See all the articles, videos, and podcasts published about the Beirut Blast featuring the Lab's work. This list was last updated on February 12th, 2021. For Arabic articles, click here.
  • Der Tagesspiegel - Thore Schröder - 02.02.2021
    Ein halbes Jahr nach der Explosion – Beirut ist am Ende

    "Karantina ist ein Ort der multiplen Traumata", erklärt Howaida Al-Harithy, Architekturprofessorin an der American University von Beirut und Leiterin eines Projekts zum Wiederaufbau des Viertels. Knapp 3000 Menschen leben in dem Stadtteil, der zwar mitten in Beirut liegt, aber zwischen Hafen, Schnellstraßen und Müllhalden wie mutwillig abgeschnitten wirkt, immer noch isoliert wie eine Quarantänestation. 70 Prozent der Bewohner sind Libanesen, die meisten anderen kommen aus Syrien.

    "Es sollte eine langfristige Strategie geben", sagt Al-Harithy. Nicht nur Wiederaufbau sei gefordert, sondern neue Strukturen. Die großen Militärkasernen müssten verschwinden, es bräuchte endlich eine Schule, mehr Parks und Baurichtlinien, die auch kleinere Neubauten ermöglichen. Die Gefahr der Gentrifizierung durch Spekulanten sei durch die Wirtschaftskrise durchaus nicht gebannt. "Diese Leute denken sehr langfristig", warnt sie.

  • The Washington Post - Miriam Berger and Nader Durgham - 16.12.2020
    Beirut’s blast wrecked their church. This Volunteer is Racing to Rebuild it by Christmas Eve
    “This is a country where the social arm of the state has been delegated to NGOs for quite a while,” said Mona Fawaz, professor of urban studies at the American University of Beirut (AUB). “That’s why it was normal to see some of the big NGOs in Lebanon jump in and do some admirable work.”
  • Icon Magazine - Rima Alsammarae - 26.11.2020
    Rebuilding Beirut
    "In light of the blast, the lab has launched a series of interconnected projects, aiming to offer a holistic and multi-layered process to urban recovery - one that goes beyond physical repair. 'We were interested primarily in asking how the blast amplified or contributed to feeding already existing trends in the development of the city' says Ahmad Gharbieh, an assistant professor of Graphic Design at AUB." 
  • The Daily Star - Nicholas Durrant - 11.09.2020
    Ruined homes and eviction notices in Beirut's Karantina

    "Speaking over the phone, professor Mona Fawaz, who is part of the Beirut Urban Lab research team at the American University of Beirut, said that NGOs need to put residents at the center of the rebuilding process. “The tenants are very disempowered ... they don’t hold the process in their hands,” Fawaz said."

  • France 24 - William Hilderbrandt and Mona Fawaz - 09.09.2020
    One month after Beirut blast: 'You see how scary it is to have an absent state'
    In this interview with France 24, Mona Fawaz speaks about the challenges and pitfalls that come with the daunting task of rebuilding Beirut in the context of corruption and mismanagement.  
  • National Geographic - Abby Sewell - 04.09.2020
    Beirut has rebuilt before. Here’s how the city will do it again.

    “The heart of the city was always vibrant and mixed,” says Howayda al-Harithy, a professor of architecture and urban design at the American University of Beirut and research director at the Beirut Urban Lab. But now, she says, “It’s a ghost town because it’s a space for the elite. It’s unaffordable by anyone else, and that is proven by the fact that it stays [largely] empty.”

    "Many residents fear a more haphazard razing of the area’s history, driven by the real estate speculation that had begun to reshape Beirut’s historic neighborhoods before the explosion. A 2018 survey by Beirut Urban Lab researchers found at least 350 demolition permits had been filed in the past 15 years in areas that have now been impacted by the blast, wrote the lab’s Mona Fawaz. While demolitions and construction had slowed amid an economic downturn in recent years with the collapse of the country’s financial system, people desperate to get their money out of banks began investing in real estate."

