amazing beirut

Beirut Cityscape. Source: Green prophet.

amazing beirut is a new project by the beirut municipality aiming to pump up the green in the grey goo that is Beirut. According to the project's director, Nadim Abu Risk, the main strategy to achieve this target is to rehabilitate existing spaces like public gardens, roundabouts and sideroads.
In this Orient le Jour article, he says:
«L’un des principaux axes sur lequel nous travaillons est la réhabilitation et l’aménagement d’espaces verts, explique M. Abourizk. Si l’on fait un bilan de la situation à Beyrouth, nous constatons qu’il y a des routes, du trafic, de la pollution, des zones délabrées et des espaces verts en déclin. Ces espaces verts sont les jardins publics, les terre-pleins routiers (comme ceux de Ramlet el-Baïda), et les îlots de verdure (type rond-point).»
«Le projet Amazing Beirut vise à réaliser différents objectifs, ajoute-t-il. Promouvoir la conscience environnementale de la population pour rendre les modes de vie plus responsables, augmenter la superficie d’espaces verts et améliorer la qualité de ceux déjà existants, et améliorer les capacités de la municipalité en matière de Partenariats privé-public (PPP).»

In order to achieve a green Beirut i would argue that the strategy should be to aggressively acquire and convert the last open spaces in Beirut to green urban parks- using PPP( public private partnerships), rather than just rehabilitate the few micro-parcels the city already has .
To establish a green consciousness among citizens is to give them significant green space for their recreation, and to install among them this culture to go to an urban park to relax.

Are roundabouts and sideroads and existing gardens spaces of relaxation/recreation? I doubt that.
Such gardens are so tiny one can still hear the horns and inhale the CO2 emissions of the nearby road. One cannot even start a 5mn walk due to the small size of these garden. and these gardens' catchment area will definitely not expand after rehabilitation.

Looking at the 0.8% percentage of green m2 per person in Beirut ( we really have this much?), The municipality should get Beirut  new urban parks of consistent size, to be rightly called its green lungs.
Why not use the railyards of Abed and Mar Mikhael Station as temporary urban parks? Why not rehabilitate the sewer that is Nahr Beirut to a green corridor? What about Horsh Beirut that remains closed to locals but open to tourists? 

Mar Mikhael Railyard.courtesy of author
Mar Mikhael as Urban Park- FYP Proposal.courtesy of author

Nahr Beirut Waterfront. courtesy of author
Wetland Park at the Waterfront. [Trans]forming Nahr Beirut. courtesy of author
Nahr Beirut at Bourj Hammoud.[Trans]forming Nahr Beirut. courtesy of author

It is not enough to talk about rehabilitating Beirut's tiny little gardens in order to improve the current situation. We need drastic measures, at the scale of the city. We need campaigns to pump up environmental consciousness and behavior.We need pedestrian mobility and less car-centered streets.
The way the municipality is approaching the issue, the "amazing beirut" project is way too shy to be relevant. its outcome will certainly remain far from fulfilling Beirutis' deprivation of public green space. its honorable intentions  are not coming with the right scale of action that is much needed.

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