Joumana Stephan
Nada Chbat


Perceived as a complex system, public space could be examined through the means of complexity thinking. Complexity thinking not only offers a new urban terminology delivering interesting insights on the city and its public space, it also offers new tools that could deepen our understanding of their major issues. In this paper, the complex case of Horsh Beirut is diagnosed with one of these tools: Systemic Triangulation. As a trans disciplinary tool for relational diagnosis, Systemic Triangulation acknowledges the inscription of urban problems in structural, functional and dynamic continuums, establishing the relationships between them, and projecting interactions between the system and its environment. This paper searches for the implication of this method, based on non-linear representations of urban reality, in public space design and management. And explores to what extent the systemic approach could give us fresh answers on classic urban problems such as dysfunctional green public spaces and spatial segregation.


How to Cite
Stephan, J. and Chbat, N. (2019) “Systemic Triangulation, a Tool for Complex Urban Diagnosis: The Case of Horsh Beirut”, The Journal of Public Space, 4(4), pp. 5–36. doi: 10.32891/jps.v4i4.1232.
Author Biographies

Joumana Stephan, Lebanese University

Joumana Stephan holds a PhD in Architecture, Lebanese University (LU), EDST, Laboratoire de recherche en architecture, environnement et développement durable, Lebanon, in a cotutelle program with Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, ENSAV, LéaV, France. She has also a Master in Research (2013-2014), a Master in Master in Architectural Engineering (2011-2013), a Bachelor in Architectural Engineering (2007-2010), from Lebanese University in Lebanon.

2016 - 2017: “MEDSEATIES” project - Coastal cities urban management and pilot projects (technical, social and economic intervention intervention) with EK concept and Al Fayhaa’ Urban Community, Lebanon http://www.medseaties.eu
2016 - 2017: “RESUME” project - Linking architecture schools to the market (academic and economic intervention) with LU, Lebanon and Municipality of Barcelona, Spain www.resumeproject.eu
2016: “FOP Future of our past” project - Scattered hotel innovation (architectural, social and economic intervention) with LU and Municipality of Byblos, Lebanon www.futureourpast.eu
2014: Yazigi Atelier - Beirut, Lebanon
2012: NORR Group Consultants International Limited - Dubai, UAE

Nada Chbat, Lebanese University

Nada Chbat is Full Professor at the Lebanese University (LU) since 2003. She holds a PhD in Architecture and Landscape Sciences, Agro ParisTech (Paris, 2010, very honorable). At LU since 2015 she is Head of Research Laboratory in Architecture, Environment and Sustainable Development, since 2013 she is Co-director of seven "cotutelles" of theses in Architecture and Landscape, since 2011 she is the Research Master's Coordinator: Sciences of Architecture, Landscape and Territory Sciences. She was also Responsible of the International Relations (2011- 2016).

2019 Evaluator of Inter-University Scientific Cooperation Projects - PCSI, funded by "AUF".
Since 2018 Evaluator of scientific research projects, funded by the Lebanese University.
Since 2018 Member of the Research Committee in Arts and Sciences of Art, Urbanism Section, LU.
2006-2019 Writer of fifteen articles published in national and international scientific journals.

2012 International competition, in collaboration with Suez Environnement Paris, on the rehabilitation of the Saida coastal dump in Lebanon.

Since 2014 International Expert at the High Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education - (HCERES) - Paris.
2011-2015-2016 Attendance at General Assemblies of the Conference of Rectors of the Middle East Region - (CONFREMO) - (AUF).
2011 and 2017 Member of the Board of Directors of the Union of Universities of the Mediterranean - (UNIMED)
2011-2017 Member of the Central Committee for Planning and Quality Accreditation at LU.
2011-2017 Member of the steering committee and local coordinator at LU of the following international projects: OIPULES - Tempus / TLQAA- Tempus  /  RESUME- Erasmus+ / E-TALEB- Erasmus+ / Rescue - Erasmus+ / FOP- Erasmus+ / Baaklin: Towards a smart city, leading change into Chouf Souayjani Region- Erasmus+ / RECONET- Erasmus+.


Al-wali, T. (1993). Bayrut fiattarikh wal hadarah wal omran. Beyrouth: Dar Al-Elm lil malayin.

Alexander, C. (2002). The nature of order : an essay on the art of building and the nature of the universe. Center for Environmental Structure.

Batty, M. (2006). Hierarchy in cities and city systems. Hierarchy in Natural and Social Sciences, 44(0), 143‑168.

Batty, M. (2007). Cities and complexity : understanding cities with cellular automata, agent-based models, and fractals. MIT.

Batty, M., Morphet, R., Masucci, P., & Stanilov, K. (2008). Entropy, Complexity, and Spatial Information. Analysis, 44(0), 0‑18.

Boton, C., & Forgues, D. (2018). A systemic approach for BIM-based collaboration study in Construction. In When Social Science Meets Lean and BIM. Huddersfield, UK.

Cambien, A. (2007). Une introduction à l’approche systémique. Appréhender la complexité. Rapport d’Etude du CERTU, 86.

De Rosnay, J. (1975). Le macroscope : vers une vision globale. Éditions du Seuil.

Donnadieu, G., Durand, D., Neel, D., Nunez, E., & Saint-Paul, L. (2003). L’Approche systémique : de quoi s’agit-il ?, 11.

Donnadieu, G., & Karsky, M. (2002). La systémique, penser et agir dans la complexité. Éditions Liaisons.

Fontana, C. (2005). ARCHITECTURE AND SYSTEMICS – AN OUTLINE AND AN OUTLOOK. Complexity Broadbent, Design in Architecture J. Zeisel, Inquiry By Design, 4(3).

Gehl, J. (2010). Cities for people. Island Press.

Jacobs, J. (1961). The death and life of great American cities. Vintage Books.

Laugier, R. (2013). La ville de demain : intelligente, résiliente, frugale, post-carbone ou autre.

Leloup, F. (2010). Le développement territorial et les systèmes complexes : proposition d’un cadre analytique. Revue d’économie régionale & urbaine, octobre(4), 687‑705.

Lonjon, T. (2017). Appréhender la complexité de la ville : une introduction à l ’ analyse systémique. Architecture, aménagement de l’espace.

Mitchell, M. (2009). Complexity: a guided tour. Oxford University Press, Inc.

Moine, A. (2006). Le territoire comme un système complexe. L’Espace géographique, 2(0033), 115‑132.

Portugali, J. (2009). Complexity Theories of Cities: Achievements, criticism and potentials. Complexity Theories of Cities Have Come of Age, 1‑14.

Poutchytixier, J., & Peigne, H. (2005). Une voirie pour tous. Sécurité et cohabitation sur la voie publique au-delà des conflits d’usage. Conseil National des Transports (CNT), 71‑92.


Shayya, F. (2010). At the edge of the city : reinhabiting public space toward the recovery of Beirut’s Horsh Al-Sanawbar. Discursive Formations.

Volpi, V. (2016). The emergent city. Interactive relational systems between public administration and citizen to foster sustainable processes of urban development.

Youngblood, M. (1997). Life at the edge of chaos: Creating the quantum organization.