Italy taps ‘design ambassador’ to photograph Saudi UNESCO heritage sites for posterity

Luca Capuano, an Italian design ambassador and a photographer for UNESCO, is on his first visit to Saudi Arabia. (AN photo)
Updated 06 March 2018
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Italy taps ‘design ambassador’ to photograph Saudi UNESCO heritage sites for posterity

JEDDAH: Italy wants one of its most celebrated photographers to capture images of Saudi UNESCO heritage sites for posterity.
“We have UNESCO sites in Italy, and we have UNESCO sites here. We want to create a link. We want to always show what brings us together, not what divides us,” said the Italian Consul General, Elisabetta Martini.
She was speaking on Sunday at an Italian Design Day, organized by the Italian Consulate at the Italian Cultural Club in Jeddah.
Also there was Luca Capuano, an Italian design ambassador and a photographer for UNESCO, the UN cultural agency. He is on his first visit to Saudi Arabia.
“I’ve seen a lot of interesting things. I’d like to explore the Kingdom more, and come back here again for further exploration,” he told Arab News.
Capuano, who is noted for his architectural work, was commissioned to photograph Italy’s 44 World Heritage sites in 2010, and in 2016 he documented the Dheisheh Palestinian refugee camp near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, also a World Heritage site.
“We hope to produce a catalog of UNESCO sites from the Western Region of Saudi Arabia photographed by Capuano,” Martini said.
Saudi Instagram sensation Hamza Jamjoom was also at the event.
“What interested me most is the environment … and of course the artwork,” he said. “It’s a great event.”


Paris official seeks to outlaw Airbnb rentals in city center

Updated 06 September 2018
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Paris official seeks to outlaw Airbnb rentals in city center

  • With some 60,000 apartments on offer in the city, Paris is the biggest market for Airbnb
  • The administration of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has already taken action against Airbnb and others

PARIS: The Paris city council member in charge of housing said Thursday that he would propose outlawing home rentals via Airbnb and other websites in the city center, accusing the service of forcing residents out of the French capital.
Ian Brossat said that he would also seek to prohibit the purchase of secondary residences in Paris, saying such measures were necessary to keep the city from becoming an “open-air museum.”
“One residence out of every four no longer houses Parisians,” said Brossat, who is expected to head the Communist party list for European Parliament elections next year.
With some 60,000 apartments on offer in the city, Paris is the biggest market for Airbnb, which like other home-sharing platforms has come under increasing pressure from cities which claim it drives up rents for locals.
“Do we want Paris to be a city which the middle classes can afford, or do we want it to be a playground for Saudi or American billionaires?” he said.
Brossat has had Airbnb and its rivals in his sights for years, and recently published a book assailing the US giant titled “Airbnb, or the Uberised City.”
He wants to forbid any short-term tourist rentals of entire apartments in the First, Second, Third and Fourth Arrondissements of Paris, home to some of the world’s most popular sites including the Cathedral of Notre-Dame and the Louvre museum.
“If we don’t do anything, there won’t be any more locals: Like on the Ile Saint-Louis, we’ll end up with a drop in the number of residents and food shops turned into clothing or souvenir stores,” he said, referring to the Seine island in the shadow of the Notre-Dame cathedral.
“We’ll be living in an open-air museum,” he added.
Brossat hopes the measures will be included in a law aimed at overhauling France’s real estate laws to be debated this fall.
The administration of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has already taken action against Airbnb and others, requiring homeowners to register with the city and limiting the number of rentals to 120 nights a year.
Last month the city said the total amount of fines levied against home rental platforms rose to €1.38 million ($1.60 million) from January to August 15, compared with €1.3 million for 2017 as a whole.
Its crackdown echoes those in other hot tourist destinations including Amsterdam, Barcelona and Berlin.
Last month Airbnb sued the city of New York after it passed a law forcing home-sharing platforms to disclose data about their hosts, calling it a campaign “funded by the city’s powerful hotel lobby.”