Problematic: the continuity of the coast. 2.

Problematic: How to deal with the conflict
between 1. The public right to access the maritime public domain, and 2. Preserve
the marine environmental quality and wellbeing facing the necessity of the
touristic development and the lands owners’ rights protected by the Lebanese law
(SDU).

A.   
Project Overview

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1.    
Location of the study zone and its limits

The study area will focus on the coastal part of Old Saida road based on the “Khaldeh Node” as the northern boundary and the Damour River as the southern natural boundary taking into consideration its northern and southern extensions. The choice of this region was based primarily on the geographical proximity to the sea which is a major parameter in the project, and secondly on the starting point of the highway which modified the course of development of the maritime route which, at a certain moment undergoes a break leaving the highway to take the continuity of the coast. 

2.    
Project description

The old Saida road was the only physical connection between the capital
Beirut, and the southern capital Saida and a main artery for commercial
activities for a long time before the establishment of the South Highway, which
since then has attracted all developments, infrastructure, services and
traffic, making the present known as “The Old Sidon Road” a
backyard of the highway and a lost potential that remains until
today, an open scene for urban neglect.

 

The objective of this project is to achieve a coherent urban vision that maximizes any intended potential of this coastal road, offering the sea its right to exist and giving the maritime road its real value and its initial urban role as a pleasant place to experience the public’s right to access the sea (physical or visual access), and maintain a healthy environment on the long term through a sustainable approach that integrates on one hand, an investment in all existing “lost potentials” and on the other hand, alternatives for the use of existing roads, empty lots, landscape, transportation, services, functions and infrastructure. 3.     Site Analysis / Screening a.     Identifying the environmental opportunities:  –        Adjacency to the sea –        Proximity to dense areas and neighborhoods (Aramoun, bchamoun, chouaifat, Damour, etc…)-        Proximity to an important urban node “mouthallas khaldeh” that gives high accessibility to the site. –        Recreational, cultural, residential and touristic facilities that brings life to the region.  b.     Identifying the environmental stresses:  –        Excessive water pollution (most dangerously in the surrounding of Costa Brava region) –        High air pollution (knowing that the site is adjacent to the highway), high emission of co2. –        Waste lands and brownfields –        Lack of access to the sea –        Constructions on the sea side and very close distanced to the water. –        Broken marine ecosystem due to the artificial interventions (constructions, agriculture, industries, trashes, etc…).-        Lack of pedestrian and cycling facilities. –        Car dependency and Lack of alternative transportation methods.   4.     Project goals on the environmental level As a Reminder:  The coast in the law of the environment (law 444/2002)”Protection of the coastline and the marine environment”- The marine environment must be protected from pollution in order to preserve the coastlines, its natural resources and its ports, as well as the territorial waters (art.29)- Any deposit, immersion or incineration of polluting substances in territorial waters is prohibited. (S.30) a.     Focusing on the sea as a main power and factor gathering all the elements of the coastal area. b.     Focusing on environmental strategies that can be applied in the degraded natural site helping what’s left from the clean sea water and cleaning what’s already polluted. c.      Regaining the right of occupying the maritime public domain by the public, through spaces designed to enhance the quality of environment and wellbeing d.     Working on sustainable long-term plans capable of using renewable energy and be a productive factor in the life of the coastal area. e.     Focusing on gathering natural elements (water and trees) in the site to create a healthy micro-climate and decrease the urban heat island as much as possible.

 

 

B.   
Principles for sustainable urban coastal Development

 

“This special issue of Sustainability is devoted to a very important
sustainability topic, viz. cities and waterfront infrastructure. The presence
of—and access to—water has been a critical factor in the long history of
settlement patterns of humankind. Water is not only a necessary consumption
good for survival, but has also an important production potential in an
economic sense.” Girard L. (2014)

 

“The Conference on The International Center Cities on
Water found” (2000) declared the basic principles for sustainable urban coastal
development:

 

a.    
The
protection of the quality of water and environment as a
precondition for all coastal developments and governments taking the
responsibility in this regard.

