21 Oct 2021 17:00 - 19:00 Online


An event organised by In War’s Wake: Mobility, Belonging, and Becoming in the Aftermath of Urban Conflict research network.


Hiba Bou Akar (Columbia GSAPP)


‘Sedimentary Urbanization: On War, Displacement, and Urban Futures’

This talk revolves around my new research project which investigates how low-income Lebanese families and Syrian refugees gain access to affordable housing in a Beirut south-east periphery. This work is based on an ongoing ethnographic and archival research, that I started in 2017, where I excavate the intertwined histories and geographies of housing markets, the making of the global city, gentrification, suburbanization, and informality with the histories of militarization, occupation, and displacement that have shaped Doha Aramoun, for long seen as a bedroom periphery of Beirut. I do so by tracing the mutations in two housing modalities (villas and mass housing) across time as geopolitical conditions shifted between the era of nation-building (1950s-60s), the civil war (1975-1990) and its aftermath, and the influx of Syrian refugees after the onset of the Syrian war (2011-). I will discuss the concept of sedimentary urbanization, a theoretical lens and method of inquiry that I am developing by theorizing from Beirut about urbanization at a conjunctional moment of local and global contested futures.

About the speaker

Hiba Bou Akar is an Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University. Her award-winning book, For the War Yet to Come: Planning Beirut’s Frontiers (Stanford University Press, 2018), examines how Beirut’s post-civil war peripheries have been transformed through multiple planning exercises into contested frontiers that are mired in new forms of conflict. Bou Akar received her Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the American University of Beirut (AUB) and Master in Urban Studies and Planning from MIT.

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