An entry at Reuters Graphics*, depicting the recent deadly blast in the port of Beirut, includes a a brief summary of how the event has placed this already burdened city under enormous additional strain: ‘The blast was the most powerful ever to rip through Lebanon’s capital, a city still scarred by civil war three decades ago and reeling from an economic meltdown and a surge in coronavirus infections, reporting some of the highest numbers of cases since the pandemic began. For many, it was a dreadful reminder of the 1975 to 1990 civil war that tore the nation apart and destroyed swathes of Beirut, much of which had been rebuilt. The port district was left a tangled wreck, disabling the nation’s main route for imports needed to feed a nation of more than 6 million people. Lebanon has already been struggling to house and feed hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria.’
The Planning Complex Cities group intends to pay attention to the aftermath of this disaster, amongst others via support for MSc graduation students who are willing to study approaches that can contribute to the mitigation of the grave consequences of the blast. Students will also be supported by the chair of History of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Department of Architecture which specializes in the transformation of port cities and employs several researchers with an expertise in and knowledge about Lebanon. More partners at universities and other organisations in the region (the Union for the Mediterranean among these) are approached at the moment, in order to allow for meaningful engagement with a region that is currently near to inaccessible. Please keep an eye on this website for more information!
*Edited by Jon McClure; Photography: View of the blast site from the nearby Gemmayzeh neighborhood. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir