THE IDEA
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For several decades, Lebanon has been the centre of recurrent local and international public opinions: information about the war, the ever-booming night life, tourism and its successive rebirths, nostalgic tales of a devastated paradise. The country has nonetheless rarely been associated with more substantial thoughts on urban and social issues such as city policies and segregation. Yet such problems seem crucial as every Lebanese citizen faces serious mobility constraints in everyday life, to reach their work place or university, on the way to the mall or a family gathering.

In fact, Lebanon is a relatively narrow coastal country with a severe circulation-congestion problem and an inefficient public transport system. An excessive use of cars in a country where road structures are neither planned nor controlled has lead cars to take possession of external spaces. Vehicles invaded pavements. Wastelands became car parks. Private cars, taxis, “services”, buses, trucks, two and six wheelers… roads and lands are saturated.





 
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Lately, congestion issues have been addressed by politicians as well as professionals, through media, research institutes and political stances. Talks have lead to several studies and proposals including reorganizing road infrastructures or rehabilitating the railway network along the coast. However, the coastal zone bearing the highest density of the country does not provide sufficient space for more infrastructures.



In such a context, a viable urban solution for Lebanon would be extending available space by opening up to the sea, creating a network of possibilities. A maritime public transport system can help reduce road traffic and facilitate circulation of people and goods. At the core of it, this increased fluidity ensures accessibility throughout the country and is very likely to provoke encounters and enhance social links.