A group of activists in Beirut have teamed up with a local design agency to create the city’s first map of green spaces. Beirut Green Project and Wonder 8 launched the Beirut Green Guide at Tawlet earlier this week, but a few kinks still need to be worked out.
According to the Daily Star:
“The complaint, as common as a winter cold, is familiar: There are no green spaces in Beirut. The assertion, made in the shadow of concrete high-rises and within earshot of the ever-present aural strains of yet more rebar being lifted to the heavens, seems irrefutable. Yet some of Beirut’s must active public space campaigners have chosen to do something other than just gripe about the deficiency of public parks.”
Lack of public access to the Horsh Beirut urban park remains among the most noteworthy and ongoing issues, and activists have engaged city officials in a pitched debate over who has the right to enjoy the historic gardens, but now the group has focused time and resources on highlighting what the city does have rather than what it doesn’t.
By building an interactive web-based map that illustrates the parks and other green spaces that are tucked away among the numerous concrete high rises and raging highways, the group hopes to encourage residents to seek them out, a member of the group, Rana Boukarim, told The Daily Star.
And in order to get word out, an exhibition at the restaurant in Mar Mikhael depicting each space along with its various amenities will remain in place for a full month.
Albeit still in Beta, the green guide is a brilliant, user-friendly tool.
Clicking on any of a series of bright orange icons on the map will bring up a separate page that lists the properties of each destination, including useful information like how many benches are available, whether or not pets are welcome, and if WiFi is available.
Photos are also posted.
Handy “did you know” facts provide information about each spot’s history, though the English spelling is not always correct and there is no Arab translation yet (many of the street names are written in Arabic, however.)
For now, the group has collated information on 22 parks in the city, (not much for a population of more than two million) but they are encouraging users to submit any spots that they have overlooked. And in time, they hope to publish a print version of the guide.
Until the rooftop revolution is complete, and lush green gardens crown all of the city’s featureless buildings, these public parks are all Beirut’s got.
:: Daily Star
Photo above via Beirut Green Project. Credits: Karim Sakr