[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
Suing Beirut’s Solidere? [in Arabic]
Mohamad Zbeeb reports for al-Akhbar on the original owners of downtown Beirut’s movement against the real-estate company Solidere.
Armenian Heritage under Real-Estate Development Threats in Byblos (Lebanon)
Garin Boghossian reports for The Armenian Weekly on the controversy surrounding relocating the cemetery’s remains of the Bird’s Nest Armenian orphanage in Jbeil (Byblos, Lebanon), and the private real estate interests threatening this historical site.
Saudi Arabia’s City of the Future
The King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) is the world’s largest real estate project, worth $100bn. Located an hour away from Jeddah, it aims to be completed by the 2030s and will be the size of Washington DC.
Vertical City in the Sahara
Parisian architecture firm OXO Architects, in association with Nicolas Laisné Associés, reveals its proposal for a futuristic mixed-use tower—or "vertical city" promoting allegedly sustainable high density living in the Sahara.
Rebuilding Alexandria’s Lighthouse
Amro Ali writes for Mada Masr about the opaque plans to rebuild Alexandria’s lighthouse, and how neoliberal urban politics are impacting decision-making about the city.
The Maspero Triangle Project (Cairo) [in Arabic]
Ahmad Zaazaa reports for Cairobserver on the Triangle Maspero Project in Cairo, which seeks to destroy the neighborhood, and the role of its dwellers in opposing it.
Civil Society in Egypt Lobbies the World Bank’s Development Scheme
Civil society organizations in Egypt have drafted an alternative Country Partnership Framework (CPF) to the World Bank office in Cairo proposing other strategic priorities for development projects the Bank should be funding in the country. The Bank will be modifying its current CPF accordingly.
Real-Estate Development and the Urban Heritage of Tehran
The Guardian reports on the real-estate development spree in Tehran, and its impact on old houses and urban heritage in the city.
Local and Regional Policies and Governance
Raouche of Beirut: A Natural Protected Zone?
The Daily Star reports on the Lebanese Ministry of Environment’s plans to characterize Raouche area as a natural protected zone.
In late July, Lebanese cities and towns were drowning under mounts of rubbish. International reports have reported on the issue, including this analysis by Belen Fernandez for Middle East Eye. Environmental journalist Bassam Kantar explains the causes of the crisis in Al-Akhbar (in Arabic). He also gives an interview about it to Al-Jadeed television available here. Activists have mobilized, reminding the public of reducing waste alternatives through recycling.
New Legislation to Protect the Moroccan Coast
Morocco has issued a legislation to protect its coast, as part of its environmental and sustainable development Charter. The law seeks to fix the principles of an integrated development of the coast, protecting its natural environment and preventing constructions within a 100 meters depth.
War and Cities
Syrian Archeology Smuggled into Britain Archeologist Mark Altaweel reports for the Guardian on the looting of antiquity artifacts in Syria and their smuggling into British antique shops.
The Destruction of Downtown Beirut
Jimmy Dabbagh reports for The Daily Star on Cherine Yazbeck’s exhibition on the aftermath of the civil war in downtown Beirut, prior to its reconstruction.
Benghazi: A Disaster Zone
Ishaan Tharoor reports for The Washington Post on the Benghazi war, and the tragic destruction and population displacement in the city.
Resisting Evictions in Palestine
Leila Ali writes for Muftah on the daily struggles Palestinians in the OPT face to resist evictions, showcasing the situation in Susiya and Hebron.
Technological Devices for Syrian Refugees in Jordan
Ari Daniel reports for Upworthy on how the Refugee Open Ware startup has been providing Syrian refugees in Jordan with technological devices to ease up their hardship.
Open Access: Lefebvre’s Theory of Ground Rent and Rural Sociology
AntipodeFoundation.org features in open access Henri Lefebvre’s 1956 little-known essay “Theory of Ground Rent and Rural Sociology.”
Essay: Disappearing Cities of Egypt
Mohamed Elshahed shares his presentation at the symposium “Disappearing Cities of the Arab World,” held in the British Museum in London on 12 July 2015.
Essay: On Khedive Muhammad Ali
Asher Kohn writes for Mashallah News on Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt and how “balkanized” the region. The essay includes beautiful illustrations by Hussein Nakhal and Nour Bishouty.
CFA: InterAsian Connections
The InterAsian Connections fifth international conference issued its call for individual papers for its forthcoming meeting in Seoul in April 2016. Deadline for submission is 8 September 2015.
CFP: Research Workshop on Palestinian Camps in Lebanon
The Institute for Palestine Studies has issued a call for papers for a workshop on responsible and engaged research about Palestinian camps in Lebanon. Deadline for submission is 31 August 2015.
Lists: Top 20 Urban Planning Websites (in the US)
Global Sites Plan (GSP) posts the list of the twenty US-based urban planning websites with the most traffic.
Photo-Essay: Ramadan on Qalandia Checkpoint (Palestine)
Mondoweiss presents a photo essay on the increasing number of Palestinians crossing the checkpoint of Qalandia to go pray in al-Aqsa mosque during the Ramadan month.
Photo-Essay: Urban Encroachment on Egypt’s Agricultural Land
Elshamy reports for Associated Press on the expanding settlements in the Nile Delta farmland. In an interview with Mohamed Elshahed of Cairobserver, we learn more about this urban encroachment.
Interview: User-Driven Housing in Cairo
In this interview and documentary with Dina Shehayeb about self-help housing or user-driven housing, the urban practitioner discusses three of their important principles.
Recently on Jadaliyya Cities
تدمر، واحة للظلام
Osama Esber discusses Tadmor (Palmyra) and how it has transformed into a dark oasis, recalling its history, the war economy, and its notorious prison.
لا بشرٌ ولاحجر... تدمر وسرديات الحرب على الآثار
Basileus Zeno examines the domination of Daesh over Tadmor (Palmyra), and the war on archeology and antiquities.
New Texts Out Now: Franck Mermier, Récits de villes: d’Aden à Beyrouth
Franck Mermier discusses his new book: Récits de Villes: d’Aden à Beyrouth.
Planning under Occupation: Elastic Geographies and ‘Area C’
Lamya Hussain discusses how Israel uses urban planning in the West Bank to expand its territorial control and restrict Palestinian’s urban growth.
Alexandria Again and Forever
Laurence Deschamps-Laporte discusses the various orientalist discourses and imaginaries about Alexandria and the nostalgia for the city’s cosmopolitanism, arguing that this cosmopolitanism has been reinvented.
مدينة الرقة السورية: من المدنية إلى مستقبل مجهول
Firas Al Hakkar narrates the various facets of Al-Raqqa, focusing on its urban history, geography, reconstruction, and economic situation.
Report: The Birds’ Nest Armenian Orphanage in Byblos (Lebanon)
A group named "Protect the Bird`s Nest in Byblos" has organized a petition calling on the Armenian Catholicosate and the Lebanese Directorate General of Antiquities to preserve an important Armenian heritage site.
Rebuilding Gaza Needs Freedom and Normality—Not Just Aid
Sara Roy reflects on the impossibility of launching a process of reconstruction in Gaza in the context of blockade and daily violence.
Alaa Khaled tells the story of the Bar Cap d’Or (or Bar Sheikh Ali) in Alexandria, founded in 1900.
Meydan Politics: Taksim in Flux after Gezi
Sera Tolgay examines Taksim square in the aftermath of the Gezi protests, and its role in building a public realm in Istanbul.