I am happy to announce the release of a new article discussing sustainability in the Arab world. It is part of a set of reflections based on litterature review and short field trips I have documented along the years, and it develops in particular my recent take in Energy World and last year’s conference paper on Wise cities in the Mediterranean. I would like to thank Steffen Wippel and Christian Steiner who invited me to contribute on this topic in their edited theme issue for Middle East-Topics & Arguments on Urban Development. It also comes as an answer to Christian Beier’s piece “Worlding Cities in the Middle East and North Africa – Arguments for a Conceptual Turn“.
Here is the summary of this short piece: Arab Sustainable Urbanism: Worlding Strategies, Local Struggles
Despite strong warnings, Arab cities seem reluctant to embark in ambitious schemes addressing sustainability issues. The article draws on a literature review to highlight two arguments. Firstly state-led governance prioritizes in most urban settings social stability and claims to modern and resource-consuming comfort. It tends to favor private interests, which conceives sustainability as a business and marginalizes local authorities and even more, civic movements including green parties and associations. Secondly, the dominant framings of sustainability tend to focus on global transitions (GHG emissions and low carbon energy), hence overlooking local claims for sustainability that do not fit in the global environmental narratives, thus dismissing it. Nonetheless, these issues represent key motivations for the local definition of a sustainable urban future.