The green space above is one of the only surviving orchards in Beirut, but the municipality wants to demolish it. Some 30 heritage buildings and green spaces will also be razed to cut a path for the controversial “Boutros Road.”  Not only is the project destructive, but leading urban planners and architects say it will be useless or create even more traffic. And at a cost of $75 million, many are saying that is a lot of money for just about 1km of roadway. Why is the municipality doing this?

The good news is you can do something. A march is being held next Saturday March 1 at 3PM and Sunday March 2 at 11AM to fight the project, which has already been delayed by several months. Remember, the Boutros Road was supposed to break ground last summer but was delayed following an outcry in the media and from citizen heritage groups. Can public pressure work again? There’s no reason to believe it cannot.

Plus activists have come up with this great park project to replace the road and they need your support to lobby for it.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison:

Source: Association for the Protection Lebanese Heritage

Read more background on the park, the orchard and the historic neighborhood in my investigative piece last year for The Daily Star. I also touch upon the many technical problems with the road and serious lack of transparency at the municipality and with government planning in general.

Also check out pictures of all the green spaces that will be destroyed for this project.

Here’s more details about next weekend’s protest from one of the organizers, Ashrafieh Stairs. Join the event here.

Achrafieh in Danger!
The controversial Fouad Boutros Highway project was given the green light and will kick off in few weeks time. 
This catastrophic project will destroy 32 heritage landmarks, endanger 33 more, and uproot thousands of met
ers of lush green spaces in the Ashrafieh, Hekmeh and Mar Mikhael neighborhoods.

We invite all Lebanese people specially Green lovers, Beirut residents, Mar Michael & Gemmazyze fans as well as all NGOs and friends to join the protest against Achrafieh demolition in 2 consecutive days:
– Saturday 1st of March starting 3:00 pm at Mar Mikhayel street near Port View Hotel facing EDL.
– Sunday 2nd of March starting 11:00 at Rmeil area near Maronite Archbishopric of Achrafieh.


Part of the orchard and heritage buildings that will be razed for the Boutros Road

  1. always love your work, habib, but my understanding of why there was a delay was related to land that still needed to be expropriated, not that anyone cared about the outrage (this is from city council officials and CDR)…. Good luck, though, and I’ll likely see you there next weekend.

  2. Interesting Jim, where these high level officials? Did they say what was at issue exactly in the acquisitions? There may be some truth to it, but they also may not want to admit to pressure. When I did the piece for the Daily Star, (linked above) both the CDR head of the project and the vice president of Beirut municipality were very confident the acquisitions were being made last spring and told me the project would go forward and did not foresee any hiccups. I do know that activists did work with some of the residents so perhaps that was also a factor. think that public pressure impacted the municipality project for the Jesuit public garden; largely because the residents were on board. There hasn’t been a big public march on the Boutros road yet so we’ll have to see what happens this weekend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like