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The Aftermath of Reconstruction: From Beirut to Coventry

Date(s) - 03/10/2021
8:00 am - 9:30 am

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Arab Urbanism & Arup


Wednesday, March 10, 2021, from 8:00 am to 9:30 am CST.

Panel discussion on post-war reconstruction in Beirut and Coventry.

About this Event

While cities have long been shaped by processes of demolition, deconstruction, and reconstruction, the current moment confronts us –yet again– with ethical and political questions regarding post-war reconstruction. Cities are threatened by new losses to their social, cultural and urban fabrics as they deal with the aftermaths of decades of destruction. In a space between the UK and the Arab region, we look at two key cities that shaped the scholarship and practice of postwar reconstruction. This event brings Beirut (Lebanon) and Coventry (UK) in conversation. Both cities have been transformed through cycles of destructions and reconstructions, albeit in different historical moments and within two different regional settings. To this day, we still reflect on legacies and aftermaths of urban violence and grapple with its reverberations in the present moment. In this event we ask what can we learn from Beirut and Coventry? By addressing waves of reconstruction temporally as well as spatially, we ask, how can we understand the long-term consequences of reconstruction and its aftermaths? What resources can be used in the face of loss of livelihoods, urban fabrics, and heritage when the resources for hope are intangible? To address these questions, Arab Urbanism and Arup invite you to this online panel discussion to hear from scholars-activists and practitioners who have been working on, and with, the two cities and their paradoxes of post-war reconstruction.


  • Dr Elly Harrowell (Coventry University)
  • Dr Mark Webb (Medieval Coventry)
  • Dr Hiba Bou Akar (Columbia GSAPP)
  • Professor Howayda Al-Harithy (American University of Beirut)

With comments from Dr Ammar Azzouz (Arup, University of Oxford) and Dr Aya Nassar (Durham University)

How to Join

The event will be hosted on Microsoft Teams

Please join us via this link


Ammar Azzouz (He / Him) is an architect and and Short-term Research Associate at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. He is an analyst at Arup, a Collective Member at CITY academic journal and an editor at Arab Urbanism. His research focus is on urban violence, destruction and reconstruction of contested cities.

Aya Nassar is an Assistant professor of Human Geography in Durham University. Her research focuses on elemental geography, materiality of cities, fragments of space and storytelling the politics of the postcolony. Her research focuses primarily on Cairo and, sometimes, Coventry.

Elly Harrowell is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University. Her work draws on urban planning, political geography and conflict resolution in order to better understand how people and the environments they live in are affected by conflict or natural disaster, and how we can use this information in order to rebuild in sustainably peaceful ways. Recently she has carried out research regarding the potential of difficult heritage in contributing to peacebuilding after conflict, in cities including Coventry and Nanjing.

Hiba Bou Akar is an Assistant Professor in the Urban Planning program at Columbia GSAPP. Her research focuses on planning in conflict and post-conflict cities, the question of urban security and violence, and the role of religious political organizations in the making of cities. Bou Akar is leading the newly-established Post-Conflict Cities Lab at GSAPP and she is the co-editor of Jadaliyya Cities, an online electronic journal addressing urban issues in the Middle East region.

Howayda Al-Harithy is Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the American University of Beirut, where she is currently serving as Founding Director of the School of Design. She is also a Research Director at the Beirut Urban Lab. She is the editor of and contributor to Lessons in Post-War Reconstruction: Case Studies from Lebanon in the Aftermath of the 2006 War (Routledge, 2010) and a forthcoming book entitled Urban Recovery: Intersecting Displacement with Reconstruction (Routledge 2021).

Mark Webb is a specialist in medieval urban archaeology and history and have published on Coventry’s medieval and post-medieval history. He is a trustee of The Historic Coventry Trust and work for The Prince’s Foundation. He is the author of Local responses to the protection of medieval buildings and archaeology in British post-war town reconstruction: Southampton and Coventry.

[Cover credit: © John Laing and Son Ltd, Arup Archive. Below: ‘Cities Don’t Lie’ by Ammar Azzouz]

Event by Arab Urbanism and Arup.

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