This animated explainer outlines the transformations in the production and exchange of the housing stock in Beirut after the Lebanese civil war, part of ongoing research by the Beirut Urban Lab on housing financialization. The study finds that building activities between 1996 and 2018 have been guided by an interventionist state strategy that has swayed the Lebanese regulatory framework and fueled heavy Central Bank interventions to incentivize construction in Beirut. It argues that high vacancy rates across the city indicate that housing is built and exchanged as an investment asset, with the severe repercussion of a lasting housing crisis where low- to medium-income households are increasingly unable to secure shelter. Delving deeper into building development in the city, the study further finds evidence of the monopolization of the building development industry by influential real-estate developers who reproduce and entrench Beirut's classed and sectarian geographies through their building activities.

Research Lead: Mona Fawaz
Research Team: Hayfaa Abou Ibrahim, Soha Mneimneh, Michelle Moawad, Isabela Serhan, Abir Zaatari
GIS database: Mario Mwahej and Shareef Tarhini
Visualization: Ahmad Gharbieh and Nour Zoghby Fares
Animation: Myriam Khoury

"Beirut: A City for Sale?" research is based on data collected and published in the Beirut Built Environment Database.

Watch the video here.