When people from the West say to me, ‘We must help, because we have too much and you have too little’, I’m perplexed, because the truth is that none of us truly has anything; everything belongs to the Factory.
After the success of her book The Battle for Home, Marwa Al-Sabouni faces the task of imagining what cities should provide to us. She poses questions that are not just important in the context of after-war reconstruction or in the building of new cities, but also in the preservation of a sense of settlement and belonging in existing cities, moving the focus from how cities should look, to how they should make us feel. Besides the beautiful drawings that accompany the text, Marwa Al-Sabouni’s rich narrative weaves together her personal experience, such as discussions about modernity with her 15 year-old daughter, with her knowledge of history, architecture, urbanism, and sociology. It makes use of cities all over the world, from Homs to Melbourne, and of thinkers from various disciplines, from Ibn Khaldoun to Gaston Bachelard. It offers astute criticism of the professional approach of prominent figures of the architecture world such as Alvar Aalto and Byarke Ingels. Most importantly, this book explores traditional islamic systems such as the Waqf (the destination of certain properties to publicly necessary causes) and the system of the Miri Lands(state-owned agricultural lands). Offering alternatives to the factory city model, these strategies help us imagine possibilities for more generous cities.
— Chiara Dorbolò, Curator of the Architecture Book Fair 2021