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The Seemingly (Un)Planned Urbanization in Chouf: Who is the Planner?
UNDP Peace Building in Lebanon (News Supplement 27 - march 2021)
Lebanon, Chouf district, urban planning
After the civil war (1975-1990), many regions in Lebanon, including the Chouf district, have been perceived as a patchwork of contested sectarian geographies. While the massacres of the civil war and the failed reconciliation and return attempts of the 1990s are not to be undermined, analyzing urbanization trends in Chouf merely from a sectarian lens today doesn’t take us far in understanding the challenges of urban planning in the district. The spatial manifestations of sectarianism ought not to be discussed as a given but rather as symptoms of a much more complex dynamic to be deconstructed through social and historical contextualization. While this is outside the scope of this short article, I aim instead to highlight other causes and consequences of what seems to be an unplanned urbanization in Chouf.