[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
Abu Dhabi Changing Rents
A report in The National that maps the changing rents in Abu Dhabi`s neighborhoods.
Building a Rainforest in Dubai
The National reports on a tropical rainforest project to be built as part of luxury real-estate development in Dubai.
New Touristic Resort on Beirut’s Sea Coast
Matt Nash reports for Executive on the real-estate development Eden Rock, led by Achour Development, and the delays hindering its construction.
Beirut Municipality to Build Stadium in Public Park [in Arabic]
Hadeel Farfour reports for Al-Akhbar on how Beirut Municipality is planning to build a sports stadium in the city’s Horsh Park, stirring the anger of urban activists.
New Project in the Tell Square in Old Tripoli (Lebanon) [in Arabic]
Abdel-Kafi al-Samad in Al-Akhbar discusses the Council for Development and Reconstruction’s infrastructural plans for the Tell Square in Tripoli (Lebanon), and the Turkish $50M gift to build a conference center, threating the destruction of the old Tell Square of the historical city.
Mixed-Use Project Planned in Morocco
Arabian Business reports on the plans of the UAE-based Tasweek Real Estate Development and Marketing to invest $55 million in Agadir. The project includes health, residential, retail and tourism infrastructure and is the second project for the company Morocco.
Wealth Fund Established in Morocco [in French]
A report in L’Economiste on Wessal Capital, a new sovereign wealth fund in Morocco, is bringing together investment funds from the Gulf, and aims to boost foreign investment in tourism and urban real estate.
Gentrification or Ghetto?
Anne Clerval and Mathieu Van Criekingen critique researchers, politicians and administrators who see gentrification as a positive process that can modify social structures, and encourage urban renewal.
Local and Regional Policies
Waste Policies and Sectarian Politics in Lebanon [in Arabic]
Ibrahim Khalil Charara from Legal Agenda investigates the role of civil society groups in influencing waste policies in Lebanon, which obey the logic of sectarian politics.
Lebanese State Consolidates Housing Agency [in French]
The Lebanese Housing Agency has received capital from the government, which will allow it to keep providing low-interest loans to middle income Lebanese families for accessing housing.
New Crops for Promoting Palestinian Agriculture
Lamya Hussein discusses for Muftah ways to preserve agriculture in Palestine, and the potential of introducing new crops like Kale, which is undertaken by the Ma’an Development Center.
The Right to Water in Egypt
Menna Omar discusses for Legal Agenda the Nile water pollution, highlighting how it varies according to regions and class, and how it violates the right to health and clean water.
Taking Over the Sea in Lebanon: A Lost Fight? [in Arabic]
Joelle Boutros from Legal Agenda reports on the key role of Lebanese MP Wadih Akl in fighting a (lost) fight against the privatization of the coast by politicians and businessmen.
Towards the Demolition of Illegal Constructions on Public Coastal Lands in Lebanon? [in Arabic]
Issam Nehme Ismail reports in the Legal Agenda on the recent Lebanese State Council decision to implement the 1964 law that stipulates removing illegal constructions built on public coastal lands.
Promoting Public Space in İzmir (Turkey)
Stephen Sarr reports for The Guardian on a DIY project built by three architects in İzmir (Turkey) providing floating docks for people to use along the waterfront.
Urban Heritage and History
Old Cities in the Middle East
An overview in The Guardian of the oldest settlements known in the Middle East region, from Aleppo to Arrapha.
Lost Urban Heritage of Beirut [in Arabic]
Farah al-Beaini reports in as-Safir on the lost urban heritage of the peri-central neighborhood of Ain el-Mreisseh in Beirut.
Restoring the Memory of the War into a Museum
Nathalie Rosa Bucher reports for Now Lebanon on the restoration of the Barakat building into Beit Beirut, the forthcoming museum and cultural center of the city (with part 2 here).
Oil and Cities: Abadan (Iran)
In this first part of a three-part series, Rasmus Christian Elling translates parts of his work in Danish on the history of Abadan, a city in southwest Iran whose life (and decay) are closely associated to the oil industry.
War and Cities
Erasing Rafah (Egypt)
Laura Dean reports for Global Post on the destruction of Rafah in the Sinai of Egypt, and the relocation of its inhabitants in a New Rafah, yet-to-be-built.
War Punishes Gaza
A Washington Post expose on the long-term impact of the Israeli bombardment on Gaza for the everyday lives of residents.
The Erasure of Place and Names in Palestine
Rania Zabaneh and Dalia Hatuqa investigate for AlJazeera English how Israel implements erasure of collective memory, history and place in Palestine by removing Arab street signs
Urbicide in Syria
Sergio Peçanha and Jeremy White of The New York Times report on the Unitar-Unosat (a UN agency) use of satellite images to map war destruction in four Syrian cities (Kobani, Aleppo, Homs, and Deir el-Zor).
Thanassis Cambanis reports for The Boston Globe on the UN-ESCWA`s sponsored team of urban planners` who are conceiving how to rebuild Aleppo, and other Syrian cities, when the war ends.
Mosul in Sketches
Based on an insider’s source photographs, Molly Crappable illustrates life in Mosul for Vanity Fair, months after ISIS’ seizure of the second largest city in Iraq.
