Government officials like to complain that activists love making noise but never propose actual solutions. This is especially true in Lebanon where the mayor of Beirut has repeatedly mocked those that oppose the municipality projects as being long-haired rebel rousers (i.e. hippies) or simply “liars” bent on sabotaging his plans. The mayor–and other officials– also complain often in press conferences that activists are ‘not professional’ or have no degrees and thus have no idea what they are talking about.
The truth is many of the activists are professional architects, lawyers and urban planners who have proposed solid ideas and possible blueprints for the city, often relying on better research than the municipality itself, which is notorious for going ahead with plans without providing studies or allowing any meaningful community involvement.
And the public is beginning to react. Big crowds came out this weekend for the exhibit of alternative proposals for the coastal area known as Dalieh, which is threatened by real estate development. Activists interested in preserving this rare natural coastal site launched an international design competition to reimagine it for public instead of private use and the entries are now on display all week at Altcity in Hamra. You can view the exhibit until this Friday June 12, every day from 9AM-11PM. AltCity is located at the beginning of Hamra street in the Montreal building at the Mezzanine level. See Facebook event for details.
I will leave you with some pictures of the opening night where architects got to explain their ideas to the public and get feedback from the audience.
You can read more about the Civil Campaign to Protect Dalieh and the ongoing struggle to keep the site free to the public by visiting their website, which lists some of the campaigns actions, legal background and how you can get involved. You can also follow their Facebook page for upcoming events.