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Urban design research+and practice in Beirut and New York City


City as Lab Designed & Edited by Adriana Valdez Young

This book belongs to you:::


CITY AS LAB was created by Adriana Valdez Young, adjunct professor at The New

School Graduate Program in International Affairs and faculty coordinator for the Beirut International Field Program in collaboration with Matthew Thomas, Visitng Professor at The Department of Architecture and Design at The American University of Beirut. Hurray!

A CITY AS LAB publication | Cityaslab.com Designed and edited by Adriana Valdez Young, 2011 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Share it kindly.


City as Lab For the retired barber who opens his shop to drink coffee and read the newspaper, but never to cut hair. For the lady who lowers a basket from her balcony for the delivery of water and cigarettes. For the man whose yellow shop only sells bananas. And for all the broken chairs that reserve parking spaces.


Merci-shukran-thank-you

to my co-teacher Matthew Thomas for bringing me from Bangkok to Beirut and for our ongoing collaboration in radical pedagogy and deterritorialized friendship. To my assistant Maya Oraiby for finding everything, forgetting nothing, and picking up everyone from the airport. To Fabiola Berdiel, Mark Johnson and Michael Cohen at The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs for giving me the opportunity to launch the Beirut International Field Program. To Howayda Al-Harithy and Mona Fawaz of the Department of Architecture and Design at The American University of Beirut for supporting our collaboration and welcoming the students. To Katherine Yngve, Rania Murr, and Captain Shalak for helping keep the students safe and sound. To Ayah Bdeir, Sima Chamma, and Adib Dada of KARAJ for your garden oasis of support. To Kamal Mouzawak, Christine Codsi and all of the Souk el Tayeb family for nourishing the students and the city with the finest foods of Lebanon. To the Arab Image Foundation, art&d studio, IndyAct, UNDP Live Lebanon, and CRTD.A for putting the students to good work. To Haitham Khoury and Rebecca Carnell for guiding the students to Beirut’s best places to relax after their good work. To all of our guest speakers for bringing the curriculum to life and showing us how to make amazing things happen: Ziad Abichaker, Chloe Bass, Dima Boulad, Rana BouKarim, Derek Denckla, Frank Hebbert, Jennifer Hudon, Joseph Khoros, David Mahfouda, Stephanie Pereira, Christopher Robbins, and Shin-pei Tsay. To Liz Kueneke, Annie Kwon and Christina Kral for enriching my teaching practice with hand-embroidered city maps, sniper-precision diagramming and pop-up picnics in abandoned spaces. To my family, for not acting too confused when they attended the student presentations via a Google Doc at the Apple Store. For Paul, for being my favorite co-wanderer of the city. And to all the New York City and Beirut students who shared their hunger to make their cities better places to live, first over Facebook and then over falafel.


Contents 1 City as Lab is _ _ _ 2 Collaborative Components 3 Guests Practitioners 4 Student Lab Reports 5 Biographic & Bibliographic Data.


1.. City as Lab is _ _ _ _ . + Introduction + Market Cities by Adriana Valdez Young + Market Housing by J. Matthew Thomas


A city moves.

A city preserves.


A city hungers.

A city opens.


A city layers. INTRODUCTION to City as Lab Adriana Valdez Young | Adjunct Professor Graduate Program in International Affairs The New School, New York City

CITY AS LAB begins with going outside and taking a look around. Students go out into the city, pay attention to what they see, and experiment with ways of altering the spaces and systems they observe. They begin by picking one place and observing the forces that shape it. They document the site conditions: the flows of people, food, advertising, cars, conversations, and currency. With this inventory of site activity, they make maps of the visible and invisible, the overlapping and isolated, and the physical and virtual layers that compose the city. Then they distill their data sets to succinctly diagram the complex spatial relationships and systems at work. They make living postcards of the city – multi-dimensional snapshots of enclaves, edges, clusters, pathways and other spatial morsels that comprise the diverse menu of urban configurations. They go on to make more spatial portraits; this time picking people as the protagonists of their site. They interview individual actors in the city and formulate spatial biographies – making maps, diagrams and videos to articulate urban design analyses through the lens of one person’s particular quotidian pursuits and the infrastructural tangos that ensue.


A city divides.

How they learn the city is critical. Each week, students share their visual and written documentation in class, on their individual blogs and on the Facebook group. They collect feedback on how to improve their research for the next round of site visits and data visualization. Their work flow is iterative and cumulative. Rather than only show final products, students share their messy misfires and refined re-takes. This process-heavy learning environment mirrors a healthy design practice; in other words, how students collect information and develop ideas is as important as what they produce. Partnership is important. Students first work independently and later in interdisciplinary teams. They are paired with a research partner in a parallel urban design studio in a sister city. Students from these different academic and geo-political backgrounds add their distinct perspectives and skill sets into the mix. As they conduct cross-disciplinary and cross-city site research, they work along narrative and conceptual tracks that are later extrapolated and applied to both cities. Practicing urban designers, artists, activists, and social entrepreneurs offer workshops that introduce a live-action feedback loop into the classroom. They share their ways of engaging the community through design, contribute feedback and evaluative frameworks for student work, and overall, help close the gap between theory and practice.


