Experiences of war and peace in public spaces—Aleppo city case study

Ghada Rifai, Seyda Emekci

Article ID: 2789
Vol 8, Issue 3, 2024

VIEWS - 247 (Abstract) 227 (PDF)

Abstract


Urban public spaces are the interface of any city that could tell about the city’s dynamic and status quo. In addition, Urban public spaces play a pivotal role in shaping societies’ dynamics and can significantly affect conflict and peacebuilding initiatives. In a context marked by Conflict’s profound impact, this article aims to contribute to the knowledge base for informed urban interventions that foster positive interactions and reconciliation in post-conflict cities. The article seeks to explore the intricate relationship between urban spaces and their influence on war or to promote sustainable peacebuilding through investigating the various roles of the urban public spaces during the war and peacetimes via residents’ experiences of the diverse spaces’ functions that shaped the city’s status quo. In addition, considering the interplay of social dynamics, conflict history, and the mental spatial map of cities in public urban spaces can influence lasting peace or upcoming conflicts. This article focuses on Aleppo as a case study, understanding the positive and negative experiences from the residents’ perspective before and during the current war in Syria, and even distinguishes between two periods during the recent war, which are the active violence and after the end of the direct active violence, where it could inform the decision-makers and urban planners on the areas of focus while developing post-war urban public spaces to ensure its positive role in fostering peace and be able to deal with the social dynamic and the mental spatial map that developed along with the conflict history. The paper utilised a mixed-methods approach, encompassing a case study review of Aleppo City from an urban perspective and fieldwork involving focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews with Aleppian from different backgrounds and geographic areas that represent the social dynamic of the city, as well as approached Aleppian who are still in living in the city and those who flee out of it to ensure the coverage of different political direction in addition field work engaged with academia and technical from the city who shared their knowledge and experiences working in the city. Participants were prompted to reflect on their pre-war familiarity with public places and share their experiences. These experiences were categorized by enabling a comprehensive understanding of how conflict context influenced these spaces. The article results offer an understanding of the peace-guiding functions of the urban public spaces based on the city residents’ experiences that could inform architects and urban planners in designing spaces conducive to sustainable peacebuilding. The article’s findings underscore the importance of strategically designed urban public spaces in promoting peace and social cohesion.


Keywords


peacebuilding; war and conflict; public spaces; urban planning

Full Text:

PDF


References


Acebeillo J, Gracia-Bragado R (2000). Modification of the (general municipal plan) for the renovation of the industrial areas of Poblenou. Available online: https://bcnroc.ajuntament.barcelona.cat/jspui/bitstream/11703/88895/2/3200.pdf (accessed on 16 November 2023).

Alcaraz GT (2023). Book review: The urban ecologies of divided cities. Available online: https://www.urbanstudiesonline.com/resources/resource/book-review-the-urban-ecologies-of-divided-cities/ (accessed on 16 November 2023).

Almohamad H, Knaack A, Habib B (2018). Assessing spatial equity and accessibility of public green spaces in Aleppo City, Syria. Forests 9(11): 706. doi: 10.3390/f9110706

Multi Sector Assessment (2014). City profile Aleppo. Available online: https://unhabitat.org/sites/default/files/documents/2019-05/aleppo_city_profile.pdf (accessed on 16 November 2023).

Bollens SA (2001). Role of public policy in deeply divided cities: Belfast, Jerusalem, and Johannesburg. Available online: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237448987_Role_of_Public_Policy_in_Deeply_Divided_Cities_Belfast_Jerusalem_and_Johannesburg (accessed on 16 November 2023).

Bollens SA (2006). Urban planning and peacebuilding. Progress in Planning 66(2): 67–139. doi: 10.1016/j.progress.2006.07.001

Bollens S (2012). City and soul in divided societies. City and Soul in Divided Societies. Routledge.

