[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
The Construction of Mecca and Its Effects [in French]
Slimane Zeghidour writes in Orient XXI about the changes and developments which have disfigured Mecca over the years, as well as plans for the future.
Changing Meanings of Pilgrimage to Mecca
In Books and Ideas, Sylvia Chiffoleau compares contemporary pilgrimage to Mecca to its past form, and how it has been transformed through real-estate development to legitimize the power of the Saudi rulers.
The Geopolitics of the Salman Canal [in Arabic]
An-Nahar reports that Saudi Arabia is planning to construct a channel between the Arabian Sea and the Strait of Hormuz, and considers the potential implications on the war in Yemen.
Property Regulations in Post-Revolutionary Alexandria
Matthew Priest, writing in Esquire Middle East, raises the alarm about the increasing rate of demolitions taking place in Alexandria in the wake of the reduction in building regulations following the Mubarak regime’s collapse.
Local and Regional Policies
A Spatial Analysis of Access to Public Schools in Greater Cairo
A study in Tadamun reports on the severe shortage of accessible public education for those in informal settlements, questioning the achievements of the Egyptian government’s so-called “education decade” (1990-2005).
The Egyptian Census and Informal Settlements [in Arabic]
Sarah Sabry argues in al-Shorouk that the upcoming Egyptian national census of 2016 could be an opportunity to revise and expand our understanding of informal settlements.
Women-Only Taxis in Cairo
Al-Ahram reports on a new fleet of pink taxis reserved for women, considering their likely impact on public safety and women’s employment.
Environmental Conservation in Lebanon
Middle East Eye covers the Lebanese Water Festival, a sports event taking place in the Palm Island natural reserve off the coast of Tripoli, whose organizers hope it may lead to increased environmental and conservation awareness.
Closure of Water Plants in Lebanon [in French]
L’Orient Le Jour reports about the imminent closure of six hundred facilities supplying fresh water to Lebanon.
War and Cities
Forthcoming Israeli Demolitions in Palestine
The Guardian discusses a recent UN report on Israeli demolitions of Palestinian properties in the occupied West Bank as a way of taking control of Arab lands.
Informal Syrian Refugee Settlements in the Lebanese Chouf
Richard Hall’s article in Global Post profiles the experiences of Ketermaya, a village in the Chouf Mountains which has taken in more Syrian refugees than the United States, describing the infrastructural challenges surrounding the crisis.
Diminishing Expectations in the Zaatari Refugee Camp
Writing for the New York Times, Jodi Rudoren puts the influx of refugees to Europe and West into perspective, reporting that the inhabitants of the Zaatari camp in Jordan are now beginning to consider that they will be there permanently.
An Interview with a Syrian Truck Driver
Mehmet Akif Ersoy, writing in Al Monitor, discusses the experiences of truck drivers who bring goods across the Syrian frontlines, and interviews one of them.
Questioning the Depoliticization of Refugee Camps
Alex Mahoudeau reflects for Les carnets de l’IFPO on the so-called depoliticization of NGO’s practices in the context of Palestinian refugee camps of Beirut, and how they are challenging traditional partisan structures.
Why is Russia in Latakia
Fabrice Balanche discusses in this policy brief for The Washington Institute why Latakia is Syria’s Achille’s heel combining a spatial and political analysis, illustrated by maps.
Urban Heritage, Past and Present
The Crisis of Algiers’ Old City
Mélanie Matarese writes for Middle East Eye about the coming collapse of the Algiers casbah, and how its remaining residents are coping.
The History of the Egyptian Museum’s Collection [in Arabic]
Al-Shorouk covers the history of the Egyptian Museum and the artefacts it displays, with a particular focus on the institutions which housed the pieces before the Museum’s inauguration in 1902.
Excavations in Sidon Continue to Yield Treasures [in French]
May Makarem’s article in L’Orient Le Jour discusses the British Museum’s ongoing archeological discoveries in Sidon, which have revealed artefacts from a number of ages and civilizations.
Iconic Egyptian Revolution Graffiti Wall Demolished
Ahram Online reports on the destruction of the graffiti wall along Mohamed Mahmoud Street in Cairo as a result of an American University of Cairo (AUC) renovation plan.
Local Resistance and Urban Protest: Lebanon’s #YouStink
The “#YouStink” Protests in Context [in Arabic]
Al-Modon talks to the activist Paul Achkar about the protests in Lebanon, discussing the regional and social groups of which it is composed, and relating the movement to similar phenomena in Spain, Portugal, and elsewhere.
#YouStink Protest Claims back Beirut’s Coast
This article in Beirut Report covers public attempts to reclaim the seafront from unlawful construction projects, illustrating this with a number of photographs and videos taken from the recent #YoutStink action
What Next For Lebanon?
