The divercities blog was created by the Orient-Institut Beirut and the Goethe Institut Lebanon to accompany our jointly organised event divercities: contested space and urban identities in beirut, cairo and tehran, taking place in various locations across Beirut from 12 to 14 December 2013 . The aim of this conference was to gain insights into experiences of urban governance as it is perceived and practiced by different social agents in view of the ambivalence of public space in diverse societies. It revolved around power dynamics over contested spaces, negotiations between state agents, corporations/private-interest groups and populations over the quality and use of urban spaces, delineations of public and private, and norms and practices of open air spaces of gathering. While initially created as a platform for the December 2013 conference, it is envisaged to remain a tool for exchange and debate on contested spaces in diverse cities with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Transregional comparatives beyond the region are also encouraged.