For a full news documentation about this work, please visit A Non-nostalgic Urban Regeneration.
Éric Verdeil, Métropolitiques, 2012
“We are witnessing in recent years the emergence of a third generation of researchers, born during the war, even during reconstruction, as evidenced by two books published by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. They share a common focus on what can be called the new front lines that divide the city [Beirut] from 2006-2007 and the events of May 2008…At the Edge of the City…is marked by tension but also touches upon themes inherited from years of reconstruction, as the issue of capacity planning to recreate shared public spaces…Anthropology, sociology, geography and history intertwine and revolve with visuals and artistic interventions, in part ephemeral, and proposals for architects, designers and landscape architects…Another striking feature characteristic of the positioning of these authors is their radical criticism particularly with regard to urban planning, which played a central role in the normative discourse on reconstruction and reconciliation in post-war Beirut.” (read more…)
Michael Teague, Al Jadid, 2012
“At the Edge of the City does a painstaking job of laying out all the issues surrounding the current state of the Horsh. Its writers are impressively dexterous in their combination of theoretical and poetic registers, and the book provides all manner of visual aids (charts, graphs, photos, maps, and even a DVD) to help the reader understand how the Horsh is one of Beirut’s most necessary public goods…Yet, what makes this book so wonderful is its emphasis on the solution, not the problem. The authors spend far more time providing concrete and highly plausible scenarios for the park’s re-admittance into Beirut’s public life…All in all, “At the Edge of the City” is not a book for the casual reader, but should be very carefully read by every person interested in thinking through the problems that beset Lebanese society. The authors present an inarguable case for strong civic institutions, and in so doing offer much valuable insight about how to begin to overcome the puzzle of Lebanon’s 18 officially recognized sects.” (read more…)
Susanne Lane, Main Gate, 2011
As an urbanist, Shayya distinguishes between what German sociologist Jurgen Habermas calls “a public sphere” and public spaces. He notes that although Beirut includes different social and political groups, encourages a free press and freedom of thought, and has a “rich and dynamic public sphere,” it has very few meeting and mass gathering places. “We only see people in masses during protests when they are all of the same “color” (either March 14 or March 8; either poor laborers or elitist heritage preservationists; etc.),” says Shayya.
Engaged citizens and professionals like Fadi Shayya and others continue to advocate for public spaces in Beirut—places where everyone is welcome and where people from different socio-economic, religious, and political backgrounds can come together.” (read more…)
Annie Slemrod, The Daily Star, 2011
“…the collection proposes a new discourse about Beirut’s park and public space in the city. It aims to “provide a platform to contest the existing governance of Horsh al-Sanawbar and to bring forward a well-informed public space public policy agenda”…At the Edge of the City encompasses so many different types of contributions that it can be tough to swallow as a whole.” (read more…)
Kristen Hope Burchill, LAU Magazine, 2010
“An emerging group of architects and graphic designers are mixing their aesthetic imperatives with a critical assessment of Beirut’s ongoing “postwar” reconstruction. Postwar, in this case, refers to both the 30-year civil war that tore up the country, and to the more recent 2006 war with Israel. These designers are changing the visual and spatial landscape of the capital, and locating their perspectives within a growing malaise that views the city — currently characterised by a wave of gentrified construction, privatization and environmental degradation — as increasingly out of tune with its own inhabitants.” (read more…)
Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, The National, 2010
“The current crop of books on Beirut has been produced by writers who have few first-hand memories of the Civil War…Their arguments about the city are psychogeographic, channeling Guy Debord and the Situationist International, concerning themselves with graffiti and the history of neighbourhoods outside the city centre…Fadi Shayya’s At the Edge of the City…enlists 40 contributors to engage a single site…In Shayya’s words, the closure of the park is “not right, not constitutional, and not just,” and his book attempts to imagine and project possibilities for its public reactivation.” (read more…)