City Debates 20th Edition: Disrupted Urbanisms
In the past decade, many of the critical pillars through which cities and their governance were thought and studied have been profoundly reshaped by the ravaging influences of capitalism, colonialism, the climate crisis, and other man-made forces that rule their transformations and shape their possibilities. This conference ambitions to unravel some of the il/logics behind these forces of rule, document their impacts, and imagine, when possible, alternative possibilities for more equitable and viable paths to contemporary urbanization.
The conference coincides with AUB's first Palestine Week and includes several panels that address critical urban issues shaping the history and present of Palestine, as its people battle a century long colonial project of erasure.

Dates: March 6 – 8, 2024
Location: Architecture Lecture Hall – Dar al Handasah Architecture Building, School of Architecture and Design, AUB


City Debates 20th Edition is organized by the Beirut Urban Lab, the Master in Urban Planning, Policy and Design Programs, and the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR)

This event is open to the public. 

To join the event, please register by emailing:  [email protected]

DAY 1: Wednesday March 6 

5:30-6:00pm | Registration, Coffee

6:00-6:15pm | Introductory Note
Mona Fawaz, MUPP-MUD/AUB, Beirut Urban Lab/AUB, and IJURR Editorial Collective
Howayda Al-Harithy, Director, School of Architecture and Design, American University of Beirut
Zaher Dawy, Provost, American University of Beirut

[Special Palestine Week Event]
6:15-7:30pm | Opening Keynote 
Mapping as Decolonial Praxis: Indigenous Imagination amidst Settler Destruction, from Algeria to Palestine and Hawaii 
Nour Joudah, UCLA

Hiba Bou Akar, Columbia University
Rami Zurayk, AUB

DAY 2: Thursday March 7

9:00-11:00am | Panel 
1 (Online Panel): Financialized Cities, MENA and beyond [pre-recorded panel]
Moderator/Discussant: Salim Rouhana, World Bank  

Endowments and Transnational Networks: The Urban Politics of al-Jam'iyyat al-Khayriya in Kuwait 
Asseel Al-Raqam, Kuwait University
Transnational Speculations on Urban Land: A Comparative Approach
Ozan Karaman, CNRS (France)
The Changing Face of Baghdad: Corruption, Urbanization, and Environmental Degradation
Zeinab Shuker, Sam Houston State University
The Depoliticization of Aid as A Colonial Practice in Palestine 
Muna Dajani, LSE

11:30am-1:00pm | Panel 2: The New Faces of Statehood
Moderator/Discussant: Rima Majed, AUB

Insurgent Bureaucrats: Mobilizing for Social Justice within the Local State
Walter Nicholls, University of California, Irvine
Making the State Care: The Role of Political Willingness and Brokerage in Bogota’s New Feminist Care Policy
María José (Majo) Álvarez Rivadulla, Universidad de los Andes
Securing Hinterlands: Troubling State and Space in Baghdad
Omar Sirri, University of Toronto

[Special Palestine Week Event]
3:00-5:30pm | Panel 3: Mapping Territories, Understanding Histories
Moderator/Discussant: Umit Acikgoz, AUB

Interrupted Futures: Planning Modern Jaffa, 1936-1948
Nadi Abusaada, ETH Zurich
Interrogating Recovery: The Case of Gaza
Howayda Al-Harithy, AUB
Refugee Heritage 
Sandi Hilal, Lund University and DAAR

5:30-6:00pm | Break

6:00-7:30pm | Keynote 2
The Governance and Politics of Global South Metropolises
Eduardo Marques, University of São Paulo

Mona Harb, MUPP-MUD/AUB, Beirut Urban Lab/AUB
Seteney Shami, Arab Council for the Social Sciences

DAY 3: Friday March 8

9:00-11:00am | Panel 4 (Online Panel): Governing Territories
Moderator/Discussant: Yaser Abunnasr, AUB

Piecing Together Istanbul’s Puzzle of Governance Oddities: Navigating financialization, populist authoritarianism, regulatory ambiguity, municipal dysfunction, and burgeoning entrepreneurial communities
Tuna Tasan-Kok, University of Amsterdam
Revolutionary Islamic Organizations and Land Ownership Conflicts in Urban and Peri-Urban Areas of Tehran
Azadeh Mashayekhi, UCL
Financialization and the Making of New Wuhan
Zhigang Li, 
Wuhan University
Thinking the City-Region from the Periphery: Spatial and Political Reconfiguration in Morocco

Maryame Amarouche, University Jean Moulin Lyon 3

[Special Palestine Week Event]
11:30am-1:00pm | Panel 5: The Many Faces of Colonialism
Moderator/Discussant: Jens Hanssen, Orient-Institut Beirut

National Plans for the Day After: The State Process, Capital, and Distribution of Precarity and Stability across Palestine
Kareem Rabie, University of Illinois, Chicago
Between Land and Live: Insurgent Geographies of Reproduction in Palestine’s Frontiers 
Omar Jabary Salamanca, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Rhythms of Disruption: Palestinian Everyday Life Encounters of Spatio-temporal Injustice 
Maha Samman, Al-Quds University

2:30- 5:00pm | Panel 6: Governing with and without the State
Moderator/Discussant: Rana Sukarieh, AUB

A Seascape of Power: Turkish Energy Infrastructure in Ghana

Gokce Gunel, Rice University
Politics in the Crevices: Urban Design and the Making of Property Markets in Cairo and Istanbul
Sarah El-Kazaz, SOAS, University of London
Urban Governance and Cityness: New Egypt and the Financialized Afterlives of Planning Traditions 
Momen El-Husseiny, American University of Cairo
Refugees between Camps and Cities: Questions to “Formal” Planning at Times of Multiple Crises
Ayham Dalal, German University in Cairo

5:00pm | Closing Note: Mona Harb

[Special Palestine Week Event]
6:00-7:30pm | [In the Issam Fares Institute, Bassile Antoine Meguerdiche Conference Hall, basement level auditorium] 
Closing Roundtable: Palestine, How can we care as Urbanists
Moderated by: Hiba Bou Akar, Columbia University