Your boss may track your every keystroke

I wanted to write about the fiasco surrounding Iowa Caucus app beyond its technological failures — as how every technological failure should be analysed — but I figured I wasn’t really prepared in terms of materials, so perhaps I am going to hold off on the post for another day.

I just finished re-reading architect Marwa al-Sabouni’s The Battle for Home, in which she writes about how architecture has played a slow unravelling of Syrian cities’ social fabric, as the country plunges itself into destruction following the years of civil war. I don’t normally read architecture books — a large mistake — as I felt books on architecture and built environment that I was exposed to during design school often focus on aesthetic values and lack social perspectives. This is the gap of which al-Sabouni highlighted in her very book — where she brings together her first-hand experience of growing up in her war-ravaged hometown, Homs, through contextual lenses of urban planning and politics, forced displacement, heritage, and the effects of refugee crisis — and how architecture could help reverse the damage. I am also especially drawn to how al-Sabouni highlighted the discontinuity between the architectural pedagogy in her country and the actual needs of the city (plus how politics and corruption could influence the whole decision of built environment) — a set of uncomfortable truths which are not alien in many countries as well (a friend wrote a doctoral research on exactly this kind of disparity in the scope of my own country). I feel that this book is severely underrated and I would recommend everyone to read it. My review does not do justice of how intelligently, thoughtfully, and empathetically written this book is — so if you want to know more, Zeina Elcheikh has written a more eloquent one.

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