“DiverCities: Contested Space and Urban Identities in Beirut, Cairo and Tehran”
From the 12th until the 14th of December 2013 the Orient-Institut Beirut and the Goethe-Institut Beirut will be hosting the international conference “DiverCities: Contested Space and Urban Identities in Beirut, Cairo and Tehran”. The conference aims to look at urban governance, its agents, agendas and options, through contested space and conflicting urban concepts, identity claims and social environments. Situated at the core of social and political fractions, contested spaces reveal insights into the dynamics of diverse societies and urban identities.
The focus will be on the three cities of Beirut, Cairo and Tehran, each highlighting different types of fragmentations, political, cultural and social. Different social layers coexisting in close proximity to each other, in combination with competing economic interests over the already densely populated urban space, make Beirut host to many areas of contestation. In Tehran cultural fragmentations impact on urban life, cultural here referring to norms, values and practices, what is considered right and wrong by different sections of society and the multi-layered ruling establishment. Cairo has to constantly deal with the challenges rapid urban expansion brings with it, in addition to social struggles that have only been reinvigorated since 2011. How are contested spaces governed on a local level? The aim of the conference is to gain insights into experiences of urban governance as it is perceived and practiced by different social agents in view of the ambivalence of public space in diverse societies.