Beirut Municipality, AUB working on "Mar Mikhael Piazza" green square to promote pedestrian-friendly city

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2023-03-13 | 10:23
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Beirut Municipality, AUB working on "Mar Mikhael Piazza" green square to promote pedestrian-friendly city
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Beirut Municipality, AUB working on "Mar Mikhael Piazza" green square to promote pedestrian-friendly city

The "concrete triangle" at the intersection of Gemmayze, Mar Mikhael, and Pasteur streets was removed a week ago. Work is ongoing to expand and transform the intersection into a public green square, "The Mar Mikhael Piazza." 

This project is the first step in what is known as the Liaison Douce (Green Spine), which will be a green corridor connecting Ashrafieh with the Port of Beirut. 

The Green Spine was originally the idea of the late urbanist Habib Debs who passed away in February. 

The initiative was proposed by the American University of Beirut (Beirut Urban Lab) and is overseen by the Beirut Municipality to make the capital quieter for residents and more pedestrian-friendly. The project is co-designed by Debs and Francis Landscapes. 
 
Mona Fawaz, an urban planning professor at the American University of Beirut, said: "All our open spaces in Beirut have been eaten up by cars. We want to restore them for people. We spoke with the residents here, and they said they wanted a space to meet and have coffee with their neighbors."

"We took this empty space and expanded it," Fawaz added. "I think we made people talk about a shared space."

However, there is some debate over the new space, particularly among some shop owners. They complain about the inability to park their cars and fear traffic congestion will increase.

Fawaz responded to their concerns, saying, "I estimate that business owners will benefit greatly from this change. They must get used to parking their cars farther away from their stores. This is the case in all countries worldwide, but there is a natural adjustment period."

The Mar Mikhael square will appear in four months at the latest. The idea was born out of the efforts to rebuild Gemmayze and Mar Mikhael after the Beirut port blast, and its implementation today marks the beginning of a new approach to dealing with green spaces in Lebanon.

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Beirut

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AUB

Green

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Pedestrian

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The Mar Mikhael Piazza

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