tutor | david aouad
Within all the instability that has been surrounding the development of Beirut and the absence of clear urban and architectural guidelines, the city’s failure to monitor and forecast its growth, has led to uninformed planning decisions and potentially severe social and economic impacts. Since the Beirut port explosion on August 4th, 2020, surveys from thousands of households, under the multi-sector needs assessment conducted by the Lebanese Red Crescent and partners, recognized critical needs. Priorities such as shelter, reconstruction and rehabilitation, livelihoods, cash assistance, access to healthcare and medication, psychosocial support, and food security were identified. Amid a wave of local and international organizations providing help and assistance for many, within the current turbulent/unstable socio-political landscape brought about by the 4th of August events, Beirut is impoverished by a series of overlapping poor management, where sectarianism has emerged as a crucial mobilizing agent in the struggle for urban reform or preservation.
The Beirut Port explosion on August 4th, was a watershed event in the history of Lebanon, and the capital city Beirut. Large sections of the Port of Beirut and its infrastructure were destroyed, including the silos that contained most of Beirut’s grain reserves. The blast also caused damage to several nearby residential neighborhoods and affected five major hospitals. Several governmental buildings were also damaged. It is a catastrophe that affected the neighborhoods of Medawar, Karantina, Al-Badawi, Mar Mikhael, Rmeil, Gemayzeh, St. Nicolas, and extended to Burj Hammoud, Ashrafieh, Bashoura, and Zoqaq El Blat. It reached the other neighborhoods of the city, leaving behind more than two hundred people dead and thousands wounded, in addition to damages to more than six thousand buildings, complete or partial destruction, and the displacement of tens of thousands of residents of the area. This catastrophic event has mobilized the efforts of many professionals, scholars, private and public institutions as well as NGO’s.
In light of these catastrophic circumstances, this studio will explore future guidelines for the development of these devastated areas in Beirut, acknowledging the socio-economic aspect of the neighborhoods as a driving force behind the introduction of sustainable programs for a better quality of life.