maps

An interesting dynamic on the wider urban scale is the sense of encroachment, esp. by some parts of the Sunni and Christian population, due to the demographic growth of the Shi’a population which is expanding its spatial presence into some of the “other’s” neighbourhoods. Interestingly, the free market in this and other contexts can play a mixed role. In larger, purely profit orientated projects, it can be “colour blind” and contribute to social mixing. Some smaller scale, more localised development projects, however, tend to challenge existing segregation patterns much less.

Material consequences of polarisation can be felt even beyond the city of Beirut in the form of mushrooming suburbs – because this is where many people felt safer than in the city proper. This form and degree of decentralisation led to the urbanisation of coastal and mountainous areas, deforestation, road construction, additional commuter traffic and the relaxation of building regulations in the absence of civil law.