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Social Justice and the City

As part of its vision to collaborate with researchers and groups working towards more inclusive urban commons, the Social Justice and the City project initiated the following collaborations in 2015:

Practicing the Public: Beirut's Shared Public Spaces
This collection of essays and maps digs beyond the apparent dichotomies between public and private spaces in an effort to understand what makes public space such a complex minefield in Lebanon. Despite their dominant condemnation, the publication starts with the premise that practices of the commons/publics are sustained in Lebanon. Through their analysis as complex systems of multiple publics rife with power relations but also progressive claims, harsh realities and multiple dreams and enactments of trespass, the publication puts forward a set of readings that not only shed light on the functioning of the city but also provides potential paths for intervening to improve the quality of the city's spaces. It built on mappings and ethnographic accounts of more or less known sites in the city, laced together in narratives of resilience and coexistence. The publication was produced by Mona Fawaz (faculty advisor of Social Justice and the City Project, in partnership with Ahmad Gharbieh and Public Works –Nadine Bekdache and Abir Saksouk-Sasso). The project was distributed in October 2015 with As-Safir paper. It can be downloaded here (Arabic).


The Mar Mikhael Workshop
In March 2015, the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs and the Masters in Urban Planning and Policy (MUPP) in the Department of Architecture and Design, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, American University of Beirut (AUB), contributed to a workshop titled Creative Economy, Social Justice and Urban Strategies: The Case of Mar Mikhael. The workshop was conducted in partnership with GAIA Heritage, a heritage consulting company, and the Masters in Regional and Urban Strategy at Sciences Po, Paris. Seven students participated in this workshop: three from the AUB-MUPP program and four from the Master's in Regional and Urban Strategy at Sciences Po, Paris. The workshop aimed to assess current urban transformations in the neighborhood of Mar Mikhael (Beirut, Lebanon) and investigate the impacts of creative industries in the area. The AUB-MUPP and the Issam Fares Institute contributions focused on social justice and the right to housing in a context of ongoing gentrification. The full report of this workshop can be downloaded here.


The Dalieh Juries
On Saturday May 30, 2015, the Social Justice and the City Project hosted the Dalieh Competition Juries at the Issam Fares Institute. The last of the natural headlands overlooking Beirut's emblematic Sakhret el-Rawsheh, Dalieh constitutes a unique social and ecological space along the city's coast. The Competition, which had been launched on March 23, had called on students, professionals of the built environment, and others interested in contributing with visions for the future of this large open-access space in the city and its preservation as a shared space with unique ecological characteristics. It was organized by the Civil Campaign to Protect the Dalieh of Raouche. The jury brought together a handful of scholars, professionals, and public sector actors. Full details about the competition brief, its jury, and winning entries can be read here.

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