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Revisiting Dalieh: Open Ideas Competition Results & Updates

In June 2015, The Civil Campaign to Preserve the Dalieh of Beirut announced its open ideas competition results at the Lebanese Ministry of Environment. The Civil Campaign is a coalition of individuals invested in safeguarding Beirut’s livability, advocating for the protection of the city’s seafront as a shared space and open access zone. The campaign had launched its open ideas competition on 24 March 2015, under the patronage of the Lebanese Ministry of Environment, the American University of Beirut’s Asfari Institute for Civil Society and the Nature Conservation Center. The competition called for participants “to articulate creative, sensitive, and environmentally sustainable design proposals for the conservation and future development of Dalieh.”

On 30 June 2015, the competition jury–composed of architects, landscape architects, an economist, and a lawyer–met and shortlisted seven entries out of the twenty submissions. The jury then selected three winning entries, featured below.

Jadaliyya Cities Page editors have endorsed The Civil Campaign to Preserve the Dalieh of Beirut since its launch, and continue to do so. We have published on Cities in December 2014 the Campaign’s Open Letter to Mr. Rem Koolhas, to which Mr. Koolhas responded in the comments section—a response that was later disseminated on social media, and in other e-zines. We hope the results of this open idea competition will inform Mr. Koolhas and other designers who may become involved in plans to develop the Dalieh of Beirut into a commercial venture to reconsider their commitments, and take a firm position against any real estate developments on this remarkable site that do not respect and conserve its ecology.

By publishing the winning entries of the Dalieh’s open ideas competition on Jadaliyya, we are disseminating to a wide public the range of alternative possibilities to develop the Dalieh of Beirut in environmentally sustainable ways that respect the site’s urban history, socio-spatial practices, and ecology. We hope this information will mobilize more urban activists to rally the cause of the Civil Campaign. The statement by the minister of environment to declare Dalieh a natural reserve demonstrates the range of impact such mobilization can have on the built and natural environments. The recent inclusion of Dalieh on the World Monuments Watch 2016 list is an additional testimony. We also hope the case of Dalieh will mobilize the political consciousness of urban dwellers of Beirut, and other Lebanese cities, against the increasing impunity of real estate development across Lebanon which is robbing us all of shared spaces, and instigate waves of collective action to reclaim rights to the commons. The recent protests in Beirut, associated with the garbage crisis, have incorporated such actions, as urban activists removed forcefully the fence that was installed around Dalieh earlier this year, and appropriated the open areas of Zaitunah Bay.

In this bundle, we feature the the campaign’s press release about the competition, the competition jury’s report, the campaign’s background report on Dalieh, as well as the three winning entries’ presentation texts and maps.


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