Social Housing in the Middle East

Social Housing in the Middle East

Architecture, Urban Development, and Transnational Modernity
Edited by Mohammad Gharipour and Kivanc Kilinc
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/01/2019
Format: Paperback 79 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-03985-9
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As oil-rich countries in the Middle East are increasingly associated with soaring skyscrapers and modern architecture, attention is being diverted away from the pervasive struggles of social housing in those same urban settings. Social Housing in the Middle East traces the history of social housing—both gleaming postmodern projects and bare-bones urban housing structures—in an effort to provide a wider understanding of marginalized spaces and their impact on identities, communities, and class. While architects may have envisioned utopian or futuristic experiments, these buildings were often constructed with the knowledge and skill sets of local workers, and the housing was in turn adapted to suit the modern needs of residents. This tension between local needs and national aspirations are linked to issues of global importance, including security, migration, and refugee resettlement. The essays collected here consider how culture, faith, and politics influenced the solutions offered by social housing; they provide an insightful look at how social housing has evolved since the 19th century and how it will need to adapt to suit the 21st.

Author Bio

Mohammad Gharipour is Professor at the School of Architecture and Planning at Morgan State University. He is author of Persian Gardens and Pavilions, Contemporary Urban Landscapes of the Middle East, and Synagogues in the Islamic World.

Kıvanç Kılınç is Assistant Professor of Architecture at Yaşar University in Turkey.


"Covering Turkey, Egypt, Kuwait, Tunisia, Jordan, Iran and Israel, [this book is] a worthy overview of an oft-overlooked typology in the region."


"Social housing is an architectural effort to engage social issues, and that places this well-edited, clearly organized, tightly written book firmly on essential reading lists for architectural and social historians, planners, and policy makers."


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Table of Contents

1. Marginalized Histories of Global Modernity: Social Housing in the Middle East / Kıvanç Kılınç, Mohammad Gharipour

Part I: Settings of Social Housing: Politics, Agency, and Social Reform

2. Legitimizing the Jordanian State through Social Housing / Eliana Abu-Hamdi

3. Workers' and Popular Housing in Mid-Twentieth-Century Egypt / Mohamed Elshahed

4. Neoliberal Islamism and the Cultural Politics of Housing in Turkey / Bülent Batuman

Part II: Histories of Social Housing: Identity, Nation, and Beyond

5. Constructing Dignity: Primitivist Discourses and the Spatial Economies of Development in Postcolonial Tunisia / Nancy Demerdash

6. Nation-Building in Israel: Negotiations over Housing as Grounds for the State-Citizen Contract, 1948–1953 / Yael Allweil

7. Social Housing in Colonial Cyprus: Contestations on Urbanity and Domesticity / Michalis Sioulas and Panayiota Pyla

8. Constructed Marginality: Women, Public Housing, and National Identity in Kuwait / Mae Al-Ansari

Part III: Design and Construction: Transnational Systems and Localized Practices

9. Rabbis, Architects, and the Design of Ultra-Orthodox City-Settlements / Noam Shoked

10. Notions of Class and Culture in Housing Projects in Tehran, 1945–1960 / Jaleh Jalili and Farshid Emami

11. Discrepant Spatial Practices: Contemporary Social Housing Projects in İzmir / Gülsüm Baydar, Kıvanç Kılınç, and Ahenk Yılmaz