States in a City “Addressing a post-war reconstruction strategy in Aleppo, Syria”

This project explores the problem of post-war reconstruction by proposing a new model using the city of Aleppo as a case study. While war is clearly a period of conflicts, post-war is usually perceived as a conflict free environment with the pre-war becoming a long lost dream.

We argue that the post-war condition in Aleppo will be a continuation of the pre-war and the ongoing conflict. The conflict of war, especially right after its end, is always present but under different circumstances and consequences. We look at the problem of post-war reconstruction in the sense that war is both a pre-text for urban transformation and urban transformation a continuation of war.

In recent times, existing post-war reconstruction models did not respond to the chaotic post-war political environment, often as complex and as devastated as the war condition. We argue that existing models of reconstruction have been undertheorized and often followed the same reconstruction formulas; usually dominated by large scale, extra-state real state interests leading to a wide spread and violent expropriation of land. In this sense, we propose a model in which new scales and alternative priorities for reconstruction might be imagined, ones that set out to work more effectively for a broader group of constituencies within the existing and deprived by the war environment that becomes the framework from which our project emerges.

We focus on the question of how we can re-redefine post-war reconstruction in terms of scale, authority, mechanism, priorities, and incentive, on how the nature of the conflict in Aleppo can formulate our proposal.

We speculate that the nature of war in Aleppo will transform the city into a fractal collection of disconnected point-base states. We imagine a reconstruction strategy that implies simultaneous development plans across various scales, with different actors involved at each stage. This provides the possibility of staging the development and setting in into a time-frame.

The design proposal works under four scales. On the regional scale, we propose a railway marking a new territorial line for the developing sites. On the city scale, we propose a grouping strategy of property plots rearranging the existing ownership patterns. On the urban scale, we prioritize our design elements as to relate the developing site to the existing. We identify the edge condition of the site and the voids created during the war as the “medium spaces” and our primary design tools for the new urban infrastructure. Through the “medium spaces” we propose a sequence of other elements that will restructure the neighborhood configuration according to clusters of institutions, education, and housing. Finally, on the architectural scale we propose permanent and temporary structures addressing the needs of the individual social groups while setting them into a timeframe.

© 2017 Jana Shamseddine. All rights reserved.
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