Mobile Workshops

Mobile Workshops

As the conference theme suggests, the accelerated world’s mobility has affected city streets. Three mobile workshops aim to provide experiences of transitional streets in two coastal cities: Beirut and Tripoli.

 

MOBILE WORKSHOP 1: BEIRUT, HAMRA & THE CORNICHE AREAS

This guided workshop starts by experiencing the vibrant Hamra Street connecting Beirut to the sea and its Corniche. The area around Hamra called Ras Beirut has undergone many transitions over time characterized by commercial, cultural, educational highlights and conversely dormant, inactive periods. Hamra and Ras Beirut are the topic of many studies by sociologists, anthropologists, environmentalists and urbanologists. Equally, the area is the subject of artists from various disciplines. 

 

Date: Thursday, November 1, 2018

Time: 9:00- 17:00

Admission: included in the conference registration fee, and covering transportation, tour guide, museum entrance fees, lunch. Please register for the tour during the online registration as places are limited, and available on a first come, first served basis.

 

Hamra Street, or Street 31 in Beirut, spans from the east of the capital’s historic center to the Corniche and the sea to the west. This vibrant atery was earlier named as ‘Beirut’s Champs Elysées’ due to the abundance of its sidewalk cafes and theatres. Politicians, intellectuals and even artists used to enjoy the conviviality of this specific area to the extent that during the 1960’s and 1970’s, the street was considered as the cultural and political epicenter for intellectuals. After the Lebanese war 1975-1989, the consumption pattern changed in an attempt to adapt to the new pace of life. Consequently, the cafes - previously targeted by intellectuals - lost ground against the growing fast food kiosks and internet cafes. In order to regain its position among convivial spaces in Beirut, an annual Festival started taking place in autumn along Hamra Street, encompassing a wide range of social activities and cultural events.

The journey extends to reach the periphery of the capital: the Corniche, a coastal sidewalk that is not only popular for hosting strollers, joggers and cyclists, but also for offering a magnificent view of the Mediterranean. Beirut’s Corniche spans 4.8 Kilometers extending from Saint Georges bay, along the Avenue de Paris into Avenue de Gaulle, overlooking the natural landmark called the Pigeons’ rocks. In 2014 a campaign was launched to save part of the natural landmark ‘Dalieh’ from private real estate development. Dalieh is not only a natural feature, but also a convivial place of encounter and exchange throughout Beirut’s history.

 

MOBILE WORKSHOP 2: BEIRUT, KARM EL-ZAYTOUN & MAR MIKHAEL AREAS

This is a guided workshop inside two neighborhoods in Beirut offers the possibility to witness different urban transformation processes in each neighborhood. By exploring what a map cannot reveal, visitors will formulate answers to some of the questions raised during the conference.

 

Date: Thursday, November 1, 2018
Time: 9:00- 17:00
Admission: included in the conference registration fee, and covering transportation, tour guide, museum entrance fees, lunch. Please register for the tour during the online registration as places are limited, and available on a first come, first served basis.

 

Karm el Zeitoun and Mar Mikhael are two neighborhoods located in Ashrafieh – Beirut.
The first neighborhood was conceived as a residential development during 1920s, proposed to host Armenian refugees who were temporarily settled in the coastal area of Quarantina in Beirut. Consequently, the area that was once characterized by the abundance of olive trees was transformed into a sequence of mini-plots receiving almost identical houses, connected by narrow passages and steep stairs forming an internal specific network of convivial communal spaces. According to architect and urban planner Jad Tabet, ‘The small adjacent plots have played a key role in protecting… Karm el Zeitoun from construction works so far. If anyone wants to build some [major] project in the area, it would have to be bulldozed entirely.’ Apart from the transformation induced by the Lebanese war and the socio-economic / demographic changes, the introduction of the Yerevan flyover incarcerating Karm el Zeitoun from the south-east and exposing deteriorated houses. An intervention by an NGO to rehabilitate the area implemented a face-lifting approach by applying facade painting and trompe-l’oueil to render the existing less irritating to visitors hitting the high-end neighborhoods of Beirut.

The neighborhood of Mar Mikhael was subject to transformation inflicted by the deterioration of the railway, and the unplanned approach to preserving its architectural heritage. This area is characterized by its blend of residential, business, industrial and art areas stretching at the foothill of Ashrafieh. Following the 2006 war, this neighborhood became subject to a rapid mutation resulting from the invasion of its streets-cape by pubs, restaurants and nightlife activities. This is an example to be experienced, once visitors explore the ‘cycle of urban change and gentrification that is transforming the city of Beirut, often in a manner that reduces housing affordability, dramatically alters the built environment, and weakens long-established communities’.

 

MOBILE WORKSHOP 3: TRIPOLI, THE OLD CITY

With its hidden treasures, the workshop will reveal to the visitors the multitude of Religious buildings, Khans, traditional Hammams, as well as the famous souks dating back to the 13th century. More information on this mobile workshop is provided HERE.

Date: Thursday, November 1, 2018
Time: 9:00- 17:00
Admission: included in the conference registration fee, and covering transportation, tour guide, museum entrance fees, lunch. Please register for the tour during the online registration as places are limited, and available on a first come, first served basis.

 

Located 85 km north of Beirut, the first trace of urbanization in Tripoli dates back to the 8th century BC when the Phoenicians built the coastal city as the center of the Phoenician confederation. Tripoli was then composed of three major districts hence its name, Tri-Polis- the triple city. Similar to other Lebanese coastal cities such as Tyre, Sidon or Beirut, Tripoli’s strategic geographic location meant it was also geopolitically and economically significant. The consequence of this importance meant the city’s invasion throughout history, for example the Persians, the Romans, the Greeks, the Mamluks and the Ottoman Empire. Tripoli used to be the one capital of the crusaders county. The old Mamluk city is the largest in the region.

This grafting by different cultures resulted in a mesmerizing mosaic of architectural and urban heritage, which is evidence to conviviality, contrasted by ethnic clashes in some city parts at present.