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Cities Media Roundup (July-August 2017)

[Tyre, Lebanon by Heretiq via Wikimedia Commons] [Tyre, Lebanon by Heretiq via Wikimedia 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

More Affordable Housing Ahmed Kotb reports for Al-Ahram Weekly on the challenges facing the great need for affordable housing in Egyptian cities. 

بالفيديو والصور .. دماء في "جزيرة الوراق" "القصة الكاملة" Shorouk News reports on the violent clashes between the police and residents of the Al-Warraq Island in Cairo, over the demolition of buildings that were constructed on state-owned land.

Painting Beirut’s Slums The Beirut Report displays the work of Ayad Nasser, and his attempts to revive the neighborhoods of Ouzai, the southern Beirut slums, in a photo essay.

السيّاح يجتاحون صور Amal Khalil reports for Al-Akhbar on the development of internal tourism and economic empowerment in the South of Lebanon, in addition to the attempts made to create job opportunities for the residents of Tyre.

Valérie Pécresse: Avec la municipalité, nous allons relancer le projet d’aménagement de la rue de Damas Élie Masboungi reports for L’Orient-Le Jour on the visit taken by the former French minister Valérie Pécresse to Lebanon, and the cooperation between Île-de-France and Beirut. 

معركة " إيدن باي " متواصلة: المتضررون يلجأون إلى القضاء مجدداً Viviane Akiki reports for Al-Akhbar on the violations made by the Eden Bay project to environmental and construction laws through an examination of the terms of its license on the shore of Ramlet Al-Baida, Beirut.

بلدية بيروت تفرّط بعقاراتها: بيع 500 فضلة عقارية في مدينة بائسة Al-Akhbar reports on the misuse of the municipality of Beirut of its small remaining plots, which are being sold to private real-estate developers instead of being used to provide small public spaces for its dwellers. 

Urban Heritage

Le dernier souffle de la Casbah d’Alger Mélanie Matarese reports for Middle East Eye on the dereliction of the Casbah of Algiers, which has proven to be unstoppable by both the state and Algerian population.   

The Death of Old Tehran Tehran Bureau showcases the relics of old Tehran that are under threat from property developers in a series of photographs for The Guardian.

أين تقع الإسكندرية؟ .. أساطير المدينة والمدينة النقيض بعد المرحلة الكوزموبوليتانية This essay by Samuli Schielke narrates the legends of the city of Alexandria, in its post-cosmopolitanism era, on the Tara al-Bahr interactive e-platform. 

Wars and Reconstruction 

“Large-scale” Investment Projects Launched in the North of Aleppo Enab Baladi reports on the increase in concentration of investment, reconstruction and rehabilitation projects in the major cities of north Aleppo, Syria.

Dans le quartier arménien d’Alep, resurrection d’un café symbole Le Point reports on the symbolic restoration of landmarks and popular places in Aleppo that were ravaged by the Syrian war.

Lebanon Prepares for Syria’s Post-War Construction Windfall Philip Issa reports for Associated Press News on the reconstruction boom that could stimulate billions of dollars in economic activity in Syria, and the foreign investment attracted at the port of Tripoli in anticipation of Syria’s reconstruction.

Not Money Alone: The Challenges of Syrian Reconstruction Fabrice Balanche reports for The Washington Institute on the underlying social, geographical and environmental challenges posed by the Syrian regime, and its impact on reconstruction attempts.

What Happened to Life in Hama City After the Regime Removed its Security Checkpoints? Sada Al-Sham reports for The Syrian Observer on the return of normalcy in the Syrian city Hama, as a result of the removal of security barriers, and its potential implications on the safety of its residents.

Le pouvoir saoudien recourt à la politique de la terre brûlée contre les rebelles chiites d’Awamiya Benjamin Barthe reports for Le Monde on the scorched earth policy employed by the Saudi regime against the Shiite rebels in the city of Amamiya, east of Saudi Arabia.

Environmental Issues

Environmental Initiatives Bring Relief to Besieged Areas Amr Al-Faham reports for Syria Untold on the efforts made by local and environmental initiatives to combat the rising costs of fuel, fertilizers, and the environmental consequences of war in the besieged areas of Syria.  

"The Worst it’s Been:" Children Continue to Swim as Raw Sewage Floods Gaza Beach Peter Beaumont reports for The Guardian on the social and environmental effects of the contamination at Gaza beach, which has increased in level from 50% to 73% in the wake of an energy crisis, and the escalating sewage problem.

Treasure out of Trash Farah Al-Akkad reports for Al-Ahram Weekly on the efforts made by the Eye of the Environment to creatively handle trash and promote recycling in Cairo.

Le Liban de nouveau confronté à une crise des déchets d’ici à huit mois, avertit Chehayeb Suzanne Baaklini reports for L’Orient-Le Jour on the announcements made by the Lebanese minister of Environment on the forthcoming saturation of the Costa Brava and Bourj Hammoud landfills due to the mismanagement of waste collection in Lebanon.  

A Sea of Waste in Beirut Gaja Pellegrini-Bettoli documents the pollution triggered by the waste management crisis in Lebanon in a report for Zenith.

Kuwait’s Inferno: How Will the World’s Hottest City Survive Climate Change? Ruth Michaelson reports for The Guardian on the existential crisis that is heading towards the energy-guzzling state of Kuwait, as oil and water reserves dwindle.


Policy Brief: Security that Protects Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law analyzes the challenges to protecting local communities and refugees in a hybrid system, and propose modalities for upgrading the systems of the Lebanese security institutions in a way that strengthens the protection of the Lebanese communities and the Syrian refugees they host.

