Rebuilding Beirut’s port: an opportunity for social justice

By Nadine Khayat

An aerial view shows the massive damage done to Beirut’s port on 4 August 2020
Image: Alex Gakos / Shutterstock.com

On 4 August 2020, a powerful explosion in Beirut’s port left the city devastated with thousands of people injured and dozens dead. It took a few seconds to destroy around 40% of the city’s urban, social and architectural fabric and heritage.

In the aftermath of the explosion, we have a rare opportunity to instil social justice in the city and commemorate the victims by reimagining the destroyed port; linking the city’s seafront public spaces and reinstating historic links that the port had to the seafront, the city and its inhabitants.

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“If there is no empirical evidence that supports the need for gardens, who can blame city planners for removing them?”

If gardeners can vouch for the benefits of their green space, why don’t policy makers listen?

The mental and physical benefits of gardens are commonly acknowledged and enthusiastically celebrated. Despite this, there is still a lack of scientific evidence proving their value: until now.

By Dr Ross Cameron

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