Reconsidering the Urban Condition of Karm El-Zeitoun

Jun 29–Jul 6, 2019
Beirut campus

The School of Architecture and Design at LAU, in collaboration with the School of Architecture La Salle, Barcelona, Spain, is organizing the fourth OIKONET international workshop on LAU’s Beirut campus.

The workshop will be dedicated to rethinking the urban condition of the Karm El-Zeitoun neighbourhood in Beirut by proposing specific interventions contemplated in a master plan which is currently under development. These interventions aim at revitalizing the urban and social fabric, by creating new public spaces and activities which will reintegrate the area into the overall city.

The city of Beirut is composed of manifold autonomous urban areas which are a reflection of its economic and social diversity. In order to keep a balance between them, it is necessary to intervene in the most disadvantaged areas to promote their economic development. The challenge is to couple urban planning and building projects with economic growth and social cohesion. To do that, it is necessary to provide answers to the questions such as: Which are the social and economic needs within a particular community with regard to the rest of the city? Which buildings are more appropriate to foster the economic and social development within a specific urban area? How could new buildings activate the public spaces in which they are integrated? How to avoid the division between building and public space? How to foster the sense of place and identity in the community – with the refurbishment of existing structures, with the creation of new architectural landmarks? Which kind of public spaces would foster social interaction among the diverse communities?

Providing answers to these questions is a joint effort for architects and planners, social scientists and economists, politicians and citizens. The workshop’s aim is to integrate all of the various layers (urban and architectural, social and economic) to develop architectural strategies which help to overcoming the current social and spatial fragmentation.

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