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Cities Media Roundup (January 2017)

[Tripoli, near Abu-Ali river. Image from Wikimediacommons by Chaps the Idol] [Tripoli, near Abu-Ali river. Image from Wikimediacommons by Chaps the Idol]

[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]


Cities and War

Strengthening Accountability and Public Participation at the Local Level in Dealing with the Syrian Refugees Crisis in Jordan Myriam Ababsa presents the results of surveys undertaken in Jordan, and raises the issue of a potential contradiction between local actions servicing the Syrian refugees and the expectations of local citizens.

ISIS Cuts off Water Supply from Aleppo SANA reports about the Islamic State terror group cutting off the water supply from its main processing plants on the Euphrates.        

À Damas, le calvaire des syriens privés d’eau depuis une semaine L’Orient-Le Jour reports about how the inhabitants of Damascus are coping with water provision shortage in the city, due to ongoing fights between the Syrian army and the opposition in Wadi Barada.

Le gouvernement syrien annonce un plan pour reconstruire Alep L’Orient-Le Jour shares the announcement of the reconstruction plan for the city of Aleppo, which the Syrian Army recently reconquered.

Responding to the Syrian Crisis in Lebanon: Collaboration between Aid Agencies and Local Governance Structures This paper by IIED analyzes existing collaboration mechanisms in relation to the Syrian crisis in Lebanon, and provides a series of recommendations, on how national, local and international humanitarian actors can work together more effectively to enhance urban refugee responses in Lebanon and perhaps in other countries.

The Political Impasse of the Syrian Kurdish Movement Arab Reform Initiative publishes a paper by Antoine Maltais which discusses how the Kurdish movement’s territorial policy puts it at odds with its desire to build international political alliances. 

The Conflict Context in Tripoli: Chronic Neglect, Increased Poverty and Leadership Crisis Lebanon Support publishes a report on how public policy towards the city of Tripoli (Lebanon), along with the city’s special historical relationship with Syria, have contributed to ongoing armed conflict, economic stagnation, poverty and political fragmentation.

The City that Didn’t Know Where to Start Alex Simon discusses how Tripoli’s promise of prosperity has gone unfulfilled, and how today’s city is renowned above all for the scale of its poverty and the rounds of street violence that have periodically rocked its streets even since the end of Lebanon’s civil war.

Urban Services

Cold and Angry, Gazans Challenge Hamas over Electricity The Jordan Times reports about the mounting ire among Gazans over power cuts and their mismanagement by Hamas.

Fermer sa ligne téléphonique, un message citoyen aux autorités Anne-Marie El-Hage reports for L’Orient-Le Jour about a civic campaign calling for a one-day boycott of the cell phone companies in Lebanon because of high tariff and opaque billing practices.

La délocalisation de la décharge de Costa Brava devient urgente pour éviter le pire Ornella Antar reports for L’Orient-Le Jour about the latest episodes of the controversy over the new dump of Costa Brava near Beirut’s airport, where birds attracted by waste have become a threat to the air travel, prompting the adoption of several measures to keep them away, including killing them, which prompted protests by environmental associations who are requesting the dump site closes down.

La fermeture de Costa Brava décidée par la justice, avec un sursis de quatre mois Suzanne Baaklini reports for L’Orient-Le Jour on the court decision to close the Costa Brava dumpsite within four months, and the contrasted reactions of local authorities and environmental associations in anticipating the next steps. 

The Garbage King of Beirut In this video, Charlotte V. Buchen interviews Lebanese engineer and industrialist Ziad Chaker about the solutions he has implemented in several Lebanese cities for coping with the garbage crisis, namely through recycling solid waste.

Sukleen répond à S. Gemayel : « La compagnie a toujours été sous la supervision de l’État » L’Orient-Le Jour reports about the controversy that erupted between Parliament Member Samy Gemayel and Sukleen, the company that managed waste collection and treatment for twenty-three years in the Beirut area, over the pricing and cost of the service undertaken on behalf of the government.

العلاقات المؤسّساتية وتوفير الخدمات في المخيّمات والمناطق المحاذية: المسار الحواري والمخرَجات يوفر هذا التقرير لصانعي القرار حزمة من المعطيات الموثوقة والتوصيات، ويعرض أمثلة ناجحة في مجال تأمين الخدمات الحضرية األساسية للمخيمات والمناطق المحاذية، ما يساعد في تسهيل الحوارات ورسم السياسات ووضع البرامج.

