In Lebanon, the social connections are undeniable and crucial. However, meeting places remain private such as houses, restaurants, malls, and beach resorts. This is mainly due to the shortage of public spaces in Lebanon resulting from lack of planning, regulations and awareness around the right to the city and the importance of public spaces. In main cities where land prices are so expensive, common practice has prioritized the use of land in real estate development, thus trumping other uses such as public and communal spaces.
In the late 1990s, Lebanon saw the emergence of malls, which have arguably acted as alternatives to public spaces. Malls, with their wealth of food courts, restaurants, cinemas, and play areas, have become the new downtown for a portion of the Lebanese population. They are also considered safe, which is another important factor.
In 2015, the percentage of green spaces in Lebanon has decreased to less than 13%. While the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum of 9m2 of green space per capita (UN-HABITAT, 2016), Beirut has only 0.8m2.
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