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Posted: March 22| Huma Gupta

Approaches to conservation are constantly evolving.  In countries where homelessness, armed conflict, displaced persons and budget constraints are the conservation context, conserving monuments without social considerations can be controversial or simply unaccepted.  As Erbil’s citadel was recently put on the provisional UNESCO world heritage list, they have included a plan for 50 families to move into the citadel after it undergoes conservation efforts.  It is important to note that there have always been families living in the citadel, but the houses are in danger of collapse due to structural degradation.  Though some old-school conservation purists would highlight the danger to the site by public use, public use in the forms of tourism, housing or recreation is also what keeps sites viable.  Read the article below for more information.

niqash | Qassim Khidhir Hamad | thu 18 mar 10

Continue Reading »

March 20, 2010 |  Huma Gupta

I struggle with the privileged status enjoyed by US companies to penetrate the Iraqi markets post-Occupation.  Iraqi agriculture has suffered extensively due to the US-backed sanctions in the 1990s, followed by bombing, instability, and continued lack of access to key agricultural products.  This has led to the extremely high prices of Iraqi agricultural products, and the subsequent dependence on cheaper agricultural imports, for example, from neighboring Syria.  It is also worthy to note that the 1990s era sanctions have STILL NOT BEEN LIFTED!  There is talk to lift these soon, however.

Since Iraqi farmers are in a vulnerable state and desperately need access to agricultural products to improve infrastructure and crop yield at lower prices, US companies will play a foundational role in shaping Iraqi agricultural practices.  And who will these companies be?  Will Monsanto be among them?  Will we see GMO-seed + Monsanto pesticides being exported to Iraq and attack Iraq’s natural biodiversity?

Here is an invite sent from  Darrell A. Upshaw, Public/Private Sector Advisor for USDA/FAS/OCBD in the Trade and Science Capacity Building Div

USDA INVITATION

We cordially invite you to attend the USDA Agribusiness Trade Mission to the Republic of Iraq.

The USDA will sponsor an Agribusiness Trade Mission to the Republic of Iraq, tentatively scheduled for June 6-10, in Baghdad, Iraq.  We have recommended FFAS Under Secretary James Miller lead the Mission to Iraq.

We are looking to attract U.S. businesses who are interested in opening or extending market access opportunities in Iraq.  The formal announcement will be available in the upcoming weeks, as we are awaiting confirmation on the USDA principal who will lead the Mission.  In the meantime, if you or colleagues are interested in this opportunity, please don’t hesitate to contact me as soon as possible and I will provide additional information.

Mission Goal:  The goal of the Iraq Agribusiness Trade Mission is to provide U.S. participants with first-hand market information, access to government decision makers, Continue Reading »

March 20, 2010 |  Huma Gupta

Building off of Bernadette’s post on the housing shortage in Iraq, this is an article that focuses specifically on Kurdistan. It has prompted the Kurdistan Regional government to allocate $300 million for subsidized housing projects. They will also be capping housing costs at 48 million dinars (US $40,000). It would be interesting to find out who is designing and building these housing projects. American, European, Arab, or Iraqi contractors?

cost of housing is ‘number one problem’ in kurdistan
niqash | Qassim Khidhir Hamad | thu 04 feb 10

A survey conducted by the Kurdistan Institution for Political Issues (KIPI), released on 13th January, showed that the cost of housing in the region is people’s number one cause for concern. Continue Reading »

March 11, 2010 | Dina El Shammaa, Abu Dhabi Deputy editor, Posted by Gulfnews

Documentary channel will air one-hour television special showcasing major landmarks of the UAE capital Continue Reading »

March 6, 2010 | Maryam Eskandari
<i>image courtesy estidama.org</i>Le Corbusier’s dream has become a real proposal for Perkins+Will. Le Corbusier must have cracked a smile in his grave when Perkins + Will architect announced their recent receipt of the “Architectural Review / MIPIM Future Projects award” in the tallest building category for their proposal for the Al- Birr foundation headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Perkins + Will “Garden Tower” explicitly states that it was designed to reinterpret the typology of an urban tower through an exploration of Le Corbusier’s brise-soleil. While the brise-soleil is nothing new on towers across the world, Perkins + Will’s proposal is a prominent and large-scale addition to the new high-tech ‘green’ adaptations of old concepts. Continue Reading »

March 3 2010 | Anita Silva posted at Abitare.it March 1

How Urbanization can be defined and understood in relation to Iraqi Kurdistan?
When we discuss of urbanisation we look at the combination of economic, political and social factors that determine the growth and expansion of cities.  We observe the ways in which these elements interplay, detect which are the main driving forces that produce the physical transformation of space and understand what the role is that people play in shaping their surroundings.
The study of urban development in Kurdistan is very interesting as it is deeply interconnected with its political history.  The past three decades have seen in the Region a rapid expansion of the urban fabric and infrastructure.  Hawler is a striking example in this respect, with an estimated annual population growth of 4,35% the city has boomed from about 90,000 inhabitants in 1965 to an approximate 1,3 million in 2010.  Until mid 1970s the majority of Kurdish population was spread around the villages mainly leading a rural life, occasionally using the cities as vital knots of a larger network.  The 1980s village clearance campaign conducted by the Ba’ath regime and the following wave of destruction during Anfal caused a massive mobilisation of people who were forced out of their lands and either relocated in the mujamma’at in the plains or compelled to move to bigger urban centres.  These events caused a dramatic acceleration in the process of urban growth and shaped the face of contemporary Kurdish territory. Continue Reading »

March 2 2010 | Bernadette Baird-Zars
<i>From Panoramio courtesy ammarakkad</i>

One of Aleppo’s main squares is in for a major overhaul. According to two Arabic-language news sites* and word of mouth, the current mayor, Moeen Chibli, has stated that work will begin immediately, ostensibly to “discover the pathway of the river Qweik.*”

But it seems more complicated than a mere daylighting of an urban stream – there are plans for tunnels, flyovers, and (word of mouth) pedestrian bridges. Continue Reading »