[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 here.]
Egypt: The Economy Is Better Off Than the Egyptians. Three years after signing an agreement with the IMF worth 12 billion dollars (9.3 billion pounds sterling), the Egyptian economy is showing respectable results in many sectors, such as growth, inflation, and unemployment but the population has hardly benefited from this. The greediness of the generals and misuse of subsidies have reduced two-thirds of the population to abject poverty.
Dubai Mall or Souq Naif? The Quest for ‘Authenticity’ and Social Distinction. Rana AlMutawa, an Emirati PhD student at the University of Oxford researching urban space in Dubai, delves into the stereotypical ideas of authenticity which result in people dismissing their everyday lived experiences as inauthentic based on confined and narrow expectations of it.
Alexandria is an invisible city: we live in it, but cannot see it. As rapid development sweeps through Alexandria, architect Mohamed Gohar is trying to document both the past and the present of this ancient Egyptian port city.
Public Works exhibits plans of Lebanon's windowless maid's rooms. Public Works has created an installation focused on maid's rooms in Lebanon at the Sharjah Architecture Triennial to highlight the windowless servants quarters built in developments across the region.
Housing and Planning Issues
Faut-il accorder du crédit au projet « Alger Ville durable » ? [French]. Naima Chabbi-Chemrouk, Professor of Architecture at the Polytechnic School of Architecture and Town Planning in Algiers analyzes the project that aims at making Algiers an example in terms of nature conservation and protection against natural and technological risks.
Municipalités: Le travail à plein temps, principal motif des démissions des maires [French]. Twenty-seven mayors have resigned since their election as head of municipal councils in May 2018. The reasons are multiple but one of them persists: forty-four percent of resignations are due to the obligation not to cumulate the functions of mayor and other professional activities.
Reportage au quartier Kandahar à Hay Hlel : Tout y est, sauf l’Etat [French]. Access to Kandahar is not easy. Borrowing its name from the harsh Afghan city, known during the American war against the Taliban, this district of Hay Hlel is four kilometers from downtown Tunis. However, to achieve this, you have to travel impracticable paths. The neighborhood lacks all basic services: no potable water, no electricity, and no sanitation.
War, Conflict, Displacement, and Urban Protests
La place Tahrir, le cœur battant de la contestation à Bagdad [French]. In the heart of the Iraqi capital, Tahrir Square and the building that overlooks it have for weeks been the epicenter of a revolt revealing the state of the country.
Syrian Refugees in Lebanon: A Challenge for the Social Movement. Targeted by restrictive laws and the butt of hostility on the part of sections of the population, many Syrian refugees in Lebanon sympathize with the ongoing social movement. Some of the protestors are calling for their rights to be respected but the political class continues demanding their departure from the country.
The Arab Revolutions in Historical Perspective. Once again, from Algeria to Iraq, the peoples of the Arab world are in open rebellion. What are the stumbling blocks that stand in the way of their aspirations? How does history shed light on the present situation?
كفررمان سنديانة الجنوب وملجأ ثوار تشرين: أهلاً بالتنوع [Arabic]. The town of Kafrerman in the Nabatiyeh District played a pivotal role in the uprising of the 17 October 2019, due to the political and cultural specificity that is unique to it, among the towns of the region. Throughout the days of the popular uprising, the town became a space for freedom and security for all the people of the region, especially the people of the city of Nabatiyeh after they were subjected to acts of violence and repression.
Culture and Urban Heritage
L’Égypte en cartes [French]. A large map exhibition to popularize social science knowledge on Egypt thanks to color-synthesized maps extracted from "The Atlas of Contemporary Egypt," a collective labor to be published by editions of the CNRS in February 2020.
Syrian Street Vendors and Globalization. By studying the mobility of Syrian peddlers, this article aims to highlight the adaptability of a rural community subject to the vicissitudes of geopolitical crises in the Middle East. Their history, the regular reconfigurations of their trade network, as well as the origin of the food products they sell in the streets of Jordan, reveal a hidden facet of globalization. This aspect helps connect the cities and towns of the Global South that are far removed from the most publicized political and financial centers in the world.
"ألبان لبنان" تتوّجس من تغطية جلسات المحاكمة: الشركات الملوّثة لنهر الليطانيّ تعدّ الحفاظ على البيئة إعجازا [Arabic]. This article updates the reader on the ongoing legal battles between the Litani River Authority and the dairy companies that pollute it.
فرض مكبّين عشوائيين في بلدة بشنين بالقوّة: نظام الزعامات ينقلب على أنصاره ويقمعهم [Arabic]. This article explores the imposition of two garbage dumps in the town of Bshanin (North Lebanon) and how the dominant leadership is turning against his supporters and suppressing them.
الحكومة: 76% زيادة في إنتاج مصر من الطاقة المتجددة من يوليو 2014 [Arabic]. Egypt's ranking improved in the climate change index and ranked twenty-fourth in 2019 compared to the twenty-eighth country ranking in 2018. The government predicts a seventy-six percent increase in production of energy from renewable sources compared to 2014.
شو حجم التعديات على الشاطئ اللبناني؟ شو عملت الدولة لتوقفهم؟ وكيف فينا نسترجع الأملاك البحرية ونحمي الشاطئ؟ [Arabic]. Video showing the size of the encroachments on the Lebanese shore. What did the state do to stop them? How do we recover the marine properties and protect the beach?
Le système alimentaire de Sfax, Tunisie [French]. This film was produced by Anna Faucher and Louison Lançon from the association Let's Food, as part of the Let's Food Cities project. This analysis of the Sfax food system was carried out between October and December 2019. More than thirty stakeholders were interviewed.
Amman. The City and its Society. The research program, whose initial results are published here, grew out of an encounter between two projects: Seteney Shami’s work in urban studies begun several years earlier, and the determination of CERMOC (the French Center for Research and Studies on the Contemporary Middle East), to study its host city where it had been newly established. Amman appeared relatively unexplored by the world of research and it seemed all the more important to put it on the map of academic studies as the role of the city in regional politics was becoming increasingly prominent.