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360° Perspective
Looking At Progress From A Wide-Angle
   
   

 
Safeguarding the Future
The Comprehensive Urban Resilience Master Plan for Beirut, Lebanon
 

 


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 flooding.


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 resilience.


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 project forward.


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.