Due to the war, Syrian cities have been strongly associated with destruction. Parts of cities have been completely wiped off, their stories, urban cultures, heritage and lifestyle is threatened with disappearance. This challenge becomes striking once confronted with the fact, that many Syrian cities - their urban dynamics, ethnic diversities, and heterogeneous realities are least documented as such. Today, younger generations perceive cities and urban areas in Syria as wombs of war and urbicide in contrast to their historical depth that is not only rich, but also neglected. To generate a counter narrative, this project aims to bridge between older generations and their memories on the cities, and young artists, architects, planners and social scientists. Through producing illustrations and maps, the project aims to raise awareness towards the importance of the urban - its dynamics, potentials and challenges in shaping cities, producing wars, and most importantly, social reconciliation.
To achieve its goal, the project adopts a competition format to engage with a wide variety of participants, and offer the opportunity to explore different terrains of the urban sphere. The competition entries will be judge both on their quality of visualizations and illustration techniques, and on the story that is attempting to shed light on. Of course, participants are encouraged to dig into histories that played a major role in shaping Syrian cities. In particular, histories that have long neglected, forgotten, and to unleash the potentials of the untold stories, that might hold keys for understanding what is, than how it should be. Entries will be curated later in an exhibition, and assembled in a publication in order to be accessible for those interested in getting to know the older histories of the Syrian urban landscape before the war.