Reversing displacement: navigating the spontaneity of spatial networks of craft, tradition and memory in post-war Old Mosul

Al-Daffaie, Y. ORCID: 0000-0002-0703-9990 and Abdelmonem, M.G. ORCID: 0000-0002-8271-0924, 2023. Reversing displacement: navigating the spontaneity of spatial networks of craft, tradition and memory in post-war Old Mosul. Cities, 142: 104559. ISSN 0264-2751

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The destruction of Mosul's Old Town has led to sudden and unmanaged displacements of different ethnic, cultural and professional communities who departed northern Iraq's medieval trade and cultural centre. While the reconstruction of historic monuments was prioritised for the post-ISIS recovery process, the disappearance of trade, culture, and communities had a more lasting impact on the erasure of memory, traditional practices and social interactions in the Historic Centre. Moving away from the conventions of planned and structured return in post-conflict cities, this paper investigates the growing and unstructured spontaneous processes of displacement, relocation, and rebuilding as an unmanaged process where the central government and the local authority had limited impact on the daily and active return of displaced communities and craftsmen. We argue that the active and interconnected networks of trade, craft communities and livelihoods in the Old City can be activated by individualistic efforts to trigger a spontaneous, yet effective and decentralised approach to post-conflict return in Iraq. This paper navigates local narratives, spaces of memory and spatial patterns of displacement and return, using the observations, spatial mapping, first-hand local narratives and flows of displacement.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Cities
Creators: Al-Daffaie, Y. and Abdelmonem, M.G.
Publisher: Elsevier
Date: November 2023
Volume: 142
ISSN: 0264-2751
S0264275123003712Publisher Item Identifier
Rights: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Divisions: Schools > School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 21 Sep 2023 09:23
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2023 09:23

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