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Cities Media Roundup (September 2017)

[Working together to help Syrian refugees children in Lebanon. Photo: DFID - UK Department for International Development, 2014, Wikipedia Commons] [Working together to help Syrian refugees children in Lebanon. Photo: DFID - UK Department for International Development, 2014, Wikipedia Commons]

[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, mentioning “Roundup” in the subject line. We also welcome your submissions to the Cities Page: please check details on]


Urban Development and Infrastructure

11 Billion-Dollar Mega-Projects That Will Transform the World’s Greatest Cities by 2035 Futurism displays some of the biggest urban projects and large redevelopment plans under construction, and captures the rapid urbanization of the world in a photo-essay.

Failed Infrastructure is Failed Politics By drawing on two cases of failed national public infrastructure, Joanne Randa Nucho reflects on the links between political fragmentation, state neglect and infrastructure in a report for Public Book.

Saudi Arabia to Make Historic Red Sea Coast New Global Tourism Destination In its latest move to diversify from oil, Saudi Arabia has announced an ambitious plan to turn a vast area of its western Sea coast into a tourism hot spot featuring fifty pristine islands, white sandy beaches, and pre-Islamic history and culture.

How Notions of Security and Sovereignty on the Suez Canal Serve a Privileged Minority Gabriel Young reports for Muftah on the attempts made by the Sisi regime to disguise its transnational relationships in the nationalist rhetoric of Egyptian sovereignty and security for the benefit of national and foreign elites.

Urban Heritage

The Most Beautiful and Elegant City in the World Lina Shaikhouni reports for BBC News on the national, digital archive created by one man in the wake of the Syrian war with the purpose of preserving the pre-war history and image of Aleppo.

Rural Enterprise: Lebanon’s Overlooked Heritage Victoria Lupton reports for Executive Magazine on the struggles of Lebanese communities to support their families and a disastrously deteriorating natural world, as the source of Lebanon’s sustenance and ubiquitous symbol of belonging to the land--the village--has been hollowed out.

Environmental Issues

Lebanon’s Garbage Crisis: It Still Smells of Corruption Jad Chaaban reports for Beirut Today on the hazardous by-products of Lebanon’s unresolved garbage crisis, and the need for a national sustainable waste management policy.

A Trip to Southern Tunisia: The Struggle for Social Justice in North Africa Continues Hamza Hamouchene and Nada Trigui study the extractivist model imposed on Tunisians, and the consequences of the state’s insistence on neo-liberalism to the Tunisian society and environment in a report for Middle East Eye.

New Master's Thesis: Waste Management Systems in Lebanon: The Benefits of a Waste Crisis for Improvement of Practices In a study of the Lebanese waste crisis, Elias Azzi identifies the role of new waste stakeholders, assesses the efficiency and needs of municipal projects, and suggests priorities for the country’s solid waste policies.

Conflicts and Reconstructions

War in Cities: How to Treat the Disease Without Killing the Patient? Vincent Bernard reports for Humanitarian Law & Policy on the key rules of international humanitarian law critical to providing guidance in the preparation of future urban operations, and the main challenges in the applications of these rules.

Aerial Imperialism: Syrian Ruinscapes and Vertical Media Sina Zekavat reports for Failed Architecture on the reinforcement of false narratives of war in Syria through theatrical monumentality and spectacles.

Syria Trends: Mining Underused Data Synaps Network uses satellite imagery and light signatures to illustrate the magnitude of destruction in Syrian cities, and gain insight into the social, political and economic trends that have transformed, and continue to transform the country.

Will China Get the Lion Share in Syria Reconstruction? Eugenio Dacrema reports for Syria Untold on China’s growing involvement in investments and reconstruction in Syria, and the significant implications of its involvement on development projects, and consequently, the future socio-economic shape and stability of Syria.

Dix ans après la bataille de Nahr el-Bared, les habitants insatisfaits de la reconstruction Ornella Antar reports for L’Orient Le Jour on the unsatisfactory living conditions of the inhabitants of the Palestinian camp Nahr el-Bared in northern Lebanon on the tenth anniversary of the victory of the Lebanese army over the radical Sunni Islamist group Fatah al-Islam.

Le juteux business de la “reconstruction” en Syrie Jean Pierre Filiu reports for Le Monde on the struggles of the Assad regime to become the primary beneficiary of the ‘reconstruction’ in Syria, in light of the role it played in the Syrian war. 


Sounds from Hamra, Lebanon Alastair Ager conducts a multi-sensory analysis of the social, economic and political dynamics which characterize space through an examination of the "spaces of encounter" between diverse hosting and refugee communities in Lebanon in a report for Refugee Hosts.

Invisible (at) Night: Space, Time and Photography in a Refugee Camp Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh explores the ‘everyday’ spaces of encounter and times inhabited- day and night by a diverse group of refugees and hosts in a short photo-essay for Refugee Hosts.

How Can Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Access Legal Residency Status and Livelihoods? Lebanon Support highlights the impact of the Lebanese government’s policies on the daily lives of Syrian refugees in an infographic. 

Everyday Life 

الدولة والباعة الجائلون .. بين تجميل الشوارع وتجميل وجه النظام Heba Afifi analyses the Egyptian state’s strategies for street vendors, and their implications on attempts to “beautify” the regime’s image in a report for Mada Masr.

"عشان المرتب يكفي لآخر الشهر" .. تباديل وتوافيق الطبقة الوسطى Mai Shams Aldin reports for Mada Masr on the struggles of middle class families in Egypt since the inflation of prices, and the devaluation of the Egyptian pound.

A Shubra Epic of Solidarity Khaled Hanafi Ali reports for Al-Ahram Weekly on the Cairo district of Shubra, a cosmopolitan neighborhood that is home to both Copts and Muslims which struggles to retain its legacy of solidarity as terrorist attacks break out in Egypt.

Video: A Prayer for Mecca: The City That Many Hajj Pilgrims Don’t See Saudi artist Ahmed Mater takes us inside Islam’s urban heart in a video series that connects the US and Middle East. In the third episode, he reveals the unprecedented changes to the holy city.

Recently on Jadaliyya Cities

SciencesPo Kuwait Program Call for Paper: “Wise Cities: in the Mediterranean? The Challenge of Environmental and Social Sustainability  (Paris, 8-9 March 2018), Deadline: 30 November 2017. SciencesPo Kuwait hosts a conference in cooperation with CIDOB, the Barcelona Center for International Affairs, on the alternative pathways of urbanization, in efforts to develop ideas for the localization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

La crise des déchets, le Liban et son territoire Charbel Nahas reflects on land-use planning schemes in Lebanon in an attempt to rationalize the populations’ land use practices in economic terms, and foster economic interdependence across the population.

Entretien avec Sébastien Lamy sur le droit de l’urbanisme au Liban: la nécessité d’une doctrine jurdique Jadaliyya conducts an interview with Sébastien Lamy on the laws surrounding urban planning in Lebanon, and the need for a legal doctrine. 

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