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Lebanon Cities’ Public Spaces

Abstract

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.

Published:
Pages:119 to 152
Section: Portfolio
How to Cite
Nazzal, M. and Chinder, S. (2018) “Lebanon Cities’ Public Spaces”, The Journal of Public Space, 3(1), pp. 119-152. doi: https://doi.org/10.5204/jps.v3i1.323.
Article Keywords:

Author Biographies

UN-Habitat Lebanon
Lebanon Lebanon

I’ve been working with UN-Habitat since more than 5 years. I obtained my master degree in Social Work from the Saint Joseph University in 2014, and I graduated from the Lebanese University in 2010.
I had the chance to tackle many problematics and topics while working with UN-Habitat, and I’ve been nominated the focal person for public spaces in the country office.
This opportunity opened the door for me to experience how public spaces can improve the well being of humans and how we can engage them to plan, design, implement, and activate a public space.

UN-Habitat Lebanon
Lebanon Lebanon

Samer Chinder is currently the “Area Coordinator” of UN-HABITAT in North Lebanon.
He graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Architecture from the American University of Beirut in 2015. Since his graduation, Samer worked on several architectural and urban design projects in and outside Lebanon and participated and won several architecture competitions.
He organized, in collaboration with the Order of Engineers and Architects, the Abi Samra Public Space competition for architecture university students and he participated in juries and symposia in various architecture institutions around Lebanon.

References

Boustani, Marwa. “Sports, Public Space, and the City: The AUB/NI Project to Enhance Spaces for Sports and Social Interaction on the seaside/Corniche” American University of Beirut (2012) available at:
https://scholarworks.aub.edu.lb/bitstream/handle/10938/9800/monaharb-urbanplanningresearchmethods-aubnorthernedge-project-2012.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Chaaban, Jad. “Who Are the Stakeholders in Ras Beirut’s Seafront Pollution Management?” The Neighborhood Initiative. American University of Beirut (2008) available at: http://www.aub.edu.lb/ni/Documents/research/seafront_layoutproofed.pdf

Fawaz, Mona. “Reframing the debate to save what is left of Beirut’s shrinking seafront “ American University of Beirut (2016) available at: http://lcps-lebanon.org/featuredArticle.php?id=90 4. Madi, Christine. “A Short Story of Beirut’s Public Spaces” (2014) available at: https://www.area-arch.it/en/a-short-story-of-beiruts-public-spaces/

UN-HABITAT. Beirut City Profile working document (2016)

World Monument Fund. “Worlds Monument Watch” (2016) available at: https://www.wmf.org/project/dalieh-raouche
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ISSN 2206-9658