A city comforts. Next, they proceed to the role of designer and social experimenter. Applying their visual research tools and critical spatial analyses, students intervene in the city’s network of moving parts. First, they identify a social, economic, or political problem that agitates them. Then they analyze how it is manifested in space and select an apt site for intervention. Next, they prototype strategies for inviting the public to engage with the problem through educational, playful and precise encounters. Interventions address a spectrum of global urban issues such as real estate speculation, gentrification, industrialized food supplies, and access to public amenities. They take the form of iPhone apps, hotlines, tastetests, board games, pirate tours, graffiti, temporary street furniture, alternative tourism maps, and false advertising. Students test their interventions, gather feedback, re-design them and try again. They repeat this process until they meet their own goals of packing an overwhelming global urban issue into an everyday encounter that enlightens and expands the public’s grasp of the issue. And they keep going - this time, in a new city. After one semester, students leave the classroom altogether and immerse themselves in the city. They go to meet their peers and research partners in the sister city and exchange ideas in person. Together, students run a small symposium to discuss their work processes and stage a public exhibit of selected images from their parallel research. Then, the visiting students carry on their work by embarking on full-time internships at local community development organizations, design practices, cultural centers, and socially-conscious businesses. They apply their collaborative research and design experiences at their places of work and by pursuing independent projects.


A city smells.

Once again, students begin by going out into the city and taking a look around. Site mapping, video ethnography, social media sharing, and temporary design interventions enrich their professional work. They are emboldened to activate a new city as their testing ground, this time within the larger framework of an organization’s outreach and educational missions. For each student’s professional contribution, they initiate an accompanying design intervention - a way of engaging the public and crafting the research about the city back into the city. Interventions take the form of short films, social media campaigns, cooking classes, zero-waste composting systems, temporary think-thanks, solarpowered appliances, bike-sharing programs, and match-making of graphic designers with local farmers. Throughout all the phases of learning and practice, students keep in close contact with the city – appropriating public spaces as pop-up testing grounds for their ideas, and blending research and design to make the city a better place to live. And like this, the city becomes a lab.


A city tries.

MARKET CITIES When New York walked Beirut Adriana Valdez Young

“They speak of Beirut as if it were an abstraction of the human experience: it is not. Beirut was a city like any other and its people were a people like any other. What happened here could happen anywhere.” - Excerpt from Calame and Estherworth (2009)

Beirut began with a walk across town. I came to Beirut for the first time in May 2010 to participate in the “City Debates” conference, organized by AUB’s Department of Architecture and Design. The theme was security in the city, and scholars from all over the world arrived in Beirut to share their case studies of security logic and urban form. Taking a break from the air-conditioned lecture hall, I slipped out the gate onto Bliss Street and wandered along the graffiti-saturated campus border leading downtown. I noticed the furniture. I peered into a glimmering boutique of neo-Orientalist neon cushions and metallic coffee tables. I walked by one man seated on the ground of an empty lot, sewing up an over-stuffed sofa cushion too cumbersome to fit in his workshop. I looked up to notice three plastic chairs and a striped umbrella perched on the roof of a garage - it was a pop-up cafe for the attendants of the pop-up parking lot in a stalled construction site.


A city imagines a future.

A city rests. Next, the terrain called for acrobatics. I ducked under ambitious tree branches that had colonized the air rights of the sidewalk. I squeezed between two green dumpsters, brimming with decaying floral arrangements and plastic, tan coffee cups. And when the sidewalk disappeared altogether, I shimmied between a bulldozer and a row of cars standing dead still in traffic. As I approached downtown, there were more advertisements and more checkpoints. I noticed a billboard for ice cream, featuring a woman’s face as if it were made of glossy dark chocolate, which was affixed to a crumbling, bulletscarred building facade. I peered through the barbed wire at a group of soldiers guarding the warhollowed Holiday Inn turned army tank parking garage. Once I reached downtown, the scale of intervention in the urban fabric increased from individual tactic to corporate takeover. Low-resolution lifestyle renderings enveloped the dirt canyons and construction cranes as the vinyl gift wrap for a future city of towering gated communities. A private company had demolished the commercial heart of Beirut and transplanted a sterile, upscale shopping mall and vacant offices and apartments in historic veneers in its place. On this walk, Beirut appeared as a transparent hyperbole of New York City – a sister consumer city exhibiting similar signs of segregation, gentrification, and amnesia and was choosing to self-medicate with a cocktail of malls, towers, and luxury handbags. * I think these soldiers are the accidental docents for the Contemporary Museum of Securitized Tourism.


