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Refugee Settlement in Ras Beirut's Modern Buildings

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dc.contributor.advisor Fawaz, Mona Dadouch, Layla 2024-02-07T13:24:28Z 2024-02-07T13:24:28Z 2024-02-07 2024-02-07
dc.description.abstract This thesis explores Syrian refugees’ settlement in a middle-class area in Beirut. It takes for case study a group of large-scale modern buildings, located in Ras Beirut and fully occupied by Syrian refugees. The thesis asks: How are these modern buildings, the remnants of an earlier building boom that pushed development in the 1960s, appropriated to serve as shelter for low-income displaced populations? To answer the question, the thesis documents how deteriorated modern buildings, once Beirut’s pride and the symbols of its rising economy, have been turned into refugee housing. It also documents the processes through which this settlement is managed, and the conditions in which refugees inhabit the buildings. The thesis finds that while refugees access housing in relatively prime locations in the city, they are allowed shelter in highly precarious spatial and social conditions whereby unrecorded contracts and a criminalized residency status generate a lingering threat of eviction and little room for negotiation. The thesis further finds that the buildings where refugees are allowed shelter are themselves the subject of complicated legal circumstances where largely building owners manage remotely residency through several intermediaries, effectively preventing refugees from any level of residential organization or autonomy. Ultimately, the thesis shows that forced population displacement intersects with Beirut’s urban transformations to produce precarious living conditions. This is important because it informs planning responses by way of showing that a proper response to forced population displacement cannot confine its response to temporary support, as is currently the case, and should instead extend to address larger forces that undermine affordable housing for urban majorities. The thesis findings are based on detailed fieldwork in the Ras Beirut area, including mapping and interviews, conducted between June 2022 and June 2023. The thesis is part of a larger research project at the Beirut Urban Lab, Precarious Homes, which investigates the intersections of modes of urban inhabitance for vulnerable social groups with the rampant financialization of the city’s fabric.
dc.language.iso en
dc.subject Ras Beirut Hamra Syrian Refugees Modern Dilapidated Buildings Urbanization Precarity Precarious Housing Shelter
dc.title Refugee Settlement in Ras Beirut's Modern Buildings
dc.type Thesis
dc.contributor.department School of Architecture and Design
dc.contributor.faculty Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture
dc.contributor.commembers Al-Harithy, Howayda
dc.contributor.commembers Saleh, Elizabeth Matta MUPP

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