Integrated Project III: Beirut within its regional Context - Challenges and Opportunities of Urban Expansion


Course Content

This course in general handles and provides students with the needed Know-How to tackle projects on a city and regional scale. A structured base for addressing and handling challenges and projects on a regional scale in- corporates theoretical backgrounds on rural urban development in terms of crucial challenges of cities nowadays as in informal development and urban expansion. They will be further challenged to perceive the city of Beirut and its region within its adjacent peri and rural structures that could or shall cater for an integrated overall development.

The Integrated project III will tackle the City and Region of Beirut from the Beirut Port alongside the Beirut River towards the Beirut Damascus Highway, investigating its main challenges along the informal settlements that have appeared and sprawled since decades. It aims at coming up with a sustainable vision and strategies towards a sounder development and sus- tainable livable spaces.

Beirut, capital of Lebanon and a coastal city, is facing like most global cities, the challenges of urban expansion, since no less than four decades. The city has been expanding vertically and horizontally, with continuous construction of high-rise building and horizontal ‘spill-over’ in the direction of surrounding smaller agglomerations. While urban expansion occurred informally around the capital during the civil war, the informality of this growth could be traced back to decades preceding the civil war.

Urban expansion assumes different forms, one of them being urban sprawl, and occurs under different facets. The different waves of displaced populations or refugees since the turn of the 20th century, contributed to the infor- mality of urban expansion, including Armenian followed by Kurds, Palestinians and lately the Syrian refugees. The growth from Beirut port along Beirut River, in the direction of Hazmiyeh, then connecting to the main highway that connects Beirut to Damascus city constitute an interesting case study of peri-urban growth where different systems interconnect.

The embanked Beirut River, the infrastructure connection from the port to Damascus through various peri-urban areas, the urban mosaic of settle- ments (including Qarantina, Bourj Hammoud, Nabaa, Sin el Fil...), informalities and temporary functions, present an interesting case study. This linear case study along peri-urban areas, presents a driver of main urban and environmental challenges. Studying the different forms of sprawl and ex- pansion constitutes the ground for a solid approach of guidelines to achieve a better territorial an urban cohesion.

Learning Objectives

The course will empower the students with the needed skills and Know-How to be able to develop and manage urban and regional challenges on an in- terregional scale and develop tailor made strategies and solutions through the representation of the multidimensional plans. The students will achieve to understand transformation processes on a city and regional scales in terms of peri-urban opportunities and their economic and social impact on the whole region. The students will demonstrate that they can work individually and in groups and are able to analyse current situations, develop visions and scenarios to conduct a full project on a defined challenge(s).


Module Responsible

Prof. Christa Reicher, Chair of Urban Design and Institute for Urban Design and European Urbanism

Teaching Staff

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Maram Tawil, Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Klozoris

Important dates of the course

  • Mondays, 11:00-14:00, SG309
  • Excursion to Beirut/Lebanon (4 Days) between November 20th, 2023, to November 30th, 2023

Examination Date

End-February 2024

Examination Format

e.g., oral presentation (Poster) + Report