A multidisciplinary project, the comprehensive urban resilience
master plan for the city of Beirut lays the foundations of the
roadmap needed to enhance the city’s ability to cope with current
and future challenges including risks ranging from earthquakes and
subsequent tsunami threats to climate change, mass migration,
urbanization, ageing populations, epidemics, poor air quality and
Khatib & Alami (K&A) worked closely with client Buro Happold on
behalf of The World Bank and in collaboration with the Mayor and
Municipality of Beirut. K&A is largely focused on improving lives
and building the future. K&A takes every opportunity to do so
including play a key role in very ambitious and instrumental project
for the city of Beirut whose urban area extends over 100 km2 by
providing data collection, conducting surveys, and offering
technical advisory, data capture and development services. Our role
is instrumental for a better understanding of the city’s shocks and
stressors, especially since we are taking a multidisciplinary
approach by combining the expertise of urban planners, designers,
traffic and transport planners, and wet utilities, dry utilities,
professionals to look at all the city sectors holistically.
Sectors analyzed include mapping and boundaries, infrastructure,
education and skills, health, communities and inclusion, quality of
life as well as legislations.
The master plan is a momentous first step in Beirut’s commitment to
funding and implementing a series of initiatives across multiple
sectors to support the effective enhancement of the city’s
To address all the complexities involved, the Master Plan has three
main elements. The first is a baseline review of the shocks and
stresses faced by the city (Resilience Demand) and its existing
capacity to mitigate those threats and respond if a major incident
occurs (Resilience Capacity).
The second is a linked set of strategies setting out short, medium
and long term actions to strengthen the city’s resilience vis-à-vis
the community, the environment, urban form, infrastructure, the
economy, governance, adaptive capacity, and emergency response.
The strategies will be evaluated based on their effectiveness and
the level of investment. The third is a prioritized action plan that
encompasses actual projects, awareness raising, capability building
and the establishment of initial governance bodies that can take the
This project was certainly challenging, given unavailable data and
the lack of a unified platform to collect information from.
Nonetheless, K&A excelled at problem solving and suggested multiple
viable strategies to get around these issues. Effective stakeholder
engagement and K&A extensive networks with academia and both the
public and private sectors largely assisted in developing effective
strategies in a complex landscape.
Further, K&A amassed an
in-depth knowledge of the Lebanese planning and legislative system
assisted in raising awareness, and pinpointed the significance of
Urban Resilience in a developing context. This in turn gave rise to
innovative ways to collect and corroborate information from
literature and stakeholders in addition to implementing a
multidisciplinary approach to viewing the city.