|in1000 years a large part of Lebanon's coast will be under water|
The future of Lebanon’s coastal cities and their flood mitigation and sea rise plans are affected by two main things:
1- The constantly and drastically changing environment causing the rise in sea levels, increase in storms and their frequency, sinking landmasses and wild waves are all some results we are observing constantly among others.
2- Planning disabilities that contain lack of funding, long time periods plans with no direct encouraging results, unclear understanding of issues and results, lack of management and communication between diverse stakeholders…
None of us today can forget the images of Hurricane Katrina or the recent tsunamis. Our coastlines are much denser today and are growing so the scale of disaster we will face is drastic. Yet avoiding such disasters even some of which will appear in as far as 1000 years may be managed in a positive manner starting today. (previous blog entry maps 1000 years water rise effect on Beirut. http://goo.gl/HXjWb)
|Current condition of sea level in relation to Lebanon|
I will highlight several strategies to ‘overcome’ the reality of loosing coastal communities that are an intrinsic part of our histories, contribute to the economy, and are home to millions of residents . These strategies are long term plans and are sometimes used in fragments on some areas and are governed by funding and investors. To avoid the coastal areas drowning these strategies nee to be used on all the coast.
The main three strategies presented are
1- RESIGN: phased out abandonment of the coastal city area of Beirut
2- OVERPOWER: land reclamation to build habitable dam types
3- INTEGRATE: floating a city: new types of development
|in1000 years a large part of Beirut's coast will be under water that is if we do not get a tsunami before|
RESIGN: phased out abandonment
To abandon a location and avoid a catastrophic future is to avoid a large human toll. It will mainly require housing and infrastructure to move to safer ground. This abandonment can be a managed process that allows the coastal area of Beirut to slowly transform into a public green zone that may help the environment and lesser sea rise.
|relocating slowly + making this space a large forest may prevent floods and also create a threshold of public space|
This is a long term sustainable plan that will allow new investments not to be lost and will decrease investment in flood defense. Abandoning and allowing the sea to flood areas is a strategy that exists but has never occurred in dense cities yet. Its disadvantages such as loosing communities, land, infrastructure…are obvious. YET relocating slowly and making this space a large forest may prevent floods and also create a threshold of public space that Beirut needs.
Overpower: Land reclamation is an act of overpowering nature.
When we talk about land reclamation several examples come to mind, Dubai and even Beirut’s waterfront.
|BEIRUT'S LAND RECLAMATION PLANS POST WAR|
Land reclamation works in the opposite way as abandonment and consists of actually building another coastline. By choosing this strategy, the existing built infrastructure of the city’s coastline is protected from floods and does not need to be relocated to higher ground or rebuilt after flooding. Flood defense is very expensive but is also a strategy that exists and has been used on different scales.
Considering how expensive such a strategy is for a city they can be designed in a way to make them economically or commercially viable spaces such as public tourist spaces. Such a strategy needs to exist on all the coastline and needs to be a minimum of 10 meters higher than the existing coastline.
“The ship is the heterotopia par excellence. In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police take the place of pirates.” -Michel Foucault
To integrate the coastal cities into the water has massive development potential to be gained both for water and the city. Overpowering by building dams, even the livable ones suggested in strategy 2, does among other disadvantages damage the coastal habitats. Integrating will allow sprawl into the water instead of what is left from the countryside.
|If our grounds are no longer safe why don’t we build on the more dynamic surfaces that exist?|
Floating cities docked in place can be a sustainable way to continue to enlarge and densify cities and may also become an new urban planning tool with a lot of potential. If our grounds are no longer safe why don’t we build on the more dynamic surfaces that exist? This strategy will not prevent our coastal cities from drowning but will through long term management and planning policy relocate all that live in such spaces into new property.