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City as heart?

By : Esther Charlesworth

This paper addresses the paradox of a city, Beirut, wrought by contradictory accusations of self-inflicted destruction versus claims that the reconstruction is an inner city renaissance (with its development agency ‘Solidere’ as the post-war messiah!). Suggestions that Beirut is the world’s largest laboratory for post-war reconstruction, marketed through the metaphor of rebuilding the city’s former heart, continue to validate the urban surgery well underway in Lebanon’s ancient capital. However, the focus on reconstructing the center as the metaphorical heart of a destroyed body-city through privatized fast-track development strategies, this paper will argue, has led to an over-planned central urban area and a vastly under-planned greater Beirut metropolis

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