  • Le Monde - Mathilde Costil, Sylvie Gittus, Francesca Fattori and Victor Simonnet - 08.09.2020
    Beyrouth : destructions, reconstructions et spéculations
    Le Monde features a full page about the post-blast reconstruction process placing it into a wider context of destructions, reconstructions, and speculations in Beirut since 1990. Beirut Urban Lab's Mona Harb, Mona Fawaz and Ahmad Gharbieh all contributed to the article with both research and mapping information. 
  • Vice News - 28.08.2020
    Beirut Explosion Victims Are Being Preyed on by Real Estate Scavengers
    Mona Fawaz speaks to Vice News about how property developers and wealthy people will look to place their money in areas where people are fleeing after a disaster: "what they're doing is that they're targeting people by saying [the property] is not recoverable, and of course property owners are fragile, many are old, they may not have enough money to actually repair it the way it should be and so it becomes an incentive to sell it."
  • Le Commerce du Levant - Nada Maucourant Atallah and Salah Hijazi - 27.08.2020
    La communauté tech se mobilise pour Beyrouth
    "Pour appuyer ces efforts, le “Beirut Urban Lab”, un centre de recherche de l’Université Américaine de Beyrouth (AUB), a ouvert au téléchargement les données présentes sur sa carte de Beyrouth. Cette carte, unique en son genre, réunit différentes couches d’informations essentielles sur les acteurs (constructeurs, développeurs, propriétaires), des caractéristiques des appartements (nombre d’étages, occupation, parking…) et environnementales (accès à l’eau, présence de panneaux solaires).
    'Le but est d’avoir une seule et même carte, dont les données sont fiables, à partir de laquelle toutes les ONGs peuvent travailler', explique Ahmad Gharbieh, professeur assistant à l’AUB et membre fondateur du Beirut Urban Lab. Ces données ne sont pas seulement nécessaires pour la coordination de l’effort immédiat. 'Elles seront essentielles pour la conception d’un plan de reconstruction globale', ajoute-t-il."
  • Le Commerce du Levant - Nada Maucourant Atallah - 27.08.2020
    In Beirut's Disaster-Stricken Neighborhoods, Properties Are Already Attracting the Interest of Buyers
    "Solidere is a private company that alone had a mandate for 150 hectares in the heart of Beirut, whereas today, the risk comes mainly from private and fragmented initiatives," said Mona Fawaz, professor of urban planning at the American University of Beirut (AUB). "The disaster could indeed have attracted the interest of private individuals, who in the midst of the economic crisis would have seen an opportunity to invest their blocked deposits in banks," she added.
  • The Daily Star - Nick Newsom - 27.08.2020
    Beirut residents battle for dignified return to their homes
    "AUB’s Beirut Urban Lab has meanwhile made publicly available its built environment database of the city, which provides a 'very detailed, geo-referenced map of Beirut, including everything from the building footprint, to public spaces, municipal sector divisions and property law zones,' according to AUB assistant professor Ahmad Gharbieh.
    The database also maps out residential housing permits during the postwar period and has provided valuable insights into questions around housing, evictions and gentrification.
    'There has already been an eviction process taking place in the affected areas, and we have to keep that in mind while making a recovery plan,' Gharbieh said. 'The aim is to protect some of these affected people and tenants from exploitative plans that might come in place'."
  • Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS) - 25.08.2020
    Rebuilding Beirut: How to Curtail Neoliberal Urbanization?
    In this Alternative Frequencies podcast episode, Mona Fawaz discusses with Nadim El Kak the scale of damages in residential areas impacted by the Beirut explosion, the dangers of neoliberal urban policies, their impact on urban heritage and housing rights, and practical ways to curtail gentrification and protect residents.
  • Foreign Policy - Stefanie Glinski - 24.08.2020
    How Beirut Blast Could Further Enrich Lebanese Elites
    “Recovery will be a tedious path,” said Mona Fawaz, a professor of urban studies and planning at the American University of Beirut. “The fear is that the post-blast reconstruction will come to consolidate the very forces that led to the demolition of Beirut’s neighborhoods in the first place.”
  • Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS) - Howayda Al-Harithy - 21.08.2020
    A Participatory Recovery of Post-Blast Beirut
    In this interview with LCPS, Howayda Al-Harithy explains the Lab's vision for urban recovery after the blast, revisits past reconstruction and recovery efforts in Lebanon, and comments on debates about heritage in light of the current urban challenges. 
  • Jadaliyya - Mouin Rabbani and Mona Harb - 20.08.2020
    Quick Thoughts: Mona Harb on the Aftermath of the Beirut Explosion
    Mouin Rabbani, editor of 'Quick Thoughts' and Jadaliyya Co-Editor interviewed Mona Harb, Jadaliyya Co-Editor and Professor of Urban Studies and Politics at the American University of Beirut, to get a better understanding of the explosion’s physical and political consequences.
  • Al Arabiya - Abby Sewell - 17.08.2020
    Beirut blast: Residents told to front repair costs by Lebanon’s landlords
    "Dounia Salamé, a researcher at the Beirut Urban Lab, which tracks land use issues in the city, noted that displaced tenants will face a tight market as they search for new housing, even though Beirut has a high housing vacancy rate. Because building owners do not pay municipal taxes on empty apartments, many landlords prefer to sit on vacant apartments rather than rent at a low rate."
  • Al-Akhbar - Rida Sawaya - 14.08.2020
    وحش سوليدير يرعب سكّان محيط المرفأ: أرقام مضخّمة للمتضررين وتحذيرات مبالغ فيها من انهيارات
  • NPR - Noel King - 13.08.2020
    Protesters In Lebanon Demand Change After Beirut Explosion
    NPR's Noel King speaks with Mona Fawaz about Lebanon's path forward after the explosion. Mona says: "the actual demand of the protesters is a government to be put in place to really represent the interests of people, to set up elections that would create real representation and not the usual theaters we have that lead to the reelection of the same individuals. We need political change. We need the change in the governance of the country. This is the only way a country like Lebanon can reemerge."
  • Headline Brazil - 12.08.2020
    "We have gotten to a point of no return"

    In this video interview, Mona Harb puts the blast into its social, political, and economic perspective. 

  • The National (UAE) - Scott Preston - 11.08.2020
    The fight to stop Lebanon’s urban history becoming a victim of the Beirut blast
    “This is an area of the city that people visit when they come to Beirut. It’s not just that there are a few heritage buildings,” explains Mona Fawaz, a professor of Urban Studies and Planning at the American University of Beirut. “It’s that it has a community of creatives. It has all these bars and pubs, workshops and studios, but also all these elderly people who know the history of the city who make the old buildings really alive.”
    Mona Harb, a professor of Urban Studies and Politics at AUB, points to the economic crisis as another issue for reconstruction: “We were already scrapping by for shreds to survive a very serious economic, monetary and banking crisis – as we speak, people cannot access their money in the banks,” she said, adding that now they have to try to repair damaged homes, fix broken cars and replace lost belongings."