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Cities Media Roundup (February 2017)

Erbil's main square (2014) [photo by Ask Gudmundsen via Wikimedia Commons] Erbil's main square (2014) [photo by Ask Gudmundsen 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 Narratives

Beyrouth, entre cauchemar urbain et rêves utopiques Thierry Boissière and Jamil Mouawad discuss the frequent characterization of Beirut as a crisis-stricken city vs. an exceptional city, and provide a typology of citizens' initiatives that propose to change the current state of things.

In Love with the Ugly Face of Alexandria The ugly face of the city has little on offer for a romantic weekend, but those who want to understand what kind of city Alexandria is today and what it may become, should not miss it.

Urban Development and Real-Estate

Urban Revitalisation in Middle East Cities Over the past fifty years, development in the rapidly-growing cities of the Arabian Gulf has been based primarily on ‘greenfield’ development. Recently; however, investment is turning towards revitalization of existing urban areas. 

تعديل مرسوم التنظيم المدني: تشريع الباطون The Lebanese government changed an urbanism decree to increase the exploitation factors in agricultural areas, which will have dire impacts on the built and natural environments.

مغامرة بمليار دولار: تاجر يرهن السوق العقارية؟ Rumors about the potential role of the Central Bank in re-igniting the stagnant real-estate development market in Beirut, by injecting more capital through banks, are raising fears of speculation and evictions.

Cities and War

Providing Shelter in Urban Iraq: Where the Displaced Meet the Poor As displaced people increasingly head for cities, humanitarian actors have started providing shelter solutions for them alone. Here's why that won't work—and also what would.

Le clivage alarmant entre citadins et ruraux en Irak For Feurat Alani writing from Mosul and Falluja for Orient XXI, the attenuation of the cleavages between urbanites and rural dwellers is key for the reconstruction of the society, and the basis on which a new Iraq could be rebuilt.

Urban Services

24/7 Water Supply in Beirut: Fantasy or Reality?
The World Bank’s blog feature a pilot scheme success in providing water 24/7 in one small area of Beirut.

Les réfugiés syriens pèsent lourdement sur le réseau électrique Rose Sunniva reports for L’Orient-Le Jour, about a study released by the Lebanese ministry of Energy that highlights how Syrian refugees’ electricity consumption is very heavy and partially explains the continuing power cuts in the country [in French].


CEDEJ’s monthly press review on Cities in Egypt is out.

New report: Migrants and Refugees in the City The Association de Professionnels pour le Développement Urbain publishes its trimestrial bulletin on migrants and refugees [also available in French]

New Report: Eastern Expectations: The Changing Dynamics in Syria’s Tribal Regions Syria’s conflict has forced tribal communities to turn inwards, and such localization has further undermined tribal solidarities.

New Report: Governance and Service Delivery in the MENA Region This paper explores the clientelistic equilibrium that remains prevalent in much of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region during the post-independence period, undermining service delivery and creating inequality in access. 

Recently on

Why Space Matters in the Arab Uprisings While most other electronic outlets have been scratching the surface of such questions, focusing on formal aspects and general descriptions of urbanism, we pride ourselves at Jadaliyya Cities in contributing to critical urban scholarship, which has been informing reflective practice and urban activism.

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