SDG11: SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES

INTRODUCTION

The Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030), also known by its acronym SDGs, are an initiative promoted by the United Nations to give continuity to the development agenda after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). There are 17 objectives and 169 targets proposed as a continuation of the MDGs, including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption and peace, and justice, among other priorities. After a negotiation process on the SDGs that involved 193 member states of the UN, on September 25, 2015, the 193 world leaders approved at a summit held in New York in a high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly, an Agenda entitled “Transform our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ", which entered into force on January 1, 2016.

The 11th goal of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) focused on the importance of making cities and human societies inclusive, safe, flexible and sustainable. However, achieving this goal has challenges, especially as individuals and families continue to migrate to cities in pursuit of better livelihoods.

Statistical projections indicate that by 2050, the population of cities will double, specifically in Asia and Africa, where about 70 people out of every 100 people in the world will live in cities. Accordingly, a lot of work is needed in the field of securing a sustainable way of life in major cities to meet people's needs while preserving natural resources for future generations.

Lebanon is not far from this reality, as it is witnessing a rapid urban expansion accompanied by complex problems, including ensuring access for all to services, education, affordable housing, and environment protection.

If we want to summarize the most important reasons for immigration to the city, we see that the lack of development projects and the dwindling of job opportunities in the countryside are the first reason, in addition to the unequal availability of official government departments in the governorates, and reliance on the capital as a main center for factories, higher education institutions, companies and institutions, whether governmental or private.

Years before the United Nations announced the 2030 Agenda goals, the Lebanese University strengthened its presence on Lebanese territories and branched out its faculties in various regions in order to ensure access to education for all and contribute to creating a stable, safe and sustainable environment for students of higher education in the Lebanese governorates.

The Lebanese University constructed the university compounds in Hadath - Beirut and Tripoli based on sustainable development standards, among which green buildings, recycling, solar energy, water consumption, photovoltaic panels, green spaces and others.

GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Lebanon has been experiencing rapid urban expansion. This comes with complex problems including ensuring everyone has access to services and affordable housing and protecting the environment. National and local actors are responding to this problem across relevant sectors.

About one in five displaced Syrians live in urban areas. This has led to increased population density and put more pressure on public services. The CNRS-L is responsible for measuring seismic activities and CBRN emissions through its Geophysical Center and Atomic Energy Commission respectively. The CNRS-L supports the government to implement the Sendai framework, particularly its priorities on understanding disaster risk and strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk. The CNRS-L is responsible for releasing all hazard and risk maps (earthquake, flood, landslides, forest Fires and droughts), and has released several hazard and risk assessment reports for each of the governorates’ critical infrastructure, and for the agriculture sector. The CNRS-L contributed to the national disaster management strategy.

Despite these urbanization challenges, Lebanon’s biggest cities have succeeded in preserving their old cities as historical heritage. Lebanon is also endowed with a rich natural heritage including its north to south coastline. A coastline master plan, or land-use strategy, is currently being developed that will ensure the socioeconomic and environmental dimensions of development are balanced and integrated.

The Lebanese University cooperated with CNRS-L in the field of urbanism and architecture where scholarship is provided to students from faculty of fine-arts and architecture in order to improve research in this field and to set analyses for a better urbanism verifying European standards. Also, the Lebanese University cooperates in heritage and patrimonies in collaboration with UNESCO and regional universities and institutions to advance research and preserve heritage in the countries.

Moreover, the Lebanese University participated to European projects such as Future of our past aims to address by means of a model focused on innovative tourism plans for cultural and environmental heritage.

Future of our past

The Lebanese University has signed an agreement with Institut Francais du Proche-Orient on September 2018 (doc 64) aiming to exchange experts and documentation with the Center of building restoration of the Fine-Arts faculty concerning the conservation of monuments and historic sites.

The Lebanese University established on 11 February 2016 (doc 65) an agreement with the Dunyeh municipality aiming to develop training and expertise in engineering and architecture and urbanism fields

Hasan Ismail, graduate of the Lebanese University, awarded “Best Engineering Graduation Project” in Brussels

Hasan Ismail, a graduate of the Lebanese University - Faculty of Engineering (Branch 3 - Civil Engineering), was awarded “Best Graduation Project” (Master 2018-2019) in Brussels for his project entitled “Experimental and numerical characterization of the structural behavior of sandwich plates”, according to the classification of the jury representing two Belgian universities.

Under an agreement between the Lebanese University - Faculty of Engineering and the Université libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Hasan completed his fourth and fifth years in Civil Engineering and submitted a graduation project introducing a new technology to isolate household walls.

The architect Maysaa Zeaiter, graduate of the Lebanese University submits proposals for rehabilitation of Burj Al Murr area in Beirut.

The project of the Lebanese University student Maysaa Zeaiter, graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts & Architecture (Architecture - 2019) reached the semi-finals of the Tamayouz International Graduation Projects Awards 2019.

