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Atlas of Lebanon

Part 7 - Territorial Governance, Urban and National Planning

Reconstruction Efforts: New Approaches

Jihad Farah et Amanie Majed

Texte intégral

1The 2006 war against Israel and the fights that occurred in Nahr el-Bared in 2007 against the radical Islamist group Fatah al-Islam caused major damages. The reconstruction of these areas differs from the post-Civil War reconstruction. They reveal new uneven power relations, which may explain the contrasted evolution of these projects.

2These projects stand out from the 1990s reconstruction because of the involvement of new actors and the withdrawal of the central State for which the inhabitants have shown distrust. Those of the southern suburb found the positioning of the government majority during the 2006 war regrettable and feared a Solidere-like scenario. Those of Nahr el-Bared questioned its will to really rebuild the camp. In this context, other actors have taken center stage.

3At the center of the reconstruction of the southern suburb is the Hezbollah, or more precisely Waad, the entity it created for this purpose. Neither a private company nor a public reconstruction agency, which are the only entities authorized by the Lebanese law to implement the reconstruction of a sector, Waad nonetheless succeeded in convincing a considerable number of beneficiaries to delegate the reconstruction of their buildings. In addition to this intervention focused on private property, Waad cooperated with municipalities and the municipal union of the southern suburb, controlled by the party, to organize the public space. This entity received the support of thousands of volunteers and hundreds of engineers and architects, as well as of other entities connected to the party, long specialized in the issues of public works. Waad handled the compensation amounts allocated by the government to the beneficiaries, to which were added funds provided by the party and its political sponsors, all this amounting to 400 million US$. Hezbollah supported the speed of the reconstruction of the southern suburb, one of its main strongholds. Waad achieved the reconstruction of 270 buildings, that being 4,700 housing and commercial units, in five years. However, two issues remained subject to critics: the marginal participation of the population in the process and the lost opportunity to reorganize a very densely populated suburb marked by a disorganized urban fabric as a consequence of the choice of rebuilding by reproducing the original aspect of the neighborhood.

Figure VII-9: Set-up of the Waad Project

Figure VII-9: Set-up of the Waad Project

4In Nahr el-Bared, a local committee composed of displaced inhabitants of the camp, volunteers and specialists who wanted to assist offered an alternative to the governmental project. Prepared by a large Lebanese engineering firm without consulting the inhabitants, the initial plan was completely disconnected from the camp’s geography and history before the destruction. The local committee succeeded in having its project adopted thanks to the backing of UNRWA, the UN agency in charge of the assistance to the Palestinians. It also obtained the support of the population thanks to its participatory approach. The bombing by the Lebanese Army of the fighters hidden in the buildings completely destroyed the camp. Nearly 30,000 residents were evacuated. Yet, the camp being officially an extraterritorial entity, there was no official map of its buildings nor any registration of the existing apartments. The committee consequently engaged in an operation of reconstitution to determine what previously existed based on interviews conducted with thousands of displaced families. It developed a model allowing for the recognition of the families’ “rights” depending on their situations before the conflict, which constituted the base of the planning proposal. The families were involved in the design of their apartments as well as in the planning of their buildings and neighborhoods. Despite difficult negotiations with the army and the DGU regarding security and regulatory issues, the support of financial backers at the Vienna Conference (2008) provided UNRWA with the funds needed to start the construction process. However, as some donors withdrew their promises, the implementation of the project has been greatly slowed down.

Figure VII-10: Location of the Nahr el-Bared camp

Figure VII-10: Location of the Nahr el-Bared camp

Figure VII-11: Set-up of the Nahr el-Bared Project

Figure VII-11: Set-up of the Nahr el-Bared Project

Table des illustrations

Titre Figure VII-9: Set-up of the Waad Project
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/13308/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 121k
Titre Figure VII-10: Location of the Nahr el-Bared camp
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/13308/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 64k
Titre Figure VII-11: Set-up of the Nahr el-Bared Project
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifpo/docannexe/image/13308/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 149k

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