Beyroutes: A Guide to Beirut

January, 2010

As a supplement to Volume #22, we also present the separate publication Beyroutes, a guidebook to Beirut, one of the grand capitals of the Middle East. Beyroutes presents an exploded view of a city which lives so many double lives and figures in so many truths, myths and historical falsifications. Visiting the city with this intimate book as your guide makes you feel disoriented, appreciative, judgmental and perhaps eventually reconciliatory. Beyroutes is the field manual for 21st century urban explorer.

With contributions by Maureen Abi Ghanem, Romy Assouad, Hisham Awad, Cleo Campert, Joane Chaker, Tony Chakar, Zinab Chahine, Steve Eid, Christian Ernsten, Christiaan Fruneaux, Edwin Gardner, David Habchy, Mona Harb, Pascale Harès, Jasper Harlaar, Janneke Hulshof, Hanane Kaï, Karen Klink, Niels Lestrade, Mona Merhi, Elias Moubarak, Tarek Moukaddem, Kamal Mouzawak, Joe Mounzer, Alex Nysten, Nienke Nauta, Ahmad Osman, Haig Papazian, Pieter Paul Pothoven, Rani al Rajji, Joost Janmaat, Jan Rothuizen, Ruben Schrameijer, Reem Saouma, Michael Stanton and George Zouein.

Beyroutes was initiated by Studio Beirut in collaboration with Partizan Publik, Archis and the Pearl Foundation. Supported by Prince Claus Fund, Fund Working on the Quality of Living and the Netherlands Embassy in Lebanon.

Archis Never Walk Alonely Planet series – city guides with an eye for people.

Buy ‘Beyroutes: A Guide to Beirut’

Article, Volume #43

SAAL, Sweat and Tears

— by

Portugal faced a dramatic housing shortage in the early 1970’s that contributed to the energies of 1974’s revolution. One of the first acts of the new government was to institute new housing policies and institutions, Serviço de Apoio Ambulatório Local (SAAL, Service for Local Mobile Support), that focused on promoting the right to the city through collective processes of design, construction and management. Manifesting itself differently throughout the country, SAAL was irreparably altered just a few years later due to political conflict. Since then, the fates of these architectures and their built agendas have lay uncertain. What will be the legacy of this failed proletarian utopia?

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Article, Volume #43

The Transitional City

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Transitional City

If there is a moment to test a community’s resilience, it is after disaster has struck. Such situations often show a community pulling together in a shared feeling that ‘things’ have to be done, but also ambition to be involved and participate on an individual level. Christchurch, New Zealand was no exception when the city was ruined by a series of earthquakes. Yet, it may have come as a surprise for most to see how many people felt engaged and how many (temporary) projects were being proposed and executed. Maybe less surprising was the tendency among existing structures and powers to just carry on. The self-building city was welcomed at first, or maybe just tolerated by the powers that be, provided it wasn’t in the way of business as usual. So, how fundamental a change did we actually see?

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Article, Volume #43

The Empowerment of ‘Self Power’

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Adri Duivesteijn

Once upon a time ‘left’ equaled ‘collective’ and ‘right’ ‘individual’. Those were the days. Today, it looks like ‘left’ adopted a rightwing agenda in its plea for individual freedom and the right to choose. In the Netherlands, social-democrat politician Adri Duivesteijn advocated a different approach in the nation’s housing program: instead of continuing with top-down provision of the housing product by commercial developers and housing associations alike, stimulate and propagate individual house building. It seemed like swearing in church when this became political in the late 90s, but upon a closer look the policy stems from a consistent analysis of the individual’s place in society. Volume sat with former alderman, currently MP, Adri Duivesteijn to learn about the difference between the right to decide and the position to do so.

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Article, Volume #43

A Ring Road With a View: Cairo’s Red Brick Neighborhoods

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Cairo

Alongside luxury developments and public displays of wealth, over half of Cairo’s urban population, a megacity of over 17 million, live in unplanned and self-built communities. Massive population shifts and a lack of governmental oversight fostered a culture of collaborative urbanism, incremental architecture and entrepreneurialism. Due to the explosive growth created in the power vacuum after the 2011 revolution, the government has formally recognized this informality and services have started being provided. How will these highly nuanced building practices be brought under the remit of planning policy and urban governance? Will they change in the process to produce new forms of urbanism, or will they be accepted and become the new official standard?

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