COLAND Case Study 2020 - Manara, Lebanon

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Area Manara
Place Beirut
Country Lebanon
Topics please enter the main coast-related topics here
Author(s) Lama Amin, Julia Abisaab, Nour El Zein, Andrea Hadwan, Hani Abdallah
Dummy image case study template.jpg


The case study at hand is relevant for many reasons, the most major reason however is its existence within a dense, urban context that is facing rapid urbanization and is at risk of being privatized in the near future, facing the challenge of managing urban open spaces. Our hypothesis considering the landscape challenges is that if things play out as usual, we will see rapid urbanization within the coming 10 years, which will destruct the whole coastal rocky/natural landscape as well as the social aspect of the area.

Location and scope

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A Landscape System Analysis

A.1 Landscape layers and their system context

Geomorphology, landscape units and coastal typology

  • Description of evolution, status quo and driving forces, is the coastal typology changing? Why is that? (approx 200 signs)
  • add 1-2 graphical representations to the image gallery, you can add more if you like

Land use

  • Beirut city, capital of Lebanon, is the highest attraction for most travelers. The city itself is highly populated and highly built with few green open spaces for the public. Although the case of Beirut is not optimistic in terms of the open landscape areas but one area, Manara, one of the most visited areas daily. The Manara strip is a hub for social interactions and physical activities mainly. The space is one of the longest stretches of public space, composed of a wide sidewalk, a strip of palm trees, benches. It is a simple design and people seem to admire its simplicity whereby open for them for any activity they desire. Manara is highly advertised also for its private spaces and for the touristic areas such as the theme park, the restaurants, the resorts, the sports centers. Across from these public and private points across the Manara coastline, the area is dominated by residential buildings, with some mixed areas of commercial/residential areas.
  • As seen in the maps below, the land has been known to be a residential area with some vacant lands, open grasslands/shrubland areas, a beach coast, however within the past years more and more investors and companies have been targeting Beirut for their benefit while the coastline is suffering. The major driving forces are the investors and political dominance over the lands of Beirut. The land may change and become excessively private if more investors target the empty coastline but environmentally the coastline may end up disappearing due to its geological background. The unlikely scenario is if the laws governing the are are to be more strict and remove the violations across the coastline then their may be a chance for a positive landscape development.

Green/blue infrastructure

  • What are the major potential elements of a green/blue infrastructure network? Are these likely to change/disappear? Why is that?
  • You find my background material on green infrastructure in our reading list
  • add 1-2 graphical representations to the image gallery, you can add more if you like

Actors and stakeholders

Previously, Manara was a coast for the public where no building could be constructed that would interrupt the protective abilities of the black and white lighthouse on its hill. The site we are looking at is a stretch of boardwalk that has served as a pedestrian walkway for decades now. In 1995 however, this changed and what was once an area clear of buildings and strictly for the people became colonized by private developers who began building 18-floor buildings in the area. The outcome has left a wall in front of the lighthouse, destroying its functionality and the general aura of the place. In this case it is safe to say that due to private developers, not only was public infrastructure destroyed, but locals lost what was once a public open space due to the interest of private beneficiaries, which now symbolizes the government's demise. It is also important to point out that public spaces in Lebanon are very scarce therefore if policies do not start presenting themselves regarding limits to privatized lands along the coast, we may soon lose public access to Manara for good.

Sacred spaces and heritage

  • Which places/elements hold cultural value and to whom?
  • You may add a map and some images, please also explain in your caption why these elements are valuable

Visual appearance and landscape narrative

  • Which elements are essential for the landscape character?
  • Has the landscape been painted or otherwise depicted, when and whom? Which elements are essential?
  • Which narratives exist? Who has written about this landscape or depicted it in some way?
  • You can add text and images

A.2 Summary of your landscape system analysis and your development targets

We concluded that the main drivers of our DPSIR model were strongly related to urbanization and climate change. Urbanization has put major pressure on this coastal landscape mainly due to commercial discharge which ends up in the sea, affecting clean water and sanitation- point 6 of the sustainable development goals. Urbanization has additionally affected the landscape in terms of pedestrianizing the area through the insertion of street furniture, paving of the walkway with concrete, and fencing the area in order to create a boundary between the people and the sea for "safety measures". This urban component not only breaks the direct connection between people and nature, but also limits the quality of life the area can ensure, leading to a lack of flora and fauna along the coast which worsens each year, putting the 14th and 15th sustainable development goals:life below water and life on land, at risk. Climate change is another factor that exerts pressure on the area in terms of sea-level rise and an overall decrease in both air and water quality, putting goal 13:climate action, at severe risk, especially in Lebanon where close to 0 actions are being taken in order to mitigate climate change in general, let alone along the coast. As for the hypothesis, we surmise that if things go on as they are, that: 1. private investors will get a hold of the coast, meaning it will no longer be accessible to the public and if it is, the accessibility will be monitored and further concentrated in only one area of the coast. 2. further reduction of the natural environment (both flora and fauna) due to the further human interventions that will take place on the coast, as well as climate change factors such as erosion, and rising water levels. Both issues faced in our context are anthropocentric, meaning that they can be avoided if policies are introduced to prioritize both public spaces and natural environments.

A.3 Theory reflection

  • Reflect on at least three international policy documents in relation to their local landscape case
  • choose one international, one European and one national document
  • You can choose references from our reading list
  • Scope: 250 words

A.4 References

  • give a full list of the references you have used for this section

Phase B: Landscape Evaluation and Assessment

B.1 Assessment Strategy

With our hypothesis being that we expect rapid urbanization within the coming 10 years, which will destruct the whole coastal rocky/natural landscape as well as the social aspect of the area, the goals we defined for assessing the landscape are the following: - Acquiring full comprehension of the land's ownership status and its development over time (private/public map in order to realize the rate at which things are becoming privatized) - Realizing the change in accessibility over the years (mapping the accessibility/links of the site, to have an idea of how "public" the site is nowadays as well as how integrated it is with its context vs. how it was before) - Understanding the climate change risks at hand (sea-level rise map in order to understand its effect - although seasonal - on the context)

B.2 Mapping

  • As defined by your assessment strategy you conduct the mapping and present your findings here
  • As a minimum, at least three different themes need to be mapped, you may choose more if needed

B.3 Problem definition and priority setting

  • Give a summary of the major findings of your mapping process, what are the problems/potentials identified?
  • Draw a problems/potentials map
  • Set priorities for the most relevant issues

B.4 Theory reflection

  • Please reflect the assessment and evaluation methods used based on at least three readings
  • Did you encounter limitations'
  • 200 words test contribution

B.5 References

  • give a full list of the references you have used for this section

Phase C – Strategy and Master Plan

C.1 Goal Setting

  • Define strategic planning objectives based on the evaluation findings
  • Link back to your original targets from section one and the Development Goals
  • 150 words text contribution

C.2 Spatial Strategy and Transect

  • translate your strategic goals into a vision
  • develop a spatial translation of your vision
  • exemplify your vision in the form of a transect with concrete interventions
  • add map(s) and visualizations

C.3 From Theory of Change to Implementation

  • For implementing your vision: Which partnerships are needed? Which governance model is required?
  • Who needs to act and how? Draw and explain a change/process model/timeline
  • Which resources are needed? On which assets can you build?
  • add 150 words text and visuals

C.4 References

  • give a full list of the references you have used for this section

D. Process Reflection

  • Reflect in your intercultural and interdisciplinary team on the outcomes of your study
  • Which limitations were you facing?
  • What have you learnt from each other?
  • What would you do differently next time?
  • You can also use diagrams/visuals
  • 250 words text