As part of a larger study conducted for the Municipality of Saida for the urban development of the Wastani area through the “damm wo farz” project, Public Works was commissioned to study the social, economic and residential characteristics of the Wastani orchards from the perspective of their general feasibility and shared historical importance to Saida. We produced a report and maps of socio-spatial practices and housing modes, highlighting the negative impacts the planned project will have on the orchards, while suggesting alternative planning schemes.
Habib Debs URBI
Kindly refer to the Arabic page for a list of maps published in Arabic
Agriculture – the sector that was considered the cornerstone of the local Saida economy – is today the victim of real estate speculation, and the inability of local farmers to develop new ways to discharge or increase the value of their products. A large number of investments have been directed towards shops and shopping centers, which has contributed to enhancing the rationality of landowners and focusing investments on short-term economic gains rather than a sustainable future of the agricultural economy.
However, the green areas surrounding old Saida, particularly the Wastani and the Dekerman, are still being cultivated, but below the required level, specifically under the planning of the “damm wo farz” project by the Municipality.
In this study, we understand the importance of these orchards for the city as a whole, and also for the farmers who make up the first affected category. While agriculture is no longer a basic source of livelihood for land owners in Wastani, it is still a basic income and secure investment opportunity for small farmers. Agricultural work in Wastani also includes beekeeping, agricultural industries, and women trading in household-produced goods. Additionally, the role of the Wastani orchards was not confined to the economic factor. It also has the social and cultural value of recreation and gathering for the whole city, and an integrated lifestyle for the Wastani people who have been living there for decades.