Reclaim the Sea

Coming together demanding environmental and social justice with a global movement to reclaim our oceans and coastlines

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The Making and Reclaiming of Communal Spaces in Beirut

This is a lecture / presentation of the story of Dalieh, a very narrow public strip along the coast that has been characterized as public for so long even though the lots are privately owned. It is part of the city’s historical relation with the sea and part of the few places that include a diversity of people (including social minorities). At the present, one developer bought all the land lots and fenced the site in preparation for constructing another touristic resort.

Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs held a lecture entitled: The Making and Reclaiming of Communal Spaces in Beirut: The Story of the Dalieh by Abir Saksouk-Sasso Due to the lack of appropriate public space, Beirut dwellers lay claim today to a number of open areas in the city, the uses of which are akin to ‘public’ spaces — they are accessed freely and allow for an unconfined range of social activities.

This lecture advocates learning from the public by observing several left- over spaces in the city, in order to understand them as public, multicultural, socially just, and open. By focusing on the seafront area of Dalieh in Rawche, the lecture attempts to abandon the modern notion of public space and open new possibilities for understanding public space.

The presenter, Abir Saksouk-Sasso, is an architect and an urbanist. She has been involved in several research projects, including the history of spatial production of the informal suburbs of Beirut, and more recently that of the neighborhoods surrounding Ein el-Helwe refugee camp. She produced a project about public space on the coast of Beirut entitled “This Sea is Mine”.