Narratives of Destruction and Re-Constructions
Keywords:Beirut Port City, Beirut Central District, Solidere, Urban Transformation, Narratives, Destruction and Re-construction
The repeated destructions and reconstructions of Beirut have been widely acknowledged and conveyed from one generation to the next through different narratives, anecdotes, literature, and popular cultural productions. This paper describes the historical transformations of the city of Beirut from an old harbour city to a generic central district through a selection of dominant narratives, as well as alternative counter-narratives and anecdotes.
The paper argues that the post-civil war reconstruction project is submissive to the neo-liberal models of development which resulted in the generic city that we can observe today. The paper also projects two extreme case scenarios for the future development of the city, of which one seems to prevail: a scenario that has started to materialise since the sudden dramatic and deadly port explosion that hit the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020.