Port for the People: A Citizen-First Vision for the Reconstruction of Karantina and the Beirut Port Cityscape
Weiyuan He, Sandra Jasionyte, Giulia Kiernan, Yinan Ni
Port for the People envisions a future for Beirut, where citizens can rightfully become primary beneficiaries of the port cityscape. Instead of allowing the most at-risk communities in Karantina to bear the worst consequences of a corrupt and failing system, this project posits that the reconstruction of the city and port should prioritize the citizens of Beirut, ensuring their future wellbeing, prosperity and sense of belonging. To achieve this, Port for the People first suggests that a stronger physical link must be established between the port and the city fabric through the reconstruction of the port as a porous component of the waterfront. Unlike its previous typology as a continuous, rigid and inaccessible barrier between the city and the sea, the port is instead broken up by extensions of the cityscape into its various functions. In tandem, new public spaces introduced into the city fabric, connected by a green network to facilitate pedestrian movement, provide economic and humanitarian programming for residents and strengthen Karantina’s historic identity as a home for lower-income Lebanese citizens, newcomers, and refugees. Through this multifaceted approach, this proposal contributes to a future vision of an equitable Beirut, where citizens not only live comfortably and prosperously, but are active participants in the port cityscape.