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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.


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Turkey Map and Stats

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Population (2016 est.): 80,274,604
Government: Republican Parliamentary Democracy
Year of independence: 1923
GDP: $856.8 billion (2016 est.); $1.698 trillion (2016 est., purchasing power parity)
Unemployment: 10.9% (2016 est.); Youth Unemployment (ages 15-24): 24.5% (est. Jan 2017)
Internet Users: 53.7% - 42.681 million (July 2015 est.)
Exchange Rate: ~ 3.5 Turkish lira per US dollar (2016 est.)
GDP Growth Rate: 2.9% (2016 est.)
Military Expenditures: 1.69% of GDP (2016) (World Rank: 35)
Health Expenditures: 5.4% of GDP (2014) (World Rank: 103)
Population Growth Rate: 5.4% of GDP (2014)
Age Structure: 0-14 years: 25.08% (male 10,303,153/female 9,833,713); 15-24 years: 16.11% (male 6,605,634/female 6,329,921); 25-54 years: 43.15% (male 17,541,137/female 17,094,141); 55-64 years: 8.36% (male 3,335,021/female 3,374,965); 65 years and over: 7.3% (male 2,603,655/female 3,253,264) (2016 est.)
Literacy: 95% (Male: 98.4%; Female: 91.8% [2015 est.])
Religious Demographics: Sunni Muslim 80-85%; Alevi Muslim 15-20%; Christian (various denominations) 0.13%; Jewish 0.03%
Ethnic Demographics: Turks 80%, Kurds 18%, Arabs 1.4%, Armenians 0.1%, and other (Assyrian, Greek Orthodox, Georgian, Circassian) 0.5%
Languages: Turkish, Kurdish, Zaza, Arabic, Armenian, Greek, Albanian, Neo-Aramaic Laz, Ladino
Area: 301,159 square miles