Tuesday, May 19, 2009

m9d9n Initiative, Task one: Damascus 2040, Population 10M

Should we plan for Damascus in 2040 to be a city with a population of 10 million?

Or in a more general context: Should we be planning for growth or trying to slow it down?

m9d9n Intiative

m9d9n initiative

As an Urbanist and an Architect I want to start this mission to build a virtual group of professional planners, architects, writers, designers and developers committed to our Syrian cities and urban issues by donating articles and comments that explore issues relating to urban affairs, regional development, architecture and public art.

I want to engage our ideas with other public and professional organizations who participate in the shaping of our cities and work with them to get the best results.

I believe that the promotion of smart public involvement in the evolution process of our urban environment and being part in the decision making will help us to reach our goal faster which is to build better developed and sustainable cities with enhanced visual environment and smart growth.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Son of Jane Jacobs

This is a humble comparison case it’s a simple one to see how we did manage to lose our balance and how we stuck in our miserable low life standard when we don’t know right doing from wrong doing, when a hero become a criminal and that an innocent idea to save a protect what is in the interest of all Syrians history and social fabric not for the money of a greedy developer become a taboo!

I’m talking about the case of Mr. Waed Mouhanna, I never meet the man that every Syrian in and out of Syria should read his articles, how can’t the judge didn’t see his passion for doing the right thing and only looked at his rage instead, how a minister of culture have the courage to personal attack Mr. Waed and making a law suite against him while he should be ashamed of his short sight and not doing the job that we the people of Syria trust him to do?

How is the heritage administration doesn’t do it’s research and protect our history instead of being a useless body of bureaucrats forgetting that they are protecting a prime locations in the cradle of civilization? Those two bodies should stand in the Syrian court of law and pay for their mistakes and lack of taking action when needed. And explain to all of us why they failed to do their job.

This Syrian hero story is nothing but a tragedy for all of us and for our Syrian system as a whole, reading about my new hero Mr. Mouhanna, I compared his story to the legendary Jane Jacobs, an American/Canadian urbanist, activist and a famous writer, she is well known international figure and her books are a must read for anybody who know the word ‘city’ or ‘urban’ she is also known for organizing grass-roots efforts to block urban-renewal projects that would have destroyed local neighbourhoods. She succeed in stopping couple major highway projects in the United State and Canada, yet she kept her dignity and no politician, developer or a planner dare to take her to court of law, she won the respect and admiration of everybody even her enemy, she was treated as a hero, even after she passed away her legacy continue.

As a tribute to Jacobs, the Rockefeller Foundation introduces the Jane Jacobs Medal, “to recognize individuals who have made a significant contribution to thinking about urban design, specifically in New York City.”

Are we as Syrian less human than an American-Canadian who did the same 40 years ago but they were treated with utmost respect and appreciation.

Mr. Mouhanna, deserve to be treated as Jane Jacobs and there should be a creation of a ‘Waed Medal’ to recognize individuals who have made a significant contribution to thinking about urban design, heritage and community protection, in EVERY SYRIAN City.