02_Redefining the City for the Public

Mona Fawaz

Mona Fawaz is an associate professor of urban planning and studies in the Department of Architecture and Design at the American University of Beirut. Based on an interdisciplinary approach that looks at actor strategies, legal/informal regulatory frameworks, and property regimes, her work investigates the social production of city spaces in a series of empirical case studies taken in informal settlements as well as in large-scale public and private urban developments.

Fawaz completed her graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after earning a bachelor of architecture at the American University of Beirut. Recent publications include “The Politics of Property in Planning: Hezbollah’s Reconstruction of Haret Hreik as Case Study,” in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (May 2014), and “Towards the Right to the City in Informal Settlements,” in Locating Right to the City in the Global South (Routledge, 2013).

  1. Notes on Beirut’s Historiography: Towards a People’s History of the City.
  2. Living Beirut’s Security Zones: An Investigation of the Modalities and Practice of Urban Security: This paper describes how “security” in Beirut acts as a reflection of and a catalyst for social and political divisions.
  3. Neoliberal Urbanity and the Right to the City” this study investigates how the formation of informal settlements since the 1950s had provided low-income dwellers in Beirut (Lebanon) a means to conceive of and engage in city making (neighbourhood production, management, and organization) at a time when state regulations and/or market constraints would have excluded them from the city.
  4. Mona Fawaz is also the director of the Social Justice and the City research programme at the Issam Fares Institute of Public Policy at AUB, The research programme, which focuses on making Lebanon’s cities more inclusive, aims to formulate an agenda for research, mobilisation and policy advocacy between scholars, policymakers and activists.

Further reading here. 

Felipe Vera

Felipe Vera was trained as an Architect at Universidad de Chile (2009) and holds MDeS in Urbanism, Landscape & Ecology from Harvard Graduate School of Design (2013).

He is professor and co-director of the Center for Ecology, Landscape and Urbanism at the UAI DesignLab in Chile and Consultant at the Initiative for Sustainable and Emergent Cities at the Inter American Development Bank.

He led the curatorial team of the 2017 Chile Biennial entitled Diálogos Impostergables and has previously been curator of many international exhibits about architecture and urbanism, among them are the biennial pavilions Ephemeral Urbanism: Cities in Constant Flux at the Venice Biennale (2016) and Radical Temporalities at the Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism (2015). He has curated exhibits in Chile and abroad as from instance Glosario para el Nuevo Milenio at the Museum of Contemporary Arts of Santiago MAC (2015), The Ephemeral City: Landscapes of Religion in South Asia and Latin America at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (2015) and Kumbh Mela, Mapping The Ephemeral Mega City at Harvard University, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (2014).

  1. Kumbh Mela: Designing the World’s Largest Gathering Of People,by Rahul Mehrotra and Felipe Vera. In the book Felipe Vera, explains how infrastructure and street grids are deployed in a way that not only enables the Kumbh Mela festival itself, but enhances its ephemeral and democratic spirit.
  2. Ephemeral Urbanism: Does Permanence Matter?

Kareem Ibrahim

Architect and urban researcher who worked on UNDP’s Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project and on the Aga Khan Trust for Culture’s Darb al-Ahmar project. The latter project was an ambitious urban revitalisation programme aimed at bringing sustainable improvements in the living conditions of one of Cairo’s historic inner-city districts by upgrading housing, public buildings and open spaces and developing the social and economic opportunities in the local community.

  1. Aga Khan Trust for Culture – Cairo:
    1.  Urban Regeneration in the Darb Al-Ahmar District, Al-Azhar Park,Video (1), (2).
    2. Cairo and the Revitalisation of Darb Al-Ahmar.
    3.  Ayyubid historical wall conservation.
  2. Unesco world heritage centre: urban regeneration of historic cairo.
  3. Post-Revolutionary Urban Egypt: A New Mode of Practice?: The paper reflects on how Egypt has been witnessing increased mobilization that has reflected on the relationship between ordinary citizens, and their neighbourhoods and cities. In parallel, professionals have become more engaged in this field – calling for the “Right to the City”.

Further reading here

Kareem Ibrahim is the co-founder of an NGO, http://takween-eg.com/.

Books and other resources:Cairo: Renewing the Historic City.

He is the co-creator of a webpage, helping disseminate information on Egypt, https://www.tadamun.info/.

Anthony Acciavatti

Anthony Acciavatti works at the intersection of architecture and the history of science and technology. His most recent book, Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River (2015), is the first comprehensive mapping and environmental history of the Ganga River Basin in over half a century. In 2016 the book was awarded the John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize. Trained in architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design and Harvard University and in the history of science at Princeton University, Acciavatti currently teaches at Yale University where he is the Daniel Rose Visiting Assistant Professor in Urban Studies. He is a principal of Somatic Collaborative in New York and a founding editor of Manifest: A Journal of the Americas. He has written for The New York Times, Cabinet, Indian Express, Architectural Design, and Topos among other places.

  1. Anthony Acciavatti was awarded the 2016 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize for: Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River
  2. Video of a talk by Anthony Acciavatti: an overview of the Ganges Machine, a method of mapping that exposes the various layers of infrastructure and adjoining built form.