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Atlas of Lebanon

Part 4 - Intense Urbanization

Part 4 – Intense Urbanization

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1If the post-war period was first and foremost devoted to the reconstruction of the affected areas, many damages remain visible, in Beirut, as well as in the Chouf, the South, and since 2006, in other areas hit by the Israeli attacks and internal fights, such as in Tripoli and Nahr el-Bared. These post-war years have mostly been marked by intense urbanization, around Beirut and along the coastline, but also along the main transport corridors, near Nabatiyeh in the South, Halba in the Akkar and in the central parts of the Bekaa Valley. In the form of continuous areas, ribbon, or leapfrog development, the urbanization process has been spreading to every region: it shows the rise of a new way of life linked to the diffusion of automobility and forms of housing which are characterized by low density and have not been subject to much regulation. This sprawl also results from the search for affordable land led by city dwellers who are forced to move out of the capital because of speculation and the renewal of the urban fabric. Close to Beirut, Mount Lebanon offers a condensed view of these transformations. However, the available data series are not yet precise enough to grasp the other evolutions in land use, be they affecting agricultural land, forest land or natural areas. What we know for sure is that the urbanization process has become a subject of debate and protest, as the conflicts rising over the illegal occupation of coastal lands show. New actors producing data and demanding uses more respectful of the law and the public are emerging.

Figure IV-1: A beach in Jbeil, a medium-sized city located in the northern periphery of Beirut, one of the only few accessible to the public, in a very urbanized environment

(© Éric Verdeil, 2015)

© Presses de l’Ifpo, 2019

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