Claiming the City: An interactive course to discover what shapes your city


A hands-on interactive course on socio-spatial relations shaping cities and the multiplicity of claims that emerge in challenge of dominant economic and planning practices. 

Departing from the Neighborhood as a site of study, participants in this course will unpack the visions, relations, interests and practices that drive the transformations in their neighborhoods. 

You will learn how to access relevant documents, archives and records, as well as understand the prerogatives of governing institutions and the legal framework in the context of Lebanon.

Using mapping methods to analyze context specific urban changes, participants will then focus on an area of interest to develop an intervention. The course will reflect on methods and tools used by Public Works Studio in practice based research related to housing, public space, securitization, building laws and master plans.


Course description:

Session 1: Introduction – readings on concepts related to  the right to the city

The next six sessions will cover a topic unpacked through research projects we have been involved in and ending with an exercise:

Shared Spaces






Session 8: general discussion based on the exercises

Number of sessions:


Dates of sessions:

March 31, April 7 14 21 28 , May 5 12 19


English & Arabic

Instructor Bio:

Abir Saksouk is an architect, urban planner, and co-founder of Public Works Studio. She has been involved in several research projects in Lebanon, including the history of informal suburbs and the social production of shared spaces in the city. She authored related publications, such as “This Sea Is Mine” and “Making Spaces for the Public: The Story of the Beirut’s Dalieh”. Her interests include exploring how community engagement could be employed in planning and actively shaping the future of cities. She is also co-founder of Dictaphone Group (2009).

Monica Basbous is an architect, designer and urban researcher. Producing maps, images and writings, her work tackles questions of urban mobility, informal spatial practices, politics and representations of space, and speculative geography. Monica teaches architectural design at the Lebanese American University since 2017, and is a researcher and partner in Public Works Studio since 2016. She holds a MSc. in Architecture from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne.

Nadine Bekdache is a practicing designer and urbanist and co-founder of Public Works Studio. She researches socio-spatial phenomena through multidisciplinary methods; including mapping, imagery and film as both processes of investigation and representation. As part of her research on urban displacement, she authored “Evicting Sovereignty: Lebanon’s Housing Tenants from Citizens to Obstacles”, and co-directed “Beyhum Street: Mapping Place Narratives”. She is also a graphic design instructor at the Lebanese University.


Contact Email:

[email protected]

How to contact:

please add the name of the course you’re interested to inquire about in the subject line. Note that registration is done via the form.

Participation Fees:

Standard – 240 000 LL

Reduced** – 160 000 LL

Solidarity* – Pay what you can above
the standard rate

*This fee enables to fund the reduced fee difference and allow concerned persons to have access to the course.
** For salaries under 1000$/month and having to pay house rental. If you do not fall under this categorie and still believe you should have the reduced fee, please contact us. The reduced rate is applicable for limited number of participants.