Violently divided cities are incubators of ethnic conflicts. Under the auspices of postwar reconstruction, these cities are supposedly disciplined into peace through the regeneration of the city centre, including privatization, commercial adaptation and gentrification strategies. Such dynamics render city centre space amnesiac, with no reference to the history of sectarian violence, and exclusivist by limiting public access. Rather than foster peacebuilding, city centre regeneration exposes the dangerous weakness of the neoliberal peace built on accommodating ethnic and socioeconomic divisions. This paper connects Lefebvre's right-to-the-city to non-sectarian social movements’ struggle to forge participatory democracy in Beirut's city centre. A key aspect of these movements’ activities is to reprogramme memory—cosmopolitan and inclusivist—into the city centre, a project supporting peacebuilding.
- divided cities