Urban History, Public Space, and Housing

إعادة اكتشاف خرائط ومشاهد منسية لصيدا وجوارها تعود لسنة 1685  تقوم مبادرة للمدينة بنشر مجموعة من الرسومات لمنطقة صيدا وجوارها تعود إلى سنة 1685، والتي لا يبدو أنها ظهرت في أي من الكتب والدراسات والأبحاث المعنية بصيدا قبل اليوم رغم أهميتها التاريخية ودقة معلوماتها وجمال محتواها.

À Mina, des terrains "en mer" revendiqués comme propriété privée Suzanne Baaklini reports for L’Orient-Le Jour about the new controversy concerning the illegal appropriation of the public domain on the shore of El-Mina municipality (Lebanon) by a private development project, opposed by the mayor and civic associations.

Ethnographie de l’habité: trois houchs à Nefta David Attia Landlousi makes various observations on urban housing practices in the changing built environment of the old city of Nefta in Tunisia. 

Le Parlement se prononce pour un assouplissement en faveur des anciens locataires
Anne-Marie El-HAGE reports for L’Orient-Le Jour on slight changes in the law on rental housing in Lebanon. Despites minor measures aiming at making the shift less harsh for the renters, the law still threatens the situation of many tenants in Beirut and large Lebanese cities, whereas it fails to create the essential fund to help needy tenants.


Revue de Presse: Ville, Janvier 2017 CEDEJ releases its bimonthly press review on cities in Egypt.                                                       
New Book: Miriam Cook, Dancing in Damascus: Creativity, Resilience, and the Syrian Revolution Miriam Cook traces the first four years of the Syrian revolution and the activists’ creative responses to physical and emotional violence. How is it possible that artists, filmmakers and writers have not been cowed into numbed silence but are becoming more and more creative? 

New Book: Nadia Kerdoud, Recompositions urbaines et nouveaux espaces de consommation en Algérie Nadia Kerdoud explains how the economic and social changes in Algeria are re-organizing territories around Constantine. In the new commercial centers emerging on the outskirts of the city, unusual business practices are taking place, and sociale changes are unraveling.

New Report: The City Iranians Need A booklet on Iranian cities for Habitat III has been published, consisting of three main parts: a description of the city people wants, drivers of change, and linkages between TCIN and the SDGs.

Recently on Jadaliyya

New Texts Out Now: Vincent Lemire, Jérusalem 1900. La ville sainte à l'âge des possiblesVincent Lemire discusses his new book on Jerusalem of the 1900s.

De l’impuissance des citoyens libanais face au système. "Powerless," les ambiguïtés d'un documentaire Eric Verdeil discusses Cynthia Choucair’s documentary film Powerless that shows the profoundly unjust effects that the repeated and massive cuts in the public electricity supply system cause to a large part of the Lebanese population, who live impoverished in a precarious urban environment.

New Texts Out Now: Jean Pierre Frey, Les voies erratiques de l'urbanisation. Être architecte et devenir urbaniste en Afrique du NordJean Pierre Frey discusses his new book on the urban planning practices in the North African countries. 

Of Bounds and Coffers Hazem Ziada explores a map showing a section of modern Cairo in 1946, developed from the 1860s onwards to the west of the historic city.  

New Texts Out Now: Nadya Hajj, Protection Amid Chaos: The Creation of Property Rights in Palestinian Refugee Camps Nadya Hajj discusses her new book and the central question it addresses: “How and why do property rights develop in transitional political spaces?”

Mapping the Counter-Histories of Port Said: A Critical Reading into a Communal Mapping Project Alia Mossallam and Nermin El Sherif describe the results of a "social history-mapping" experiment that took place in a public history workshop in the city of Port Said.

Camp Pause: Stories from Rashidieh Camp and the Sea Camp Pause continues the interest of Dictaphone Group in looking at the relationship of the individual and the community with the sea as well as their urban and natural environment. The project centers on a video installation they developed with four residents of the Rashidieh refugee camp, located on the coast of Lebanon, just south of the city of Tyre.

عشوائيات ومجتمعات مسوّرة وفضاء عام: عن السياسات الثقافية العالمية والمشهد المعماري المأزوم في مصر من حيث يقف الناظر للعالم العربي في أعقاب ثورات الربيع، بدت كثافة الخطاب الثقافي البديل الصادر آنذاك من مصر، كما من بعض دول المنطقة، كما لو أنها قد أخذت المشهد المعماري المحلّي على حين غرّة. وجد ذلك المشهد، والذي طالما نُظر إليه بوصفه محايد سياسي — إن لم يكن لا سياسي من الأساس— تقني وغير معني بالنقد أو منكفئ على التجميل والأيقنة، نفسه فجأة ضمن مخاضٍ يدفع باتجاه ممارسة معمارية أكثر انخراطاً في الواقع السياسي والاجتماعي. 


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