Rethinking Urban Reconstruction through Informal Settlements, a Syrian Historical Perspective
A video recording of this presentation is available here.

Abstract: This presentation questions the reconstruction of Syrian cities from a historical and ontological reading of informal urbanization and its treatment in Syria. The question of informality should be considered in relation to Syrian urban reconstruction policies and perspectives. Whereas before 2011, informal settlements housed on average 30 percent of the inhabitants of large cities (40 percent of the population of Damascus), the conflict caused an increase in the informalization of both land and property markets. The great majority of destruction is located in informal neighborhoods. Law 10/2018, established for the reconstruction of cities, is based on a decree initially tailored for the urban renewal of informally built neighbourhoods. Through a historical analysis of competing urban policies towards informal settlements, and their rationale related to land and urban perception, I consider not only the conditions for rebuilding cities that were largely informal but use urban informality to think about the processes of reconstruction.

Biography: Valérie Clerc is a Senior Research Fellow at the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD - Institut de recherche pour le développement) and at the Center for Social Science Studies on Africa, America and Asia (CESSMA). She holds a doctorate in urban planning and architect, her research focuses on cities of the Global South, informal settlements and public policies. As well as, land and housing issue, property markets, sustainable urban development, public action and urban planning practices. In Syria, she was responsible (2007- 2011) for the Urban Observatory of the Middle East at the French Institute of the Near East (Ifpo), where she led inter alia a research program on land competition and access to housing in the Maghreb and the Middle East. She has also worked on Lebanon, Cambodia, India and Myanmar.

For a video of this presentation, click here.
Clerc, Valérie. “Rethinking Urban Reconstruction through Informal Settlements, a Syrian Historical Perspective.” Paper presented at "Reconstruction as Violence: The Case of Aleppo," Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 10-11, 2019.
Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT
reconstruction process