierry Boissiere, Alep et ses territoires. Fabrique et politique d’une ville (1868-2011)
Jadaiyya Cities interviews Jean-Claude David and Thierry Boissière on their new publication Alep et ses territoires. Fabrique et politique d’une ville (1868-2011).
Open Letter to Mr. Rem Koolhaas
An open letter by The Civil Campaign to Preserve the Dalieh of Beirut to the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) which has been commissioned to design a project the Dalieh of Rawcheh—a prime sea-front location in Beirut, urging its principal Mr. Rem Koolhas to withdraw from the project given the site’s invaluable multiple assets.
Explaining the Bahraini Regime`s Land Reclamation Strategy (Video)
This Financial Times video report reveals the Bahraini regime’s massive land reclamation projects for luxury developments, which solely benefits the ruling elites and takes place at the expense of affordable housing, and as such, has exacerbated anti-regime opposition since 2011.
Lebanon: Rejecting the New Rent Law: An Open Letter to the Parliament
The text of the open letter a group of activists wrote against the new rent law. The letter is also published in Arabic here.
Syrian Refugees in Lebanon: Racism, Alliances, and Misery: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation between Moe Ali Nayel and Bassam Haddad
Moe Ali Nayel, a freelance journalist, fixer, and translator based in Beirut, Lebanon, discusses with Bassam Haddad Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Snapshot: Kuwait City
Faisal Al Fouzan chronicles through weekly photograph his encounters with the everyday life of the people of Kuwait City.