Launching an Urban Observatory Amidst a Painful and Slow Recovery
One year after the Beirut port blast, we remain in awe at the social mobilization that continues to surround the people in the neighborhoods affected by the explosion. Over 12 months, and amidst devastating, economic, political, and health crises, city-dwellers—organized or not, working side by side with a large array of local and international organizations, are still struggling to repair homes, businesses, schools and hospitals and restore the viability of their city.
The Beirut Blast: A Week On
As we write this short reflection, the Beirut Port’s August 4, 2020 explosion still runs deep shockwaves through every one of us. We are just beginning to absorb the unmeasurable losses that have fallen on our city and its people. Some 2,700 tons of Ammonium Nitrate were callously stored in a port hangar, in close vicinities of residential neighborhoods, for six years. It happened with the full knowledge of successive port authorities, customs’ officials, and many other public officials (and unofficials). They detonated as if to announce the resounding end of an era: Lebanon’s post-civil war corrupt order could not have gone down peacefully. Almost a week later, the city is mourning its dead, young and old, while most rescue teams are discontinuing their efforts to locate the remaining missing people.
Bring the Planners Back! Displacement-Triggered Patterns of Urbanization and City Responses
This Policy Brief, published by the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS), maps patterns of city settlement in three mid-size localities in Lebanon: Zahle, Saida, and Halba. The authors identify three types of urban geometries that exist in each city in varying degrees: neighborhood densification, housing compounds, and tented settlements. These were predominantly created through ad-hoc, fragmented measures adopted by an array of actors such as international organizations, municipal councils, informal service providers, and local organizations.