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Urban Development and Space

The Changing Face of Street Art in the MENA Region: Diminishing the Voice of the People?

[Ouzville in Progress. May 2017. Image by Camille Reynolds.]

Street art in all of its forms has long been associated with subversive goals and a compelling aesthetic. Created by individuals and communities who strived to push back against oppressive systems of power, contribute to civil and political discourses they were otherwise excluded from, and expand upon the boundaries of artistic expression, street art has always been a highly inclusive, accessible, and often effective method for those in a society to amplify their voice. Political actors across the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region in particular have used street art to articulate dissent and dissatisfaction with oppressive regimes. However, there are also those who ...

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Des déchets aux remblais: imaginaire aménageur, corruption et dérèglements métaboliques à Beyrouth

[La décharge de Borj Hammoud vue du port de pêche avant les récents travaux de démantèlement - Photo Eric Verdeil - CC-ND-NC]

Les scandales à répétition qui éclatent à propos de la gestion des déchets au Liban et plus particulièrement dans l'agglomération de Beyrouth mettent en évidence les montants énormes des contrats en question et leur opacité, et donc plus largement la corruption qui joue un rôle déterminant dans l'organisation de l'action publique. Les débats de l'été 2015 ont ainsi permis d'exposer publiquement les zones d'ombre, anomalies et irrégularités concernant les contrats successifs de Sukleen, et de pointer vers un ensemble de bénéficiaires indirects de cette rente. La réorganisation en principe provisoire de la gestion des déchets à Beyrouth et dans le Mont Liban s'est traduite ...

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Report: Informal Systems in Urban Sustainability and Resilience

The Climate Change and Environment team at the Issam Fares Institute of the American University of Beirut, in partnership with the Lebanon office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, a German non-profit institution working for the public interest, are conducting a research project that explores informality in the urban systems of transportation, water and wastewater, energy, solid waste management, and the use of public space. The main aim of this research project is to identify, map and assess the economic, social and environmental impacts of these informal systems to help establish measures that would reduce their negative impacts, and “institutionalize” or “integrate” ...

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A Lyrical Cruise in Tunis

[Tourbet El Bey, Medina of Tunis, March 2017 by Lana Salman]

Urban scholars spend at least a decade thinking about the cities they research from the time they identify a research problem to the time they publish their manuscript. But we rarely find published those initial thoughts that are as much about misunderstanding as about comprehending the cities we turn into research projects. This essay is based on field notes from my first summer of pre-dissertation fieldwork in Tunisia, May to July 2014. I use pseudonyms to protect the identity of my interlocutors. The current version is loyal to my mis/understandings of Tunis then. I have not added new information to the body of the text though I continue to live in and research the ...

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Destruction and Construction, Resistance and Solidarity: Diyarbakir/Surici Observations Part II

[To read the previous article in this series, “Diyarbakir: The Heart of this City Beats in Suriçi,” click here.] Things will not calm down in Suriçi. The destruction and construction of İçkale Valley has come to a close, and the neighborhood has been transformed into a park. While the closed-off areas have been entirely demolished, the demolition of the Alipaşa and Lalebey neighborhoods—which started under an urban renewal project in 2012, but stopped due to resistance—has resumed. This widening, ...

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Sur l'utilité de se concentrer sur Alger

[Cet article est écrit en réponse à une recension récente publiée par Eric Verdeil du livre de Rachid Sidi Boumedine Bétonvilles contre bidonvilles. Cent ans de bidonvilles à Alger.] En réponse à votre commentaire sur mon ouvrage, je souhaite réagir à votre remarque sur l’absence d’une mise en perspective de la situation des bidonvilles à Alger par rapport au contexte des pays maghrébins. J'avais médité un long développement pour ce qui concerne une étude comparative "Maghreb" puis j'ai ...

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Life in a Street: How Informal Mechanisms Govern Scarce Public Spaces in Nabaa, Beirut

The informal mechanisms of organization in everyday public life have been at the core of concerns of many researchers and practitioners (e.g., Rukmana and Hegel in Indonesia, Mehrotra in India, and Nagati in Egypt). While examining these processes in different contexts, the focus was typically on their interplay with "formal" regulations or in relation to the private built environment. Few highlighted the significance of these informal arrangements per se and their importance in governing ...

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Des bidonvilles aux villes de béton : une somme sur l’évolution urbaine d’Alger

Recensé: Rachid Sidi Boumedine, Bétonvilles contre bidonvilles. Cent ans de bidonvilles à Alger (Alger : APIC éditions, 2016) Il est rare, en Europe ou aux Etats-Unis, que les professionnels de l'urbanisme soient en même temps des chercheurs occupant une position centrale dans le champ académique des études urbaines[1]. Tel est en revanche le cas en Tunisie d'un Morched Chabbi, et en Algérie d'un Rachid Sidi Boumedine, tous deux à la fois sociologues et urbanistes praticiens. Ayant alterné ...

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