1.1. Why Participatory Planning?
1.2. The Political Landscape of Lebanon
1.3. A Landscape Framing of a Participatory Approach
2. Materials and Methods: Saida Case Study
2.1. Case Study Method in Landscape Architecture
2.2. Saida City Profile
2.3. MedCities City Development Strategy
3. Application of a Participatory Approach
“The team adopted an institutional perspective in which participatory democracy plays an essential role. Participatory democracy is a process of deliberation based on effective cooperation between the various institutions in the city, via the creation of institutional networks that exchange information, knowledge, and experience between the municipality and the socio-economic actors in the city.”
Conflicts of Interest
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While ‘government’ refers to “the formal institutional structure and location of authoritative decision-making in the modern state”, ‘governance’ signifies new processes of governing and new methods by which society is governed, and a focus on the interdependence of governmental and non-governmental organizations working together  (p. 34).
UN-Habitat defines ‘governance’ as the many ways that institutions (i.e., local authorities) and individuals “organize the day-to-day management of a city, and the processes used for effectively realizing the short-term and long-term agenda of a city’s development” .
With a total population of 149,600, Saida is the third largest city in Lebanon; 80,000 of Saida inhabitants are Lebanese; the rest, Palestinians.
The six project phases include: (1) Preparation and Launching; (2) Diagnosis and Participatory Analysis; (3) Formulation of a Shared Vision; (4) Strategy Formulation to Translate Vision into Concrete Actions; (5) Preparation of Action Plans and Estimated Budget; and (6) Implementation, Monitoring and CDS Evaluation .
The members include: the deputy mayor, four municipal council members, vice president for the Saida Traders Association, Said Welfare Society, Director of the Sea Mosque Organization, executive director from the Hariri Foundation, General Manager of the Saida Chamber of Commerce, and representative from the Lebanese University.
Working Group members include: 13 participants for the Urban Infrastructure track; eight for the Landscape, Environment and Ecology track; 16 for Cultural and Natural Heritage; 12 for the Employment in Traditional Industries and Trades; 14 participants for the Institutional and Legal Framework track; and 10 for the Local Economic Development.
The second Town Hall Meeting was cancelled because of armed confrontation between political parties on the day, which escalated to engulf the city for the following weeks.
Project disciplinary tracks and their respective national expert(s): “Local Economic Development”, “Social Structure and Urban Governance”, Jad Chaaban, IIina Srour and Kanj Hamade; “Cultural Heritage” and team leader, Howayda AI Hanthy; “Urban Infrastructure”, Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj and Giulia Guadagnoli; “Landscape Environment and Ecology”, Jala Makhzoumi and Salwa Al-Sabbagh.
For a detailed description of the Saida Green-Blue Network refer to Saida USUDS Green Open Spaces .
Al-Sabbagh builds on the Saida USUDS to explore the potential of an ecological landscape planning methodology to propose context-responsive and culture-inclusive planning tools to counter market-led, homogenizing, and exclusive development .
Saida USUDS working group meetings.
‘Train/Train’, https://www.facebook.com/traintrainlebanon/ a group aiming to reclaim the railway network in Lebanon as a public realm. The extensive railway network in Lebanon was abandoned in the 1970s during the civil war. The corridors and stations are state-owned, allowing for temporary amenity use. Another group was ‘Dictaphone’, civil activists with the aim of reclaiming the public realm; see http://www.dictaphonegroup.com/both accessed (1 January 2018).
In Arabic ‘Mamar’ implies passage, which has spatial dimensions and non-spatial connotations of a process that addresses issues of governance for Saida youth.
The activities organized for the project by ‘Shajar w Bashar’ include: meetings for civic empowerment, 2013; meetings with political stakeholders; launching the project, 28 March 2014; petition signing; ‘Walk/Cycle the Railway’, 12 April 2014; closing ceremony 26 June 2014. See https://www.peaceinsight.org/conflicts/lebanon/peacebuilding-organisations/shajar-w-bashar/ and https://arab.org/directory/shajar-w-bashar/.
Arabic ‘Lil Madina’ translates ‘for the city’, founded in 2013 by residents of Saida, mainly architects and urban designers. Their collective agenda, modus operandi, and outreach differs considerably from ‘Shajar w Bashar’. See https://lilmadinainitiative.wordpress.com/ (1 February 2018).
This article’s author, Sabbagh, participated in data gathering and field survey for the Qanaya study and was an active partner in many of the Lil Madina initiatives.
Workshops co-organized by Lilmadina and Al-Sabbagh include: “Development of East Wastani”, February 2014; Public and focused talks, i.e., Makassed Talk, May 2015; ‘Towards Improving the Land-Pooling and Subdivision Tool Roundtable in collaboration with Issam Fares Institute, 19 December 2015 co-organized with Sabbagh; “Developing Al-Qamleh Valley” April 2015.
The Lebanese urban planning framework applied by corporate land developers includes a set of regulatory (e.g., master plans, building law) and operational tools (e.g., land pooling tool) that is top-heavy, ignoring the specificity of place and local community. For a detailed discussion of the land pooling corporate application in the East Wastani project versus ecological guidelines for planning see Salwa Sabbagh, 2015 .
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