City Debates is a yearly conference organized by the Masters in Urban Planning & Policy and Masters in Urban Design Programs at the American University of Beirut. Started in 2002, City Debates brings together professionals, academics, and students from Beirut and beyond to explore issues of contemporary relevance to the urbanization of the region. The series aims to document, analyze, and compare emerging practices that are transforming the cities and regions of the Middle-East.

The Conference¬†also aims to foster a platform of exchange at the regional level where investigative frameworks are proposed and practical experiences and know-how are shared. By carefully selecting each year a timely theme to address, City Debates’ ambition is to propose innovative ways of understanding contemporary urbanization and to usher creative strategies to respond to the daunting challenges. It is also to inscribe a debate about the specificities of our region outside the traditional middle-eastern exceptionalism in which it is often trapped.

In previous years, City Debates has addressed Master Planning in Lebanon, Cultural Heritage and the Political of the Present, Spaces of Faith and Fun, Security of/in the City, Emerging Practices in Urban Design, and Rethinking Informality: Design Tactics/Planning Strategies.