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Reconstructing Beirut by Demolishing its Identity

Far from being Paris of the Middle East, traditional red tiled roof and sandstone houses suffocate inside the “other” vision of Beirut The Lebanese housing market is a bit of a strange phenomenon. A largely unregulated construction market coupled with grandiose projects from ambitious rich gulf state developers and Lebanese expatriates has created a surplus […]

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World’s First All-Women City Coming to Saudi Arabia

The patriarchal kingdom of Saudi Arabia creates an all-female city where (the arguably better half) of humanity can work freely, within Islamic guidelines. Saudi Arabia has an increasingly educated female population, but its ultraconservative interpretation of Wahabi sharia law and rigid tribal customs forbid women from interacting with men. The upshot is chronic female unemployment. An […]

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Arab Towns Get Sewerage Upgrade in Israel

A relief to the environment as Israel allots money to upgrade poorly services sewers in Arab towns. Last Wednesday, Israeli Energy and Water Resources Minister Uzi Landau announced the government is allocating NIS 355 million to improve the sewerage systems in Arab neighborhoods across Israel. In recent years, the neglected and dilapidated sewer infrastructures in […]

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Blatt Chaya Revives Traditional Floor Tile Making in Lebanon

Edgard Chaya and his family bring back ancient tile making practices and Lebanese “neo-traditional” architecture After being handed over a case filled with 12 brass molds and stumbling upon a jumble of colored tile fragments and exposed patterns in his family’s wrecked cement tile factory, retiree Edgard Chaya was destined towards a new chapter in his […]

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Mercer’s Oman Eco-City Ranking Suspect

Can a city relying on oil revenue and desalination really be labeled “eco”? (Image by dislona via flickr) At first, we felt a surge of pride to learn that Muscat, Oman, is the only Middle Eastern city on Mercer’s top 50 eco-city ranking. It ranks 48, just behind Glasgow, but ahead of Frankfurt. We were […]

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Preserving Acre's History, Heritage and People

A living conservation laboratory (above): a new partnership with Rome will boost Acre’s efforts to protect its ancient history, making it more sustainable architecturally and for its residents and visitors. Declared a World Heritage site by the United Nations (UNESCO), for more than 20 years the Israeli city of Acre (pronounced “Akko” by the locals) […]