Virtual Discussion Series: Housing Uncertainties, Financial Crisis, and Social Protections
Responding to the growing alarm about housing uncertainties, particularly in relation to daunting weight of economic crises that have undermined the right to shelter across the Arab Middle East and beyond, the Beirut Urban Lab held a series of online discussions throughout the month of June 2023. Titled "Housing Uncertainties, Financial Crisis, and Social Protections", the series was co-organized with partners in Habitat for Humanity (HfH) through the Lebanon National Programme and the MENA Urban Housing Practitioners Hub (MENA-UHPH), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Lebanon Country Programme. The virtual discussion brought together scholars and practitioners to explore comparatively questions at the intersection of housing uncertainties and financial crises, probing the possibilities afforded by social protection schemes to respond to the increasingly dire living conditions of today’s urban majorities. We share below a short description of the panels and a link to watch them.
Day 1: The Contours of Housing Financialization
The first session sought to frame the broader patterns and implications of housing financialization. It featured opening remarks by Mona Fawaz (Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, American University of Beirut), a keynote address by Raquel Rolnik (Professor of Urban Planning, University of São Paulo; Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing), and a panel discussion featuring Thomas Maloutas (Professor of Social Geography, Harokopio University) and Dalia Wahdan (Associate Professor of Anthropology, American University of Cairo), with Deena Khalil (Manager, UHPH-MENA) as session chair and discussant. Watch it here.
Day 2: Housing Loans, Mortgaged Lives
Day 3: Urban Precarious Shelters
To reflect on the implications of heightened financialization on households, this third session brought together Leilani Farha (Global Director, The Shift; and Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing) and Solange Munoz (Assistant Professor of Geography, University of Tennessee – Knoxville), with Nanor Karageozian (Urban Analysis and Policy Unit Manager, UN-Habitat Lebanon) as session chair and discussant. Watch it here.
Day 4: Housing and Social Protection in the Arab Region
We were joined in the second session by Rony Lahoud (Chairman and General Director, Public Corporation for Housing, Lebanon), May Abdel Hamid (CEO, Social Housing and Mortgage Finance Fund, Egypt), both public agents, along with Salma Yousry (Urban Development Programme Manager, UN-Habitat ROAS), Nanor Karageozian (Urban Analysis and Policy Unit Manager, UN-Habitat Lebanon), and Fouad Bejjani (Shelter and WASH Project Manager, Norwegian Refugee Council Lebanon). The session was moderated by Samar Farhat (HLP & Urban Recovery Consultant, Habitat for Humanity Lebanon National Program) as moderator. Watch it here.