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The battle for Beirut's urban spaces: A conversation with Mona Harb

Lebanon is experiencing what the World Bank has said is one of the worst financial crises seen globally since the mid-nineteenth century, it was also the scene of the devastating port blast which destroyed much of its capital, with high levels of corruption and a currency that has lost almost all its value, will Lebanon's cities survive the constant attacks?

June 7, 2023 at 4:00 pm

Nothing symbolises corruption, greed, sectarianism, foreign intervention and neoliberal transformation quite like Beirut. And nothing symbolises resistance, resilience, communal solidarity and a thirst for change quite like Beirut. Join us as we talk to Mona Harb about urban politics in the Lebanese capital.

Mona Harb is tenured professor of urban studies and politics at the American University of Beirut (AUB) where she is also co-founder and research lead at the Beirut Urban Lab. Her research investigates urban governance and city-making in contexts of dysfunctional states and disasters, and the role of urban activists in collective action and oppositional politics. She is the author of Le Hezbollah à Beirut: de la banlieue à la ville, co-author of Leisurely Islam: Negotiating Geography and Morality in Shi’i South Beirut, co-editor of Local Governments and Public Goods: Assessing Decentralization in the Arab World and co-editor of Refugees as City-Makers, and of more than 80 journal articles, book chapters and other publications.

Harb is the coordinator of the AUB graduate programs in Urban Planning, Policy and Design, and was previously Associate Dean of her faculty, and Chairperson of the department of Architecture and Design. She provides professional advice on urban development issues for several international organisations (ESCWA, WB, EU, UNDP).

READ: Lebanon Parliament to convene in June to elect new president