American Univesity of Beirut

Pick of the Month series: May Edition

​​​As a continuation to the “Pick of the Month" news series highlighting special items from the library collections and launched in April, the UL is happy to announce this month's pick: a book by Dr. Howayda Al Harithy, entitled “Urban recovery: Intersecting displacement with post war reconstruction."

Dr. Al-Harithy's edited book is published by Routledge as part of the Routledge Cultural Heritage and Tourism Series and is a result of the City Debates 2019 seminar.

The book comprises 4 parts and 17 chapters. The below chapters from the book are by AUB faculty members, including Dr. Al-Harithy herself:

  • Re-conceptualizing urban recovery in the age of protracted displacement / H. Al-Harithy (pp. 1-12)
  • Spatial patterns, gray spacing, and planning policy implications: The urbanization of forced population displacement in Lebanon / M. Harb, M. Fawaz, & C. Al-Hage (pp. 65-89)
  • Learning to be a city: Emerging practices for housing the displaced in Bar Elias (Lebanon) / J. Dabaj, C. Boano, & H. Al-Harithy (pp. 167-187)
  • The [framing] of heritage in the post-war reconstruction of Beirut central district (Lebanon) / H. Al-Harithy & D. Mneimneh (pp. 239-270)
  • Confiscated imaginaries: Notes on a work in progress / O. Mismar (pp. 397-410)

Summary of the book:

This book calls for re-conceptualising urban recovery by exploring the intersection of reconstruction and displacement in volatile contexts in the Global South. It explores the spatial, social, artistic, and political conditions that promote urban recovery. Reconstruction and displacement have often been studied independently as two different processes of physical recovery and human migration towards safety and shelter. It is hoped that by intersecting or even bridging reconstruction with displacement we can cross-fertilize and exploit both discourses to reach a greater understanding of the notion of urban recovery as a holistic and multi-layered process. This book brings multidisciplinary perspectives into conversation with each other to look beyond the conflict-related displacement and reconstruction and into the greater processes of crises and recovery. It uses empirical research to examine how trauma, crisis, and recovery overlap, coexist, collide and redefine each other. 

The core exploration of this edited collection is to understand how the oppositional framing of destruction versus reconstruction and place-making versus displacement can be disrupted; how displacement is spatialized; and how reconstruction is extended to the displaced people rebuilding their lives, environments, and memories in new locations. In the process, displacement is framed as agency, the displaced as social capital, post-conflict urban environments as archives, and reconstructions as socio-spatial practices. With local and international insights from scholars across disciplines, this book will appeal to academics and students of urban studies, architecture, and social sciences, as well as those involved in the process of urban recovery.

Editor's biography:

Howayda Al-Harithy is a Professor of architecture at the department of architecture and design at the American University of Beirut and a Research Director at the Beirut Urban Lab. She is the editor of Lessons in Post-War Reconstruction: Case Studies from Lebanon in the Aftermath of the 2006 War published by Routledge in 2010.

Researchers and readers can

For more access information and assistance, please contact Jafet Library by email: or on extension 2620. 

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