Juxtaposed against a dominant historiography that describes Beirut’s growth as a process originating from a central physical or administrative core, this project brings to light narratives taken from the city’s peripheries that together posit a revised vision of the city’s production: one where informal settlements, refugee camps, and old villages appear as laboratories of city making.
Through a general analysis of the city’s growth and case studies taken
from carefully selected locations in the peripheries, the project
articulates a unified framework for re-conceptualizing the formation of
the city and its peripheries and reveals the continuity of processes
that tie its spatial production (e.g., circulation of actors, capital,
models of development). Focusing on the formative period of 1950–1975,
the project ultimately produces an alternative history of Beirut, one
that builds on two decades of fieldwork during which Mona Fawaz pieced
together a wide range of primary material including oral histories with
key informants, public and personal archives, official documents and
correspondence, maps, and aerial photographs.