Lebanon’s Demographic Realities
Eva Shoufi investigates in Al-Akhbar English the various demographic groups that make up Lebanon today: Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians, migrant workers, and people with no identity cards. She argues the country is moving toward inevitable conflicts between these groups.
Website: Thimar--Research Collective on Agriculture, Environment and Labor
Thimar is a research collective on agriculture, environment and labor in the Arab world. In addiiton to many valuable resources, it recently makes availble the 2015 documentary by Habib Ayeb and Ray Bush who investigate fellahin in Egypt, and their role in social and political mobilization prior to the revolution.
Video: Lost Cultural Heritage of Iraq
Al Jazeera World documents in this 47-minutes video the damage done to Iraqi music, theater, publishing houses, cultural institutions and the looting of antiquities.
Podcast: The Civil Campaign to Protect the Dalieh of Rawcheh in Beirut
The Funambulist interviews the Civil Campaign to Protect the Dalieh of Rawcheh in Beirut on their struggle to stop the capitalist real-estate development of this coastal public space in Beirut.
Report: Digital Cities in the South
The French association “Villes en développement” issued its new bulletin discussing digital cities of the South.
Report: DPU Beirut’s summerLab 2014
The Bartlett Development Planning Unit published its pamphlet reporting on its 2014 summerLab in Beirut, which studied el-Khodor neighborhood.
Report: Decentralization Frameworks for Arab States
In this report by Constitutional Transitions, UNDP and International IDEA, authors study how decentralization can be implemented to consolidate democracy, and improve livelihoods and security. The report is also available in Arabic.
Conference in Beirut: City Debates 2015: Other Gentrifications
The graduate programs of Urban Planning, Policy and Design at the American University of Beirut are holding its annual City Debates conference on 4-6 March.
CFA: Summer School in Urban Studies in Athens [in French]
The French School of Athens organizes a doctoral school in Athens between 6 and 10 July 2015, entitled “Studying the City: Approaches and Methodological Tools in Social Sciences.” Deadline for applications is 1 April.
Conference Paper: Michel Ecochard in Martigues, Damascus and Beirut [in French]
Eric Verdeil`s conference paper on Ecochard’s work in the 1960s is now online. In this text, he draws a parallel between Ecochard`s work in the small Mediterranean French city of Martigues, and his master plans in Damascus and Beirut during the same period.
New Article: Automobility and Citizenship in Interwar Lebanon
Kristin Monroe’s new article in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East investigates the historiography of automobility in Lebanon
eBook: The Crisis of Rural Society in Egypt [in French]
Geographer Habib Ayeb releases the PDF document of his book The Crisis of Rural Society in Egypt (Karthala: 2010, in French), where he examines the poverty of fellahin, and the food dependency of Egypt which led to uprisings in 2008. The book is also available in Arabic.
eBooks: Maghreb (Hénia), and urbanism in the Muslim Mediterranean world (Arnaud), and cities in the Arab world and Europe (Baduel) [in French]
Three e-books originally published in the 1990s-2000s are now made accessible online by the Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain (IRMC), in Tunis. They are authored by Jean-Luc Arnaud (L’urbain dans le monde musulman de Méditerrannée), Pierre-Robert Baduel (La ville et l’urbain dans le monde arabe et en Europe), and Abdelhamid Hénia (Villes et territoires au Maghreb).
Recently on Jadaliyya
A Compound in Common: The Case of “Little Duweiqa,” Haram City
Nicholas Simcik Arese writes on the resettlement of slum dweller families from Duweiqa to Haram City, a gated community they squatted in 2010-11.
Ras Beirut, Bliss Street, and “Abu Muhammad”
An tribute by Maria Bashshur Abunnas on Abu Muhammad, the shoeshine man of Bliss street that passed away recently. The tribute includes narratives about from Ras Beirut, Hamra and Bliss street.
Bio-Istanbul: A Speculative, Segregationist, and Sustainable Urbanism
An essay by Elvan Arik on the new concepts of sustainability that are increasingly used in new real estate projects in Istanbul, with a focus on the new town of “Bio-Istanbul.”
Cairo Downtown Passages Redesign
The Cairo Laboratory for Urban Studies and Environmental Research (CLUSTER) has been exploring the networks of Cairo’s downtown passages for almost three years. The article puts this work in perspective with interviews on the design approach, and the various concerns involved in that process.
Al-Wihdat Refugee Camp: Between Inclusion and Exclusion
Luigi Achilli investigates Al Wihdat refugee camp in Jordan focusing on its simultaneous closeness and openness.
Report: Corporatization: Are Public Services Still Public?
The Municipal Services Project, a network of activists and scholars in Kington University released a book, a blog post and a video on issues of corporatization of public services in cases from Asia (of which Tunisia), Africa, and Latin America.
Dead Sea Living
Isis Nusair reviews the documentary “Dead Sea Living” that depicts the dying of the Dead Sea and its economic, environmental, social, and political implications.
Snapshot: Dubai and Abu Dhabi
A photo-essay on Dubai and Abu Dhabi captured by Matilde Gattoni.
Gender and the Production of Islamic Urban Space in Iran
Alex Shams asks what does an Islamic urban space look like, by investigating spatial practices in Iran, focusing on gendered implications.