Synthesis Paper: Perceptions of Governance- The Experience of Local Administrative Councils in Opposition-held Syria Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law summarizes the main findings of their full report on local governance structures and perceptions of legitimacy, and the role of Local Administrative Councils in opposition-held Syria.

New Report: Governance in Syria Dylan O’Driscoll highlights what analysts see as the key areas that need to be addressed or supported in relation to governance in Syria both now and once the conflict has ended, for The K4D helpdesk report series.

New Report: Agriculture in Syria Kerina Tull highlights the key findings of research surrounding the high cost of farming and difficulties faced by the agricultural sector in the Syrian Arab Republic in light of deteriorating security conditions for The K4D helpdesk report series.

New Report: WASH in Syria Brigitte Rohwerder provides a brief overview of the current situation in Syria with regard to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in a report for The K4D helpdesk report series.

New Report: IMAR Reconstruction Urban Research Center monitors the progress in the undergoing reconstruction projects and processes in Syria in a new report.

New Report: Destruct to Reconstruct: How the Syrian Regime Capitalises on Property Destruction and Land Legislation Jihad Yazigi emphasizes the need for the destruction of policies that were created by the Syrian Regime, and the creation of new policies which ensure a fairer and more balanced reconstruction of Syria in a report for Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

New Report: Rawabi, the Architectural Prophecy of an Unequal Palestinian State Léopold Lambert reflects on his visit to Palestine in a five-part report series for Funambulist. Dedicated to the new city of Rawabi, the fourth part embarks on a sum of crucial questions about the present and future of Palestine.

Book Review: What a Novel Can Say About the Egyptian Revolution Rozina Ali positively reviews Omar Robert Hamilton’s new book “The City Always Wins,” which portrays the less visible consequences of Egypt’s revolution in a report for The New Yorker. 

Recently on Jadaliyya Cities

Sur l’utilité de se concentrer sur Alger Rachid Sidi Boumedine responds to a recent review of his book Bétonvilles contre Bidonvilles: Cent ans de bidonvilles à Alger which was published by Eric Verdeil.

The Changing Face of Street Art in the MENA Region: Diminishing the Voice of the People? Camille Reynolds analyzes the trend towards more permanent large-scale, site-specific installations of street art through three difference approaches to street art initiatives in the MENA region.

New Texts Out Now: Hannes Baumann, Citizen Hariri: Lebanon’s Neoliberal Reconstruction Hannes Baumann is interviewed by Jadaliyya on his new political biography on Rafic Hariri, and his influential legacy which continues to shape the Levant.

Destruction and Construction, Resistance and Solidarity: Diyarbakir/ Surici Observations Part II Şemsa Özar releases the second part to her article series “Diyarbakir: The Heart of this City Beats in Suriçi” on the demolition and reconstruction project created by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanism in Suriçi, Turkey.

Des déchets aux remblais: imaginaire aménageur, corruption et dérèglements métaboliques à Beyrouth Eric Verdeil analyzes the urban political ecology of Lebanon, and the political nature of processes of waste management. He examines the widespread corruption in the country’s waste management crisis by drawing a link between the construction of the state, economic development and social mobilizations in Lebanon.

تقرير: خمسون عامًا على احتلال القدس الشرقية: سياسات القضم والإبعاد والتهويد تتواصل  Abd El Raouf Arnaout reports on the increasing number of Palestinians in East Jerusalem fifty years after its occupation, which indicates the failure of the Israeli Judaization policies.


Political Economy Project

This page is co-produced with the Political Economy Project​The Political Economy Project (PEP) is an evolving focus of the Arab Studies Institute, with research, pedagogic, and advocacy objectives. Our founding workshop took place in April 2015 at the Arab Studies Institute in Virginia and was followed by several workshops, conferences, research projects, resource building efforts, and other activities. The workshop and preparations for it spawned an initial membership of more than sixty researchers and scholars of political economy from the Middle East and beyond. PEP’s evolving cluster of activities revolve around research, pedagogy, training, network-building, and advocacy. Our network grows through nominations by existing members. A cornerstone of PEP is to provide opportunities and training for students and emerging researchers both from the region and beyond. READ MORE HERE.

Political Economy Summer Institute

Each year, the Political Economy Project hosts the Political Economy Summer Institute. The goal of the Summer Institute is to foster and support critical scholarship on the political economy of the Middle East and beyond. It brings together faculty leaders and student participants for four days of immersive study. Faculty members lead sessions on themes such as state formation, imperialism, and labor, while students present their research and workshop their papers. To date the Political Economy Project has hosted two summer institutes at George Mason University in 2016 and 2017. More information can be found here.

Political Economy Book Prize

The Political Economy Project just closed the doors for our 2017 Middle East Political Economy Book Prize. The book prize aims to recognize and disseminate exceptional critical work on the political economy of the Middle East. While the book must have a political economy theme, we welcome nominations from across academic disciplines. Submissions will be read and judged by a committee drawn from PEP’s membership. Eligible texts must have been published in the year prior, and can be either Arabic or English language. The book must make an original contribution to critical political economy research. The author(s) of the winning book will receive a prize of US$1000 and will be invited to give a talk at a PEP affiliated University. The author(s) will also be interviewed by the Arab Studies Institute’s Audio Magazine, Status/الوضع. For more information, contact us at


JADMAG Issue 4.2 "What is Political Economy?" is out!