Cities age just like us.We tend to think of our cities as robust structures withstanding natural disasters. In reality, their... Read More
Cities age just like us.
We tend to think of our cities as robust structures withstanding natural disasters. In reality, their urban skin is aging, accelerating dysfunction of their tissues and maintenance of their normal functions.
In this crumpled abstraction of Beirut, I went skin deep exploring one of the oldest cities that according to a legend has been demolished and reconstructed seven times.
Beirut used to be a prosperous trading hub under the Roman Empire until a massive earthquake and tsunami wiped the city in 551 AD killing around 30,000 people. Even after decades of recovery, Beirut has never entirely regained its glory. Violent wars and its precarious position along a political fault line – and with literally fault lines running underneath – are putting the city at biggest risk.
Beirut is totally unprepared for a likely damaging earthquake, especially with 70% of the population living along the coast and most of city’s buildings are old or dense and poorly constructed residential housing. Beirut is moving slowly towards its community-resilience goals. More risk reduction efforts still need to carried at the institutional, sectoral and local levels.
This three-dimensional fabric traces Beirut’s dilapidated urban evolution. The drawings show how Beirut’s nucleus has grown and neighborhoods evolved with a range of economic, urban, social cultural levels which led to disparity in the nature of the urban fabric, threatening the disappearance of the unique character of the city, with a clear shift in planning and design characteristics. Some are orderly while others are random. Some are in perfect conditions and some are broken into pieces. The markings, the cracks, circles, squares and lines symbolize the ’emotional faults’ that Beirut need to resolve - from tempering impacts, to reducing vulnerabilities, and sustaining political commitment - in order to survive and thrive against future stresses and shocks.