Conférence internationale du CELAT-UQAM – Brokering Anxieties and Interests : Beirut Post-Blast’s Reconstruction, par Mona Fawaz

Brokering Anxieties and Interests : Beirut Post-Blast’s Reconstruction

Négocier les anxiétés et les intérêts. Reconstruire Beyrouth après l’explosion

Dans le cadre de la série Les temps qui viennent | conférences & rencontres, le CELAT-UQAM vous convie à une conférence internationale de Mona Fawaz, professeure en études urbaines et planification à l’American University de Beyrouth, co-fondatrice du Beirut Urban Lab.

Le jeudi 5 novembre 2020, de 13h à 14h30 (Heure de Montréal).

La conférence sera prononcée en anglais, et la discussion qui suivra se fera en anglais et en français.

Inscriptions : celat@uqam.ca

Résumé : On September 30th, 2020, the Lebanese parliament passed a law to organize the reconstruction of the neighborhoods devastated by the August 4 port explosion. The law’s declared goal is to facilitate the return of residents to their homes. In this presentation, I use the law as a window to analyze how the reconstruction is being brokered in this critical moment of the city’s history. I unbundle the assumptions, interests, and anxieties embedded in its text and locate these forces within the trends that had shaped the neighborhoods in the decades prior to the explosion. I argue that many of the “threats” identified by this law and by most of the published recovery frameworks pre-exist the blast by decades. These include the eviction of dwellers and their impoverishment, abandonment of building, high rates of vacancies, and business closures. I further argue that the law is likely to entrench some of the very forces that led to these realities: it restricts property sales rather than speculative land practices, maintains the space for exception that has traditionally facilitated the monopoly of elites over the production of space, disguises sectarian anxiety behind an investment in people and neighborhoods, and delegates the responsibility of reconstruction to residents, international funders, and NGOs/INGOs while reducing the role of the state to damage assessments and the channeling of foreign funds to victims. My argument is based on studies conducted about Beirut’s urbanization at the Beirut Urban Lab for the past two years as well as my own observations and analyses of historical and current conditions.  

Mona Fawaz est professeure d’Études urbaines et de planification à l’American University de Beyrouth. Elle est aussi co-fondatrice du Beirut Urban Lab, un centre de recherche qui regroupe décideur.se.s politiques, militant.e.s et chercheur.e.s du Liban et de la région sur les questions de l’inclusion urbaine et de la reprise postconflit. Professeure Fawaz dirige aussi l’axe urbain de l’Issam Fares Institute of Public Policy à l’American University de Beyrouth et est membre associée du Center for Policy Studies. Elle est l’autrice de plus de 50 articles, rapports et chapitres d’ouvrages sur les enjeux du logement, de la propriété, de la loi, de l’informalité, ainsi que la théorie et la pédagogie de la planification.