A city respects.

This walk along a multinational collision course of individual and corporate aspirations, survival and luxury, under and over-development was a living case study for the security conference. Throughout the week, as I balanced attending lectures and going for walks, I became more intrigued by Beirut as a vibrant and volatile laboratory of competing urban design challenges. This pairing of urban design theory and direct observation inspired the framework for selecting Beirut and New York City as parallel learning sites, as well as shaped the template for the larger City as Lab model. In these two global cities, we asked my students to go on walks and pay attention to what they see. We encouraged them to learn directly from the city – by observing the panoply of micro and macro gestures that compose daily life and then zooming out to piece together a systemic understanding. And for every international development issue my students were interested in, I challenged them to identify a street corner, shopping mall, advertising campaign, park, or piece of infrastructure where it was spatially manifested. Students then incorporated detailed site research - photography, mapping, video blogging, sound recordings - into the folds of their historical, economic, and ethnographic analysis of both cities. What follows is a compendium of the inputs and outputs of our collaboration, and the results of going outside lecture halls and disciplines to use the city as a lab for learning, designing, and making things happen.


Adriana Valdez Young

Adriana is an urban design researcher, educator and maker of things. She holds a B.A. in History from Brown University and a M.A. in International Affairs from The New School. She has created interdisciplinary urban studies courses as an adjunct professor at the Parsons School of Design and The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs. She loves to swim and is very allergic to peanuts.


MARKET HOUSING

Matthew Thomas | Visiting Faculty Department of Architecture and Design The American University of Beirut The spring of 2011, forever engraved as the Arab Spring, exposed a number of political, economic and social injustices. While far from resolved, this “spring” continues – questioning the contemporary democratic process for the Middle East. Throughout the spring, the media exposed us to the urban sites of public gatherings. We were shown the power of cities and public spaces that drives democracy. Within these shouts for revolution we learned of social, environmental and political systems that had swelled to the point of rupture. From unemployment to human rights and escalating food prices, the fragile infrastructures of these Arab cities were highlighted. Their weaknesses were revealed and the cities had become gloriously uprooted and exposed. It seemed no better time to address how architects and designers could utilize their own tools in listening to the city and addressing the contemporary communal ills. As an urban design course in the Department of Architecture at the American University of Beirut, we took on the challenge of food and housing in the City of Beirut. Due to a growing world population and the increasing urbanization of cities, there is an immediate demand for safe, affordable, urban housing. Linked closely to this migration of millions from rural to urban centers is the need for an increase in local food supplies - yet, the world continues to see a decline in agricultural investment. When addressed in the developing countries of the Middle East, with large populations of poor and unemployed urban communities, the vulnerable infrastructures of food have led to recent events of political unrest. The democratization of food then becomes a key issue for cities when supply and demand are dependent upon globalized mega-industries, government subsidies and the rapidly increasing price of oil - all of which exacerbate food prices and challenge infrastructures of food available locally. The Spring 2011 Market Cities/Market Housing studio addressed the issue of food security through a deep investigation of its role within the city and region by asking students to offer solutions through the rethinking of our relationship of housing with urban agriculture. Students investigated how cities “live with food,” from its production, distribution and consumption to propose new housing arrangements and programmatic design scenarios. The semester was broken up into key perspectives to facilitate a design process that incorporates urban research and the architectural design development of housing and its correlation to the vital urban ingredient of food. As a city is deeply tied to a number of national and international forces, we were fortunate enough to collaborate with several organizations to make use of the multi-disciplinarian skills necessary to accomplish this urban scale investigation. Locally, the studio collaborated with the non-profit Souk el Tayeb, a Lebanon-based organic food movement. Internationally, we linked up with the City as Lab: Market Cities seminar at The New School in New York City. Making use of the number of perspectives of food in the city, these collaborations helped to ground our exploration, learning the immediate needs of food security in Beirut as well as the globalization of the issue and the alternative strategies and case studies available.