Chatham House features this short article by Nadim Shehadi, which explores the possible futures of the #YouStink movement and the difficulty it will face in remaining non-sectarian.
The Aims of Protest in Lebanon [in French]
IFPO researcher Nicolas Dot-Pouillard writes about #YouStink for Orient XXI and asks whether such a heterogeneous protest movement will be able to keep its aims in sight.
Possible Drifts of Beirut’s Protests [in French]
Karim Emile Bitar, political analyst at IRIS in Paris, discusses the popular revolt in Beirut, its good side and what he sees as possible drifts.
Cairobserver(s) Available for Downloads
Cairobserver, the e-zine reporting on urban and architectural news of Cairo is now available for download.
Book Review: Istanbul 2023 [in French]
Fabien Jeannier reviews Yoann Morvan’s book Istanbul 2023, which was previously reviewed on Jadaliyya.
Conference: Focus On Tangiers: Where African and Europe Meet [in French]
Hosted by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, this conference takes place from the 2-3 October 2015 in Tangiers.
CFP: Urban Challenges at Territorial Borders
A call for papers for a panel entitled “Cities at Maritime Straits in the Middle East and the Mediterranean: Urban Challenges at Territorial Borders” at the 15th Border Regions in Transition Conference, which takes place in Hamburg and Sønderborg between 17 and 20 May 2016. Deadline: 1 November 2015.
Video: The Re-Opening of Horsh Beirut [in Arabic]
This video, posted by Legal Agenda, covers the re-opening of one of Beirut’s largest green public spaces and explains its historic and social importance to the city.
Paper: Mapping Lebanese Political Control over the Banking Sector
This seminar paper by Jad Chaaban provides an overview of an ongoing study which aims to reveal the connections between the Lebanese banking sector, and the ruling classes.
Project: A New River for Beirut
Rayan Majed writes for Now Media about the possibility of transforming Beirut’s river, both to provide green spaces in the city, and to improve water distribution and sustainability.
Recently on Jadaliyya Cities
What Do we Talk About When We Talk about Political Economy?
Kareem Rabie reviews Mandy Turner and Omar Shweiki’s edited volume Decolonizing Palestinian Political Economy: De-Development and Beyond (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
The Arab Center for Architecture (ACA): An Interview with George Arbid
Deen Sharp interviews George Arbid, one of the co-founder of the Arab Center for Architecture, based in Beirut, discussing ACA’s mission, objectives, ongoing initiatives and futures projects.
Table Ronde: Observer la ville du Monde Arabe
This report features the video of the roundtable held at the Institut du Monde Arabe (Paris) in June 2015, during which several urban geographers including Jadaliyya Cities co-editor Eric Verdeil discussed the important roles played by transnational French urban research centers.
The Mayor of the One Percent
Mona Fawaz and Mona Harb write on the limited conception of the role of the mayor by Beirut’s mayor Dr. Bilal Hamad, arguing for a more pro-active role of the municipality in the public affairs of the city, away from the private interests of the few.
You Have, We Have
Jana Traboulsi illustrates the numerous claims made by Lebanese protestors in this series of posters, demanding rights to the city’s public spaces and to reliable urban services.
سَلَميّة، أمُّ القاهرة
Abdallah Wannous writes about Salamiyya (Syria), recounting its past rich cultural legacies, and its current dismay, in the light of war and people`s displacement.
قمامة لبنان من الفساد إلى صفر- نفايات: مقابلة للوضع بين زياد أبي شاكر ورانية المصري
Rania Masri interviews Ziad AbiChaker for Status. AbiChaker is an environmental engineer who has elaborated several policies for solving the garbage crisis in Lebanon and reaching zero waste, by relying on decentralizing waste management to municipalities and equipping them with the proper resources to facilitate recycling and reducing waste.
We Are, You are
Jana Traboulsi illustrates the slogans utilized by Lebanese protestors in this series of posters reflecting on the city and its commons.
The Property Regime: Mecca and the Politics of Redevelopment in Saudi Arabia
Rosie Bsheer analyzes how Al Saud monarchy managed its monopoly on power and economic resources, using land speculation and the development of real estate schemes in Mecca and Riyadh.
Garbage Crisis Exposes Arrogance and Conflict Among the Political Elite of Lebanon
Sami Atallah examines the garbage crisis in Lebanon in relation to the internal conflict among the political elites of Lebanon.
Place as Provisional: Site-Specific Art Commissions in Sharjah
Caitlin Woolsey examines the site-specific art commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation, reflecting on the meanings and politics of place, authenticity, and specificity.