Following the ongoing debate over the Mar Mikhael Square Project, an American University of Beirut- Urban Lab initiative, we propose to open a debate around the issue, having neighborhood committees as an entry point to the ongoing discussion.
In this article, we will not delve into the details of the project itself or the path followed by those in charge of it, nor the concerns expressed by some residents, which are all necessary details and are important to address. Rather, we see the priority in directing this discussion to the basics, in terms of the concept of representation, in theoretical and practical terms, in the Lebanese context, and therefore the impact it has on participation.
We thus ask questions that we consider pivotal in this regard: What is a neighborhood? Who speaks for it? What is the context for the formation of these committees and objecting bodies? We propose these questions to start a public debate around participation, representation, urban projects and the roles urban planning can play in such a context.
Read more details in Arabic here.