For the War Yet to Come: Planning Beirut’s Frontiers

Hiba Bou Akar in conversation with Faranak Miraftab, Timothy Mitchell, and M. Christine Boyer, moderated by Amale Andraos, introduction by Brinkley Messick.

Stanford University Press’ For the War Yet to Come: Planning Beirut’s Frontiers is the forthcoming book by Assistant Professor of Urban Planning Hiba Bou Akar.

Beirut is a city divided. Following the Green Line of the civil war, dividing the Christian east and the Muslim west, today hundreds of such lines dissect the city. For the residents of Beirut, urban planning could hold promise: a new spatial order could bring a peaceful future. But with unclear state structures and outsourced public processes, urban planning has instead become a contest between religious-political organizations and profit-seeking developers. Neighborhoods reproduce poverty, displacement, and urban violence.

For the War Yet to Come examines urban planning in three neighborhoods of Beirut’s southeastern peripheries, revealing how these areas have been developed into frontiers of a continuing sectarian order. Bou Akar argues these neighborhoods are arranged, not in the expectation of a bright future, but according to the logic of “the war yet to come”: urban planning plays on fears and differences, rumors of war, and paramilitary strategies to organize everyday life. As she shows, war in times of peace is not fought with tanks, artillery, and rifles, but involves a more mundane territorial contest for land and apartment sales, zoning and planning regulations, and infrastructure projects.


Brinkley Messick

Director, Middle East Institute at Columbia University

Hiba Bou Akar

Assistant Professor, Urban Planning program, Columbia GSAPP

Faranak Miraftab

Professor of Urban Planning and Regional Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Timothy Mitchell

William B Ransford Professor of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies, Columbia University

M. Christine Boyer

William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Architecture and Urbanism, Princeton University, School of Architecture

Amale Andraos

Dean, Columbia GSAPP

Free and open to the public. Books available for sale.

Organized by Columbia GSAPP in collaboration with the Middle East Institute, Columbia University.


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