Urban Injections introduces civic functions to spots that have been misused, threatened, lost, abandoned, and neglected by either the community or government - or both. Each spot experiences a pragmatic intervention[s] that include[s] the community, the environment, and identity. The interventions are grassroots and can be maintained and developed by residents. Civic socio-political healing is an underlying target of making this chain of interventions across harsh edges. The work is explored by developing technical drawings of the plots, updating public information, engaging in communal design development/ sociological studies/ quantitative understandings/ audiovisual media and more.
Innovation of Industry, Sustainable Communities, Restore Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Social Inclusion.
Beirut River Pilot: Project Narrative
A pilot was designed in the Karantina - Nahr Beirut - Bourj Hammoud area. This location experiences disabled public amenities, stakeholders, and communal spaces [Frem, 2009; Youssef & Ali, 2017]. These disabilities are coupled with vandalism [Frem, 2009] and infertility of the land [Trovato et al., 2016]. The area is also socio-politically diverse [Youssef & Ali, 2017] and hence ownership is very diverse which has created a lot of unresolved problems over time such as damage to the physical environment, troubles with coexistence, political instability. According to Youssef & Ali , Nahr Beirut faces a myriad of challenges, including insufficient waste management, absence of wastewater management, sewage and storm water runoff into the river, absence of open and green spaces, as well as urban encroachment, high buildings, and population density along the river.
Beirut River Pilot: Location
The group prioritized field work in order to juxtapose socio-political realities to the urban environment of the Karantina - NahrBeirut - Bourj Hammoud region. In this mapping, ethnic exchanges, communal gatherings, polluted environments, documented conversations with locals, and other phenomena revealed a dynamic that is necessary to develop a portrait. There is an absence of social, cultural, and infrastructural facilities leading to the lack of interaction among the community members and authorities. Seven plots were identified as hosts of the realized sociopolitical contestation. They were surveyed for further investigation.
One plot was chosen out of the seven drawn plots to host a capsule intervention. The plot is located in the midst of the Energy Ministry and the canalized, polluted, and underserved Beirut river. It is dark, trashed, and rendered an unsafe corner. It sits on the edge of a highway adjacent to the river, both of which are long wounds that divide Karantina from Bourj Hammoud in terms of mobility and communal gathering. The capsule intervention aims to bring collective healing [playing, resting, gathering, and trading] and compensates underserved civic rights [light, power, and space]. It is powered by solar energy.
Theory of Intervention: Beirut River Pilot
Field discussions and documented testimonies revealed several needs of the residents. Those needs were cross referenced with types of civic reform that can be brought to the district. The intended capsule was theorized to be an assemble of three platforms. When disassembled, each platform is dedicated to trading, playing/ gathering, and device charging distinctly. Different combinations of the fractions could be placed at different points on the edge of the highway and/ or river.
Civic Reform Proposal Visualization
The material of the Beirut River Pilot is downloadable, and includes some renders that convey the desired community scenarios.
Since this project is executable at the onset of a construction-grant, and now that the values of the civic reform have been decided, the designed capsule and its fractions can be parametrized into modular formations. This makes the civic intervention easy to manufacture and ready to be deployed at different points. This pilot project is scalable and applicable to different corners in the country.