The Idea of Home: The Architecture of War and Peace

Eleni Spiliotes
Tuesday 3 January 2023

Holdsworth, Pauline, host. IDEAS (podcast). June 16, 2022.

This podcast episode provides an introduction to the history and politics of urbicide. Defined as the deliberate “killing” of a city, the term urbicide is often used to describe the military strategy of urban destruction. But, through interviews with architect-scholars, this episode explores the urbicidal potential of urban planning projects, political processes, and colonial legacies, which shifts the focus away from the visible manifestation of urbicide. Instead, the issue of spatial control becomes the lens through which histories of urbanization and sociopolitical unrest are collated into a history of urbicide. The guests examine the cause and effect of urbicide in Beirut and Homs to reveal the cyclical nature of internal conflict and spatial injustice. The assertion that urbicide is not an isolated, singular event, but a phase in this cycle of vulnerability and fragmentation, disrupts the myth of reconstruction as a peaceful, straightforward process. The podcast raises the following questions: should ruins of urbicide be preserved, as they constitute collective memory? Does peaceful reconstruction mean securitization in preparation for the next war? And, most importantly, whose vision of peace should guide reconstruction?


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