b.    
Considering
the coastal areas as an integral part of the city and designing
them by developing functions which will contribute to the city’s vitality such
as transportation, entertainment and culture.

c.     
Giving priority to having
access to the commercial and mixed uses such as culture, trade and housing
to water.

d.    
Making the
public access to coastal areas a prerequisite

e.    
Planning the
new coastal development in public-private partnerships, inclusion
of private investors in the planning process from the beginning to provide
market information and accelerate development, public administrations ensuring
the quality of design and infrastructure and protecting the public balance

f.      
Involvement
of professionals from different disciplines in the redevelopment of
coastal areas and the establishment of a network to ensure the exchange of
information in the planning process

 

C.   
Sustainable coastal development proposed strategies

 

1.    
Using the sea
as a resource

The site is adjacent to the sea that produces powerful and predictable waves; and so it is no
surprise that many machines – Wave Energy Converters – have been designed to
convert the energy of waves into clean, carbon-neutral electricity.

2.    
Strategy of Greening
Discourse

This strategy of Green Infrastructure aims to maximize the amount
of green areas in this area and preserving the existing ones remaining in the region
through:

a.    
Using the empty spaces in
buildings lots, and the leftover parcels of the lots as a green space.

b.    
Working to integrate the
green building laws as a pre-requisite essential criteria in the coastal region
and introduce some benefits for the appliers.

c.     
Creating a linear park following
the path of the road, parallel to the sea, to maximize the natural
interventions along the road and make it a healthy place to enjoy the sea.

 

3.    
Strategy of
Alternative Transportation methods

This strategy aims to minimizing the flow of automobiles (cars) used
daily from the south to Beirut by establishing an easy alternative
transportation method as a BRT, accompanied by park and ride facilities when
its needed (mainly in Saida, Saadiyat, Damour, Khaldeh).

 

a.    
Creating a cycling and pedestrian only network along the coast.

b.    
Creating a Green network connecting
the main attraction spots.

c.     
Planning for an electrical
Bus network starting from khaldeh along the coastal road arriving to Saida.

d.    
Limiting the car access roads
into a larger grid inside the area minimizing the distance of the Car path from
2 lanes to 1 lane only in secondary roads.

 

4.    
Strategy of
Participatory Discourse-Community Activism

Knowing that the social factor is a main pillar in a successful
sustainable city model, this strategy is based on the major role of local
Communities engagement in the City life in order to provide maintain and plan a
cohesive social network between all the stakeholders which has been distracted
during the civil war and later on, through many other urban and economic
crisis. This approach tackles all people living in the region and build a solid
platform for the future generations taking into consideration all the needs and
city life facilities exclusively for each region. Knowing that each city, has
specific spirit, culture, lifestyle and needs.

5.    
Strategy of alternative and
renewable energy resources

 

This
strategy aims to encourage and maximize the use of renewable energy resources
in the region, benefiting from the existing resources.

Proposed
few of many guidelines for the strategy as follow:

 

a.     The use of the sea as source of
wave energy

b.     The use of trash(waste) as source
of gas energy (knowing that the site is near the Costa Brava)

c.      The use of Sun as source of day
light and energy storage through solar panels

d.     The Smart Facades in the buildings
minimizing the use of the electricity.

e.     The collection of the rainwater during
winter for the usage of the residents of the region.

f.       The use of recyclable materials in
shops (bags, products…)

g.      Encouraging the handmade and craftsmen economy
regeneration.

h.     Using porous pavements and eco-friendly
materials in construction and roads to minimize the heat absorption.

i.       Offering benefits for the renewable
energy appliers, and penalties for those who don’t.

 

D.  
Conclusion

The chosen site is presently passing through several environmental, social and economic crisis and most importantly is losing its relation with the sea, and cannot overcome these threats without a sustainable strategy which integrates a balanced resources management through a participation from all the stakeholders and it must tackle all the main factors of sustainability: the PPP golden rule (planet, people, profit) to deal with the applied stresses and benefit efficiently from the available resources and opportunities on a long term plan.