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Zaha Hadid: Black Square, White Cube, and the Twenty-First Century Museum

The staircase of Zaha Hadid Architects’ recently opened Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University in East Lansing is sleek and straightforward. Its intention is functional; its design is simple (as simple as a contorted, suspended mass can be). A departure from the use of a traditional grand ...  Read More »

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Fun, Football, and Palestinian Nationalism

Some of the most enduring memories of fieldwork in al-Wihdat refugee camp are the several evenings I spent watching football matches in the company of my friends.  Al-Wihdat is a Palestinian refugee camp established in 1955 on the outskirts of Amman, the capital of Jordan. The camp today is fully incorporated ...  Read More »

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Was There A January 25 Revolution?

The “January 25 Revolution” has already taken its place in Egyptian national historical memory along with the “1919 Revolution” and the “July 23 Revolution.” Assigning dates to these events, whose significance in the modern history of Egypt is undeniable, is perhaps a necessary convenience. Calling them all ...  Read More »

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The Dramaturgy of A Street Corner

Much like the ongoing revolutionary struggle in Egypt, this short piece is part of an in-progress work to chronicle the evolution of revolutionary art on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, also known as the “street of the eyes of freedom”—nicknamed as such since many protesters lost their eyes on that same street after being ...  Read More »

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Parallel Walks in al-Khalil: A Photo Essay

I last visited al-Khalil (Hebron) with my family when I was a child in the mid 1970s. I only have vague recollections of that visit, except for the place where Ibrahim (Abraham) was to sacrifice his son. For some reason, and maybe because as a child I was unable to comprehend why a father would be asked to sacrifice ...  Read More »

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Ordering the Disorderly? Street Vendors and the Developmentalist State

When President Mohamed Morsi issued his highly controversial extra-constitutional decree on 20 November, which he later partially annulled under mass public protest, he promised to use the extraordinary legislative powers it afforded him only within very limited boundaries. When he actually used these powers, he did ...  Read More »

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Baghdad: Mirages and Melancholia

It is well known that preeminent figures of early modernism, such as Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, designed architectural proposals for Baghdad around the middle of the 20th century. Many may be surprised however to discover that several other important international architects were also involved with the city ...  Read More »

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Sons of Beaches: How Alexandria's Ideological Battles Shape Egypt

A Salafist Muslim intellectual, overlooking an Alexandrian beach last summer, tells me over coffee: “The cosmopolitanism of our city [Alexandria] may look like it has died, but the skeletal structure of cosmopolitanism is still there. It is this structure that underpins the spread and acceptance of ideas, including ...  Read More »

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The Severed Branches of Local Government

Sometime in the middle of last March, while I was still living in Cairo, I was working at my desk when I heard a noisy argument outside my window. The street in Zamalek where I lived was home to about a dozen little shops, along with a small café and a cafeteria, and I had long since learned to tune out the shouts and ...  Read More »

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Syrian Refugees: Reliance on Camps Creates Few Good Options

[The following report was issued by Refugees International on 5 December 2012.]  Syrian Refugees: Reliance on Camps Creates Few Good Options  Summary The civil war in Syria has forced large numbers of Syrians from their homes, and in many cases from the country entirely. Refugees continue to ...  Read More »

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Sanctuary in the City? Urban Displacement and Vulnerability in the Gaza Strip

[The following report was issued by the Humanitarian Policy Group of the Overseas Development Institute.] Sanctuary in the City? Urban Displacement and Vulnerability in the Gaza Strip Introduction In recent decades, many cities and towns around the world have seen dramatic population growth, with significant ...  Read More »

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Colonial Planning of My Grandfather’s Hilltop

Today, I walked onto an Israeli settlement for the first time in my life, one where most of the land it stands on once belonged to my grandfather. I needed the settlers’ permission to walk onto this soil. As I walked down the sidewalk, I felt alienation and contentment all at once. The first for the utter disconnect ...  Read More »

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City, Space, Power: Lahore’s Architecture of In/Security

Casualties of War Lahore today looks like a city at war. One of the greatest unacknowledged casualties of the United States’ “war on terror” has been the cities—and citizenry—of Pakistan. The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to oust the Taliban from power in response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade ...  Read More »

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Cairo Event -- Revolts and Transitions in the Arab World: Towards a New Urban Agenda? (7-9 November 2012)

Revolts and Transitions in the Arab World: Towards a New Urban Agenda?  7 - 9 November 2012 French Institute of Egypt, Cairo, Egypt The CEDEJ, a French research center in Cairo, is organizing a conference on the urban aspect of the current events that are reshaping the region. The event will include ...  Read More »

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المدن الجديدة في الخليج العربي و«الخلل السكاني»

يشكل الوافدون جزءاً كبيراً من سكان الخليج، لكن قلّما يتم التطرّق إليهم في الإعلام. وقد زاد عدد الوافدين بشكل هائل في دول مجلس التعاون على مدى السنوات الأخيرة، فكانت نسبة نموهم السنوية أكثر من ضعف نسبة النمو السنوية للمواطنين، حيث ارتفعت أرقامهم من نحو عشرة ملايين في العام 2000 إلى ستة عشر مليوناً في العام 2008. أصبح ...  Read More »

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المدينة و«الدفان» في الخليج العربي

كتب الروائي الراحل السعودي عبدالرحمن منيف رائعته «مدن الملح» في ثمانينات القرن الماضي، والتي تم منعها في بعض دول الخليج. ولو كان الأمر في حكمي، لجعلت «مدن الملح» المادة الرئيسية في مناهج التاريخ الدراسية في دول المنطقة، لأنها ببساطةٍ، أفضل ما حاكى واقع الخليج وشبه الجزيرة العربية في عصر النفط، العصر الأبرز في تاريخها ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Myriam Ababsa, Baudouin Dupret, and Eric Denis, Popular Housing and Urban Land Tenure in the Middle East

