This research is encouraged by a reading of the military urbanisms of the developing world. Dalia's work investigates the process codification of architectural and urban form that occurs in the performative space of simulated cities. The informal city, informal urbanisation and unplanned dispositions of structures and services present a threat to the US military. Every year, they invest billions of dollars in simulated cities (mock cities) around the world. Simulated cities are replicas of existing cities, where military personnel and background cast performers participate in active combat training, or “war-planning exercises.” In these spaces, shifting urban power dynamics are conceived and rehearsed before they are executed and deployed across civilian spaces. The lines between simulation and authenticity, construction, and violence, placemaking and war-making are continually blurred. Architecture plays a significant role in this process of mimicry and performance. Dalia’s research explores the methods and techniques employed by military personnel to imitate and replicate authentic living spaces of a given city. Dalia's research leads to larger questions relating to the relationship between forcesof global security and urban development. How do we anticipate and protect the cities that have not yet suffered severe military remodelling? How do we arm architects and urbanists with the tools to defend the informal city against the military quest for standardisation and operational control?
Dalia is a Lebanese-Algerian architect and theorist raised in London. Her work focuses on methods of architectural control and military urbanism. During her masters in Theories of Urban Practice at The New School in New York, she wrote and designed a publication addressing the issues of pervasive surveillance in urban spaces. Urbanist William Morrish described it as “an amazing trans-sectional panorama of the many convergent and divergent aspects of this expanding environment of social, political, and technological acquisition of our anonymity, this is a platform from which to understand the multi-dimensional aspects of this seemingly invisible terrain.”
In 2021, she contributed a conceptual drawing addressing the growing issues of hyper-connectivity at the Venice Biennale’s CITYX Italian virtual pavilion. With a firm belief in interventions in public space as resistance to socio-spatial control, Dalia’s 2022 Advertisements for Anonymity poster series was printed out and plastered in public spaces that are being heavily monitored. The experiment put forward the necessity to use advertisement techniques and aesthetics to denounce constant intrusive surveillance in public space. The project was then turned into a small publication retracing the various layers and uses of the art piece.
Since then, Dalia has continued to explore the field through research and publishing in assisting professor Georgia Traganou, as well as working on a number of personal publications.