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Neighborhood Initiative
Protecting the Diversity of Ras Beirut


One of the distinctive features of Ras Beirut is its social, economic and cultural diversity. This diversity is however threatened today by rapid urban transformations. Increasingly, the neighborhood’s run-down residential buildings are being demolished, and their longtime residents displaced, and replaced by high-end luxury towers catering for a global financial elite.

AUB professors, staff and students can no longer afford to live near the university. For this reason AUB has a vested interest in protecting and promoting its neighborhood as an attractive place for all, but especially for prospective faculty and students.

With the objective of contributing to protecting the diversity of the Ras Beirut and confronting its gentrification, the Neighborhood Initiative has supported a number of interventions that focus on the theme of “Neighborhood Diversity”.

With funding from the Middle East Centre of the London School of Economics, the Neighborhood Initiative has embarked on a multifaceted research project on gentrification.  An international conference, City Debates in March 2015, jointly sponsored with the Department of Architecture and Design, put the spotlight on the issue.

The Neighborhood Initiative has also supported a number of small studies on affordable housing and other neighborhood transformations.



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