Myriam Ababsa, Baudouin Dupret and Eric Denis, editors. Popular Housing and Urban Land Tenure in the Middle East: Case Studies from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Cairo and New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2012. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Myriam Ababsa (MA), Baudouin ...  Read More »

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Dissipating Dissent: Morocco's Stabilizing Spatial Tactics

When considering the wave of uprisings that swept the Arab world recently, otherwise known as the “Arab Spring,” Morocco is often perceived as the exception to the rule. The country’s socio-political profile led many to believe that it was only a matter of time for the disgruntled masses to take to the streets and ...  Read More »

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Beware of Small Cities

The physical spaces of the Arab uprisings emerged as powerful political tools in the course of the revolts for both protesters and regimes. Protestors in streets and squares affirmed that power also exists in real exchanges, in real places between real people. Tahrir Square experienced a metamorphosis from a denied ...  Read More »

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Beirut Event: هذا البحر لي - This Sea is Mine (28 August - 8 September 2012)

هذا البحر لي مجموعة الدكتافون  Read More »

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Bahrain: The Dragonfly's Eye

I look in the dragonfly's eye, and I see the mountains over my shoulder--- Issa Bahrain is a small country, and though the story of its own trials and troubles during the past year and a half is intrinsically valuable, it also tells a bigger story, about bigger countries. Small countries, distant provinces, and ...  Read More »

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Struggles That Fueled a Revolution

Bulaq: Among the Ruins of an Unfinished Revolution. Directed by Davide Morandini and Fabio Lucchini. UK/Italy/Egypt, 2011. “Bread, freedom, and social justice” has been one of the most memorable chants from Egypt’s year of mass protests. Although world and Egyptian media have been fixated on the symbolic Tahrir ...  Read More »

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Urbanizing the Counter-Revolution

Since February of this year Cairo has become dotted with sites of trauma, locations where violence—and often death—have taken place at the hands of security forces or army personnel. Despite the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’ (SCAF) claim that it “protected the revolution” and its continuous promises to ...  Read More »

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The Road to New Cairo

Tahrir Square is the epicenter of the Egyptian uprising and the inspiration for the global occupy movement. From here, at the gate of the American University’s downtown campus, busses depart on a regular schedule towards the new campus some forty kilometers away. From downtown Cairo, the historic nineteenth century ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Ahmed Kanna, "Dubai, the City as Corporation"

Ahmed Kanna, Dubai, the City as Corporation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011.         Jadaliyya: What made you write this book? Ahmed Kanna: This is my first book. It emerged from my dissertation research. When I first started studying anthropology in ...  Read More »

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New Additions to the Literature on Cairo

Nezar AlSayyad. Cairo: Histories of a City. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011. David Sims. Understanding Cairo: the Logic of a City out of Control. Cairo; New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2010. Nezar AlSayyad’s Cairo: Histories of a City and David Sims’ Understanding ...  Read More »

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The Case Against the Grand Egyptian Museum

A Modern Museum for an Ancient Nation? With the French Revolution came the first truly public museum in the world, the Louvre, which opened its doors in 1793. Private collections owned by wealthy individuals were made accessible to the middle and upper classes in major European cities roughly since the eighteenth ...  Read More »

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The Arab World's Forgotten Rebellions: Foreign Workers and Biopolitics in the Gulf

The Arab world is undergoing a potentially world-historical transformation. The Tunisian street vendor Muhammad Bouazizi’s self-imolation, following mistreatment by state authorities in late 2010, sparked a deluge of populist anger and activism that has toppled the Ben Ali and Mubarak regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, ...  Read More »

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Choking Mecca in the Name of Beauty — and Development (Part 2)

Mecca During the Hajj  As the annual hajj draws to a close, millions of Muslim pilgrims in Mecca celebrate the four-day Eid al Adha together ritually, festively, and with a jubilant spirit of giving. They will pray, eat, and spend time with loved ones. Those who can afford it will give alms to the less ...  Read More »

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Choking Mecca in the Name of Beauty--and Development (Part I)

In the last decade, Mecca, Islam’s birthplace, has been the target of some of the world’s largest commercial development schemes. Over one hundred buildings are under construction around the Grand Mosque (Masjid al-Ḥarām) and will soon replace the historical, architectural and socioeconomic landscape of this rapidly ...  Read More »

About the Cities Page

The Cities Page is a Jadaliyya platform promoting critical understandings and investigations of urban life and space, beyond the dominant formal and physical narration on cities. The Cities Page publishes works from different fields that deepen our understanding of the social production of diverse urban geographies and the contestation around them. It aims to consolidate an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to reading and writing about space and cities, incorporating historical, social, cultural, political, legal, economic and technological dimensions. It welcomes contributions in various formats, languages, and on various urban geographies and histories.

Contact Cities Page Editors via

Submit to the Cities Page

The Cities Page Editors invite submissions that critically explore related topics, and are eager to feature debates within the field. Specifically, we welcome:

  • Essays exploring the relationships between space, power and social justice, and spatial practices and the built environment, etc.
  • Reviews of books, films, exhibits, blogs, and pundits
  • Interviews with practitioners, activists, scholars, government officials, and others.
  • Reports, press releases, statements, conference announcements, and other information.
  • Photo essays
  • Video clips

Submissions should conform with the general Jadaliyya submissions guidelines. The Cities Page accepts submissions in Arabic, English, French, and Turkish.

You can send your submission to

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