The war-time urban development of Damascus: How the geography- and political economy of warfare affects housing patterns

Barend Wind*, Batoul Ibrahim*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

3 Citaten (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


In the spring of 2019, the Syrian civil war has entered its eight year. Although the heaviest fighting has taken place elsewhere, Damascus is heavily affected by the ongoing conflict. First, large parts of the eastern and southern fringe of the city are heavily damaged or destroyed. Second, the inflow of internally displaced persons is large, which has resulted in a very tense housing market in the undamaged districts. Third, the war-time political economy has changed the role of public and private actors in spatial planning and housing provision. This paper shows how the geography- and political economy of warfare has impacted upon residential patterns and housing practices in Damascus during the civil war. The empirical results are based on satellite imagery, policy documents and a survey among spatial planning experts and students. The results indicate that the formal response to the housing crisis consists of a reinforcement of the existing authoritarian neo-liberal planning model. This model has resulted in the construction of unaffordable luxurious showcase projects at symbolic locations. The informal response to the housing crisis is more pronounced. Alternative housing strategies, such as to self-construction, family housing, squatting and sub-letting have increased in popularity, as the formal response does not deliver immediate relief for war-affected households. The use of alternative housing strategies is concentrated in the existing informal settlements. This suggests that the civil war exacerbates housing poverty, but as well contributes to rising levels of socio-economic segregation.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's14
TijdschriftHabitat International
StatusPublished - feb-2020

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