Ideas for Rebuilding Karantina Beirut: Overcoming Dualities on the Edge of Sea and Land

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In August 2020, an explosion in the port of Beirut killed around 200 people, injured few thousands and destroyed large parts of the city. It was yet another traumatic event in the history of Beirut. It has also reminded the world of the intimate connection between ports, cities and their regions that continues to exist despite the process of spatial and functional detachment that has followed containerization and automation of port processes since the 1960s. Port and city remain interlinked in many ways. They co-exist in a limited, shared space. They face multiple challenges, including climate change, energy transitions, digitization, or social transformations. These challenges require coordinated responses from all stakeholders: port authorities, city and regional governments, private and public actors, as well as NGOs and citizens.

Such collaboration among port and city stakeholders is historically a trademark of port cities around the world. Through the ages, public and private stakeholders have displayed great capacity for overcoming challenges meaningfully, forcefully and rapidly. The film “Magic of Port Cities” provides some insight into this interconnection. Over time, port and city stakeholders have dealt with a broad range of external and internal shocks to the advantage of both their ports and the neighbouring cities. For example, to avoid strikes and to avoid losing workers, decision-makers at times made efforts to improve working and living conditions for their employees. Understanding these historical conditions and activating lessons from the past can help inspire integrated spatial and social planning and design measures to make use of limited space in ways that allow the port and city (and region) to evolve together.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBeirut Urban Declaration
Subtitle of host publicationFor the reconstruction of the damaged areas after fourth of August explosion
EditorsRana Dubeissy, Habib Sadek, Maroun Daccache
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-9953-0-5767-5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

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