Lebanon – Urban Planning and Design

Improvement in the national urban policies and spatial frameworks for compact, integrated and connected cities can again be exemplified through the city and neighbourhood profiling programmes. The outbreak of the Syrian crisis in 2011 came to add more strain on Lebanon. UNHCR figures show that some 1.2 million refugees have crossed the Lebanese borders, including 1.16 million registered Syrian refugees and 45,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria. Some 35 % of the refugees coming from Syria can be found in the four largest urban metropolitan areas: Tripoli, Beirut, Saida and Tyr. These areas are thus accommodating more than 50 % of the total population of Lebanon. The influx of over one million Syrian refugees to Lebanon impacted on the country’s overall urban setting, placing an additional layer of deprivation on the poor urban neighbourhoods. In the absence of data especially for residents of urban areas, the city and neighbourhood profiles are a tool developed by UN-Habitat to analyse impacts of crisis on urban settings. These programmes are being developed in 2015/2016. They take into consideration the interrelatedness of urban sectors and maps and analyse population movements, functionality and strains on social and physical infrastructure as well as damage on the economy and markets, including the shelter, housing and rental market. They also identify how communities are coping with crisis and the capacity of local actors, including who is doing what where and where the key gaps are. This rapid multi-sectorial tool is able to help local authorities and the humanitarian community to identify neighbourhoods in critical need, and is used as a basis to plan multi-sectorial area-based interventions with relevant actors. More specifically, neighbourhood profiles will be used as the basis for integrated neighbourhood upgrading projects in shelter, infrastructure, services and public spaces. The city and neighbourhood profiles will be developed with the full collaboration of national and local authorities in order to provide tools for change, support in planning, capacity building and collaboration through implementing neighbourhood upgrading strategies.

Policies, plans and designs for compact, integrated and connected cities and neighbourhoods will also be a focus of the city and neighbourhood profiling. As part of the upcoming program in 2015/2016 neighbourhood profile, UN-Habitat has implemented during October 2015, a rapid assessment in Naba’a for a comprehensive neighbourhood-upgrading project. The findings showed that shelter and building facades are in dire conditions. 62% of assessed houses have unsafe balconies and windows. Shared infrastructure in the neighbourhood is dismal, with rainwater coming from buildings that are not connected to the storm water networks causing damages. Barely any public spaces exist within the area. The project will be implemented with the full participation of the municipality of Bourj Hammoud and community members. The municipality has up until now been overloaded with service and maintenance demand due to the increasing number of inhabitants and without having initial financial and human capacity to cope with the magnitude of demands. The neighbourhood upgrading will consider an integrated approach to physical upgrading which is required across the key aspects of shelter, infrastructure, services and public spaces.

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