Partners: Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU) at University College London (UCL)
Funding: Middle East & North Africa Social Policy Network MENASP-CP Global Challenges Research Fund at the University of Bath
The participatory analysis of public space projects in Beirut is a research project implemented between October 2022 and May 2023 to map the different public space interventions that took place in Beirut following the port blast in 2020 and co-learn from the different actors involved to enhance future public space interventions in Lebanon. This research project builds on previous related research and in particular the DeCID Handbook on co-designing built projects with children affected by displacement, and “Assessing Vulnerabilities for urban recovery solutions in Beirut Post-Explosion” research that investigated the role that public spaces play in addressing vulnerabilities in the neighbourhood of Karantina in Beirut post explosion, in addition to CatalyticAction’s work with UNDP Lebanon to research streets as public spaces in Karantina. These research projects highlighted a need to better understand the impact of the public space built projects completed as a response to the Beirut blast.
This research project aims to learn from public space projects that were implemented in Beirut after the blast and that consisted of a physical and lasting component. The project also aims to inform better co-designed public spaces in order to improve social cohesion in the context of multiple social tensions in Beirut; this was achieved by shared learning among participants.
This project produced a participatory assessment of the reconstruction efforts following the Beirut explosion, in particular in relation to public spaces. Data was gathered and analysed through a series of interviews followed by a participatory workshop, bringing together all the different stakeholders working on public spaces in Beirut to co-learn and exchange knowledge with the aim of identifying shared standards among the actors operating in the city on public space projects. This was complemented by a temporary and participatory public art installation produced in collaboration with residents of the Karantina neighbourhood, and a database of public space projects. More details about the methodology and the outcomes are available in the published report.
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