Caner G (2016). Division and the city: Spatial dramas of divided cities. MEGARON/Yıldız Technical University, Faculty of Architecture E-Journal 10(4): 565–579. doi: 10.5505/megaron.2015.29290

Coyles D, Hamber B, Grant A (2021). Hidden barriers and divisive architecture: The role of “everyday space” in conflict and peacebuilding in Belfast. Journal of Urban Affairs 45(6): 1057–1080. doi: 10.1080/07352166.2021.1930017

De Balanzó R, Rodríguez-Planas N (2018). Crisis and reorganization in urban dynamics: The Barcelona, Spain, case study. Ecology and Society 23(4). doi: 10.5751/ES-10396-230406

Di Masso A. (2015). Micropolítica del espacio Público: Sobre los límites contestados de la ciudadanía como práctica de localización. Journal of Social and Political Psychology 3(2): 63–83. doi: 10.5964/jspp.v3i2.322

Dimelli D, Kotsoni A (2023). The reconstruction of post-war cities—Proposing integrated conservation plans for Aleppo’s reconstruction. Sustainability 15(6): 5472. doi: 10.3390/su15065472

Eickelman.f. (2012). Religious Minorities in the Middle East (pp. 123-148). BRILL. Available online: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1163/j.ctv2gjwnw4.10 (13 July 2023)

Elsheshtawy Y (2014). The Arab Spring and the role of public space. Journal of Urban Design 19(4): 405–420.

Ferrier M (2020). Rebuilding the city of Aleppo: Do the Syrian authorities have a plan? Available online: https://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/66668/MED_WPCS_2020_5.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y (accessed on 17 November 2023).

El Haddad M (2017). Barcelona: Small-Scale Public Spaces. Universitat de Barcelona.

Jacobs J (1961). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Vintage.

Kaya A (2017). A tale of two cities: Aleppo and Istanbul. European Review 25(3): 365–387. doi: 10.1017/S1062798717000084

Kurgan L, Merchant M (2016). Conflict Urbanism Aleppo Seminar. Available online: https://aleppo.c4sr.columbia.edu/seminar/index.html (19 September 2023)

Lofland LH (1998). The Public Realm: Exploring the City’s Quintessential Social Territory. Routledge.

Madanipour A (2003). Public and Private Spaces of the City. Routledge.

Munawar NA (2018). Rebuilding Aleppo: Public Engagement in Post-Conflict Reconstruction. ICOMOS University Forum. pp. 1–18.

Parkinson JR (2012). Democracy and Public Space: The Physical Sites of Democratic Performance. Oxford University Press.

Plöger J (2007). Belfast City Report. Available online: https://eprints.lse.ac.uk/3626/1/Belfast_city_report.pdf (accessed on 17 November 2023)

Saad A, Stellmach T (2016). Aleppo 2025 city development strategy: A critical reflection. Urban Design in the Arab World. Routledge.

Said S (2020). Participatory urban planning approaches in the Arab region case studies: Aleppo and Alexandria. Available online: https://kluedo.ub.rptu.de/frontdoor/index/index/docId/6086 (accessed on 17 November 2023).

Zamanifard H, Alizadeh T, Bosman C (2018). Towards a framework for designing post-conflict public urban space. The Journal of Public Space 97–112. doi: 10.1016/j.cities.2018.02.010

Schattle H (2008). The Practices of Global Citizenship. Rowman & Littlefield.

Selvelli G (2017). The siege and urbicide of leningrad and sarajevo: testimonies from lidiya ginzburg and dževad karahasan 2. Available online: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/53186398.pdf (accessed on 17 November 2023).

Sezer C (2020). Visibility, Democratic Public Space and Socially Inclusive Cities the Presence and Changes of Turkish Amenities in Amsterdam. TU Delft Open.

Banerjee T, Loukaitou-Sideris A (2011). The cultural function of urban spaces. Companion to Urban Design. Taylor & Francis.

Saad A, Stellmach T (2010). Aleppo divers, open city. Available online: https://www.tspa.eu/portfolio/3acv/index.html (accessed on 17 November 2023).

Wakely P, Wahab RA (2009). Informal settlements in Aleppo rapid profiles of all informal settlements in Aleppo. Available online: http://madinatuna.com/downloads/IS-Book_en.pdf (accessed on 17 November 2023).

Zukin S, Kasinitz P, Chen X (2015). Global Cities, Local Streets: Everyday Diversity from New York to Shanghai. Routledge.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.24294/jipd.v8i3.2789

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2024 Ghada Rifai, Seyda Emekci

License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

This site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.