Maysaa was selected among the top 50 in the first phase and the top 20 in the second phase, pending the first five projects to be selected soon, out of the 900 graduation projects submitted to the festival committee from 155 universities in 64 countries.

Maysaa’s architectural project, completed under the supervision of Dr. Habib Sadek, proposes the rehabilitation of abandoned and neglected spaces in the city - the "Burj Al Murr area in Beirut" as a model.

The winning projects are arbitrated by an international panel of professors from several European universities specializing in architecture, design, infrastructure, urban design and urban planning.

The Lebanese University participates in the drafting of the "Beirut Urban Declaration" for the reconstruction of the areas affected by the port explosion ... and contributes to the launch of the Urban Observatory works

Dean, Professor Muhammad Al-Hajj, and a large number of his professors, participated in the drafting of the "Beirut Urban Declaration" for the reconstruction of the affected areas as a result of the port explosion, which was launched by the chief of the Lebanese Union of Engineers, Captain Architect Jad Tabet in the Union of Engineers - Beirut on October 9 The first of 2020, by invitation and organization of the Committee of Faculties of Architecture of the Union and the Associations of Architects and Engineers Specialized in Urbanism and in collaboration with the Chadirji Foundation for Architecture and Society.

During the presentation ceremony presented by the president of the College of Architects, Dr. Atef Mushaimish, Tabet spoke about the importance of the announcement in this circumstance with its content and the level of its preparers from the Union of Engineers and Faculties of Architecture.

Subsequently, the decision of the Committee of Faculties of Architecture of the Union of Engineers of Beirut and the president of the Chadirji Foundation for Architecture and Society, Dr. Habib Sadiq, read the articles of the document, to open the discussion in the presence of the General of Hajj Brigade and under the direction of the head of the Association of Specialized Engineers in Urbanism, Architect Firas de Mortada of the United Arab Emirates, with the participation of the United Arab Emirates. United via the ZOOM app.

A group of professors and students from the Lebanese University – Faculty of Letters & Human Sciences (Department of Arts & Archeology) discovered new remains in Wadi Arbin in Aandqet, Akkar dating back to the Roman and Byzantine era. This discovery can re-establish a specific historical period in Akkar, which is the strategic area linking the Lebanese coast with Syria’s inland.

Under the agreement signed between the Lebanese University and the Directorate General of Antiquities (DGA) at the Ministry of Culture, the team started its work in Akkar in April 2018 under the supervision of the Head of the Department of Arts & Archeology at the Faculty (Branch 4), Dr. Joanna Shahoud. Last month, the team registered new discoveries in Wadi Arbin, consisting of two-storey ancient houses. The ground floor was used for storage and olive presses while the second floor was used for accommodation, in addition to the remains of three churches and tombs carved in the rock, pottery of ancient glass and some coins.

The project, undertaken by the Lebanese University, will continue for three years, with the final phase of the project including the restoration and rehabilitation of the archaeological sites discovered.

Museum of Natural Sciences in the Lebanese University: a scientific wing with a national wealth importance

The Museum of Natural Sciences at the Lebanese University exists since 1979 and is a scientific wing that serves as a research tool for students and researchers, and a cultural portal for the stakeholders.

The museum includes a collection of samples of insects, reptiles and fossils, which the war that Lebanon had gone through had destroyed some of its contents and the remains were transferred to the Faculty of Sciences in Fanar in 1984. Before its official opening in May 2004, the museum was an insectology laboratory and part of a research project funded by the British Embassy in Beirut, as stated by Dr. Najla Zaidan, one of the Museum founders.

Dr. Zaidan said the museum's assets managed by the Department of Life Sciences and Earth at the Faculty of Sciences, include fossils and all that is related to Earth science from insects, reptiles, amphibians and stone tools used by humans two million years ago and the oldest in the Middle East. She also noted to the importance of documentary annotations alongside the exhibits (lists of names, sources and dates).

The Lebanese University, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, aims to put the Museum of Natural Sciences - Fanar and George Tohme's herbarium - on the list of national museums, to be the main contributor to the dissemination of environmental and scientific culture about Lebanon.

The Laboratory of Archeology at the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences - Branch 2- Fanar. Conservation, Research & Documentation

The laboratory of archeology at the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences (Branch 2), Fanar was inaugurated in 1986 as an independent three-storey building equipped and dedicated to archaeological research. Subsequently, it was severely affected by the events of the civil war, which inflicted enormous damage during more than twenty years.

The purpose of the laboratory was to enable students to practice and develop their theoretical knowledge (description, classification, conservation, etc.) under the supervision of their professors. Thus, future generations of archeology researchers had to be forged in this academic setting. At that time, the activity was sporadic following the pace of the war in very difficult conditions, including the lack of funding. Nevertheless, the collections kept were enriched with various archaeological objects (coins, ceramics and flint) thanks to the generosity of some donors and researchers. By way of example, Professor Raymond Gèze and his students collected a rich amount of rock specimens in the Lebanese mountains. The tenacity of faithful enthusiasts, students, professors and researchers has made it possible, against all odds, to maintain the laboratory to date.