It is an independent non-profit media startup that focuses on discovering urban innovations worldwide and sharing them through high-quality journalism. Their team of local writers, who have a deep understanding of the context and culture of urban areas, report on the progress of these ideas. In the congested district of Hamra, amidst tall concrete buildings and the noise of car horns, there is a remarkable oasis. Inside this oasis, there is lush green grass, well-maintained trees, and the pleasant sound of chirping birds.
What is Urban Park Culture in Beirut?
Urban Park in the north of Beirut is a three-story warehouse called D Beirut is a hub for creative individuals. Artists, designers, photographers, fashion designers, gallerists, architects, and high-end jeweler designers all work together in this space. Initially purchased as a steel factory, the building was renovated four years ago with the help of local architects. It has become a popular cultural space, with large units rented out to long-term tenants.
Beirut Waterfront Competition, called seaSCAPE, aimed to create a vibrant community space that celebrates Beirut’s historical connection with the sea. Inspired by the city’s rich maritime heritage, the design reflects the ebb and flow of the sea, which brought trade, fishing, and cultural diversity to Beirut throughout history. However, the sea also posed challenges, eroding fortifications and resisting attempts to control it. seaSCAPE sought to capture the essence of this dynamic relationship, offering a unique and cosmopolitan environment for the people of Beirut.
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How Has Beirut Improved Green Space?
Beirut has taken significant steps towards enhancing its green spaces by the following methods:
- Actively promoting the integration of spending time in these areas into people’s daily routines.
- Additionally, the city has organized a series of monthly picnics known as Green Your Lunch Break, encouraging individuals to engage in outdoor activities during their lunch breaks.
Benefits of These Initiatives
These initiatives have resulted in notable improvements in Beirut’s green spaces.
These picnics take place in various parks across the city, providing an opportunity for individuals to relax and enjoy nature during their lunch breaks.
In 2011, a mission to promote public green spaces in the city initiated a project to raise awareness. Their first initiative involved transforming Sassine Square in Ashrafieh by covering it with green grass, inviting people to appreciate and enjoy the newly created green space.
What Are Grassroot Parks Benefits?
Other than giving a clean and calm place to relax grassroot parks are beneficial in the following ways.
1. Grassroots Ecology focuses on benefiting the natural habitats and communities of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their stewardship programs positively impact over 2,400 acres of land, 7 creeks, and 25 outdoor spaces across 10 cities, including Redwood City and Los Gatos.
2. Their efforts result in cleaner public lands and waterways, enhanced biodiversity, improved wildlife habitats, and more resilient landscapes that protect communities from flood, fire, drought, and rising temperatures.
3. They actively engage thousands of people from diverse backgrounds and age groups each year, encouraging them to connect with their local outdoor spaces and take action to improve the natural world around them.
Despite the growing population of around 2 million people in Beirut, the city still lacks sufficient green spaces. Most of the existing city parks are in a poor state, with inadequate maintenance, damaged benches, outdated playground equipment, and non-functional toilets. The municipality restricts public access to Horsh Beirut, the largest park in the area, which features pine trees and spacious paths. This decision is based on concerns about potential clashes between Shia and Christian communities living nearby, as well as fears of damage to the park being open to the public.