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American University of Beirut (2021)

URBAN-RURAL INTERFACE IN GREATER SOUR : AIN BAAL CASE STUDY

Basma, Ali

Titre : URBAN-RURAL INTERFACE IN GREATER SOUR : AIN BAAL CASE STUDY

Auteur : Basma, Ali

Université de soutenance  : American University of Beirut

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2021

Résumé
Over the last 50 years, the urban expansion of Lebanese coastal cities has led to fragmentation and homogenization of the coastal landscape, urban peripheries and the countryside. The result is twofold. On the one hand, ever-changing rural-urban boundaries defy polarized management and planning by local and central authorities. On the other hand, unregulated urban expansion demonstrates failure of the current urban planning approach in Lebanon and undermines its ability to respond to the complexity of urban sprawl. These processes are clear in the urban expansion of Sour, in southern Lebanon, where complex diffusion processes acting at different scales transform the city and its rural peripheries and compromise the health of the environment and the functioning of urban and rural ecosystems alike. The response of planning authorities fails because their jurisdiction is confined to the city’s urban administrative boundaries. This thesis responds to the problematic by proposing to reimagine the fragmented peri-urban landscape of greater Sour and by building on the complementarity between city and countryside rather than planning each in isolation from the other. The selected case study, the village of Ain Baal, in Sour’s southeastern edge, represents one of three axes of urban sprawl out of Sour. The urban expansion of Ain Baal exhibits new built-up zones and ribbon-development, which is rapidly evolving into urban corridors that link Ain Baal to Sour. The Ain Baal masterplans, the state regulatory tools to manage urban expansion, fails to consider disrupted ecological continuities, landscape connectivity of the rural-urban continuum, favoring instead real estate speculation. To address these challenges, the methodology of ecological landscape design was applied to Municipal Ain Baal to explore holistic, integrative approaches to managing the urban-rural interface. Ecological Landscape Associations (ELAs) were identified to serve as the foundation for understanding emerging urbanization trends and ecological processes in Municipal Ain Baal. ELAs were then consolidated into Landscape Character Zones (LCZs), the building blocks that guide and inspire environmentally sustainable and ecologically sound future planning. The thesis concludes by proposing an urban landscape conceptual model that prioritizes ecological integrity, landscape connectivity and protects the local character be it rural, urban or rurban. Far from a master plan, the conceptual model proposed for Ain Baal aims to inform and guide state regulatory tools.

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Page publiée le 22 mai 2021