SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES

Introduction


More than half of the world’s population now live in urban areas. By 2050, that figure will have risen to 6.5 billion people – two-thirds of all humanity. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces.

In 1990, there were ten mega-cities with 10 million inhabitants or more. In 2014, there are 28 mega-cities, home to a total 453 million people. The rapid growth of cities in the developing world, coupled with increasing rural to urban migration, has led to this boom in mega-cities.

The Arab region is rapidly urbanizing with the urbanization rate growing at an average rate of 2.5 percent per year (2015 estimates). Today, more than half of the Arab population (57 percent) lives in urban areas with great variance across the region (99 and 98 percent in Qatar and in Kuwait, respectively; to 58 and 44 percent in Morocco and Egypt, respectively; down to 3 and 28 percent in Sudan and Comoros, respectively). Around 28 percent of all urban residents in the region are living in slums or informal settlements and in the least developed countries of the region, almost two thirds of urban residents live in slums.

Extreme poverty is often concentrated in urban spaces, and national and city governments struggle to accommodate the rising population in these areas. Making cities safe and sustainable means ensuring access to safe and affordable housing, and upgrading slum settlements. It also involves investment in public transport, creating green public spaces, and improving urban planning and management in a way that is both participatory and inclusive.

Lebanon has a rich urban cultural heritage, with a number of the world’s oldest cities. The country has, however, witnessed large demographic changes, including a high level of conflict-induced urbanisation and waves of external and internal displacements. Such increasingly complex urban contexts can make it more difficult to maintain social coherence and ensure inclusion.

Beirut Arab University- Tripoli Branch and the Safadi Cultural Association, in partnership with  Mina Municipality, launched the project "Our City Our Way", co-funded by the European Union within the framework of the Regional Program Med Culture and the SouthMed CV Project, with a group of 30 youths between the ages of 14 and 17, As a "child-friendly city" based on their needs, aspirations and dreams, drawing on the techniques of architectural drawing, photography and building of models.

The ceremony was attended by MP Mohammed Safadi, represented by Rabih Othman, former Minister Omar Meskawi, the Mayor of Mina, Mr. Abdelkader Alameddine, members of the Municipal Council, Tripoli Mayor Ahmed Qamareddine, represented by Dr. Khaled Tadmori, directors of public administrations, Director General of Safadi Cultural Society Ms. Samira Baghdadi, Vice President for Tripoli Branch Affairs Prof. Khaled Baghdadi, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at BAU and Deans of the Faculties of Architecture at the Northern Universities , the Coordinator of the Branch at the Association of University Graduates in the North Mr. Ahmad Sankri and representatives of the participating bodies in the project.

After the Lebanese National Anthem and Beirut Arab University Anthem, Ms. Nalla Ma kouk, welcomed the audience mentioning that the Youth Project "Our city our way’’ is a unique project aimed at enhancing the spirit of citizenship and leadership among young people from the Mina area and inspires them by training them to understand their city and to look critically at it. 

The Assistant Professor of Architecture-Design & Built Faculty, Dr. Eslam Samahi, presented a technical presentation of the project explaining the most important techniques that will be used by the youths to develop a vision of their city.

Then Ms. Samira Baghdadi took the speech considering that "the project stems from an absolute belief in the role of youth and children, Image of the city and its adoption .The partners in the project did not want to work for the youth, but with them," she said. “The Safadi Cultural Society, the Beirut Arab University, the Tripoli Branch, and the Municipality of Mina agreed to overcome the culture of institutional selfishness and to move towards a culture of genuine partnership.

In her turn, Prof. Bastawisi pointed "the Beirut Arab University has paid special attention to the development of society and participated in studying its problems and developing appropriate scientific solutions through many scientific researches in its faculties, which are funded mainly by national and international institutions." Architecture - Design and Urban Environment is one of the oldest and most influential faculties of the university. It influenced the society in terms of the specializations offered, which concern the architectural design and its compatibility with the natural and built environment as well as urban design and planning.

Alameddine, Mayor of Mina, said that "This project will be the first of a series of projects to be prepared’’ expressing his keenness to restore the distinguished relations with Arab and international institutions to strengthen the development of Mina and Tripoli. He pointed out that "this project is the result of fruitful cooperation between partners to serve a coastal city worthy of projects useful to its citizens."

The opening ceremony was followed by the completion of applications for admission to the project from about 120 high school students in Mina, before taking a tour of the College and the Model Making Lab and carrying out the most important work techniques to be used in the project. The students also visited an exhibition of models and engineering designs in which they listened to the teachers and students of the Faculty of Architecture explaining the projects presented.

It is an opportunity for engineering students to exhibit the knowledge and skills they acquired at BAU through various projects in different engineering disciplines. Students’ parents, BAU alumni, and professional engineers are invited to attend the exhibition on the 16th of April, 2019. High school students are invited to learn about the faculty and its activities on the 17th of April, 2019.

Under the patronage of Prof. Amr Galal El Adawi, President, Beirut Arab University, and on behalf of the organizing committee of UHWB18, we would like to welcome you to the International Conference on Urban Health & Wellbeing Building Collaborative Intelligence for Better Lives in Cities held in BAU - Debbieh Campus, from the 23rd till the 25th of October 2018. This conference will be hosted by Beirut Arab University, BAU, in partnership with the International Science Council, ISC, and in collaboration with the International Society for Urban Health, ISUH.

UHWB18 is the premier interdisciplinary platform for the presentation of new advances and research results in the fields of Urban Health and wellbeing. UHWB2018 will bring together leading academic scientists, professionals, researchers, and scholars in the domain of interest from around the world.


We are diligently working on bringing the most knowledgeable academics, researchers and practitioners from all over the world, as well as leaders in the field to explore important topics that focus not only on the discussion of health and wellbeing, but especially in its effectiveness to ensure urban resilience which will allow the future cities to adequately provide wellbeing to the societies.


The 3 days conference will be based on technical and poster sessions on cutting edge issues related to Urban Human Health. It will also provide opportunities for networking and socializing.

For more info, kindly visit our website: http://www.uhwb18.bau.edu.lb/

A 3-day MOST School on “Youth civic engagement and public policies for urban governance through cultural heritage” will be organized in partnership with UNESCO, the Beirut Arab University (BAU) and the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development (HFSHD). While numerous SDGs will be tackled, this MOST School aims to share experiences and various methodologies of policy research in order to collaborate to promote an effective policy dialogue.