Moving from a macro-scale urban design analysis to an architectural design, we attempted to treat the issue of food in the city as architects, as planners and as local consumers. The ability to develop an integrated food system within Beirut is hampered by the dominating interest of infrastructural development and private speculation. The former remains a pressing need, while the latter is an economic reality, and both are painfully bogged down in a fragmented government bureaucracy. It is only by rethinking the design process and its opportunity for new urban configurations that we can begin to envision a city rich in bio-diversity, green space and agricultural foodscapes. The tools of the urban designer have much to offer in terms of strategically balancing these forces in envisioning multi-scalar developments that can pacify municipal powers, align with corporate interest, while invigorating the public domain. In the Market City/Market Housing studio, we encouraged the students to identify and suggest multiple realities for accessing food in Beirut and greater Lebanon. By introducing the tools of the urban designer to this issue we were able to approach existing practices with new perspectives, identifying unconventional relationships that, through design, can create added value to the public domain. Through the course of a semester, students were asked to reframe the context for imminent architectural intervention by first stepping back and making note of larger systems impacting the site and thus, the design query at hand. Through mapping and diagramming, students were asked to “see” the sight in all its configurations, recognizing the physical while also acknowledging the social, environmental and economic forces. These newly contextualized urban conditions are key in identifying new opportunities for site intervention. The identification of such domains remains without boundaries and multi-nodal. Design intervention is thus approached by manipulating these visualized relationships with multi-scalar and multi-programmatic public foodscapes that are strategic and performative. Seeing the Site The first stage in approaching the quandary of urban food production in Beirut asked students to identify inherent systems already present in the city. This took place in two parts. The first was through personal videos documenting their eating habits for five days. Here, we were able to better understand how we eat and where we eat in the city. This process brought up a lot of surprises and questions. How much of the food do we eat is local or how much is processed? The students in the City as Lab course in New York City also engaged in the same process of recording their personal consumption. The sharing of each person’s eating habits allowed the students to introduce themselves to each other through the lens of food – embodying the mantra of “you are what you eat.” This exercise was followed by extensive site documentation of food systems with students cataloging the operations of the discovered food systems inherent within and moving around their videos. This deeper contextual reading of food in the city takes into account economic, social and environmental forces that must be rationalized in order for any successful design to be realized. Through the use of mappings and diagrams the movements and schedules of multiple stakeholders are made visible and thus are brought into consciousness.


MARKET HOUSING BEIRUT

ABOVE: Youssef Ibrahim BELOW: Ralph Gebara The “You Are What You Eat” student videos condensed five days of individual eating habits into five minutes. Through this exercise students were able to visually identify their current eating habits. In the top video Youssef Ibrahim represents himself as an “eating machine” and navigates his environment as if in a game. His eating habits and patterns are based on seeking energy from food so that he can operate efficiently throughout his day. The bottom video by Ralph Gebara playfully explores the common theme of eating junk food verses healthy food. The video candidly depicts his daily fast food purchases while reinforcing his slim figure. The production of such videos provided an entry point for the explorations of food in the city illuminating their own personal journeys in the foodscapes of Beirut guiding their research focus and, ultimately, their design direction.


ABOVE: Vegetables - Youssef Ibrahim , Sara El Batal, Ahmad Majzoub, Joana Dabaj BELOW: Nuts and Seeds - Rami Kanafani, Mira Moussa, Jalal Matraji, Rana Zeidan, Yasmine El Majzoub For the research phase of the course, students were asked to group themselves into teams of specific food groups. Each team explored the macro and mirco-scale ‘reach’ of their food products, exploring the economic, environmental and cultural values of local foods. The Vegetable Team (top) looked at a Lebanese staple, Fattoush Salad, and questioned its sources in this current climate of international food trade. Their discoveries showed that it was far from 100% locally grown and produced in Lebanon and, as the diagram expresses, its actual value varied depending on where one sources the ingredients. Looking at the macro-scale of international imports and exports, the Nuts and Seeds team (bottom) represented the curious relationships our grains have on a global scale. Summarized in posters for greater visibility, the foodprint exercise illustrated the invisible systems of our food networks and their impacts on local and global economics and environments.


MARKET HOUSING BEIRUT The infrastructure of food in Lebanon is a complex system that operates on multiple scales. In order to realize alternative solutions for Beirut’s food production a new reading of food and its multiple flows and schedules were visualized in mappings and diagrams. The notion of site is then understood within a much larger system; a system that depends on the complexity of topography, politics and international trade agreements. These graphic readings explore the multiple dimensions of site. Illusive, invisible and temporal phenomena are better grasped, leading to design thinking that can be reactive to the demands of a city such as Beirut. Identifying Opportunity New realities of a site, drawn from the previous exercise, become the lens from which the student explores key intersections of opportunity for strategic design intervention. Utilizing the same trained eye, specific site readings further detail the project’s context on a scale readily available to the student. To highlight the global nature of this theme, and to learn from other international cities, the phase of study collaborated closely with the students from the City as Lab course in New York. For two weeks, the Beirut students were paired up with the New York students, as they shared, communicated and envisioned a new typology of food production and farmer lifestyle within four markets in New York City. Using online platforms to exchange information, the Beirut students mined information from their New York counterparts to better understand the needs, production processes and schedules of the farmer and their food products. Students found multiple systems for sharing; utilizing email, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google maps and docs, etc. With their New York counterparts, students designed and constructed models for a ‘Farmers Pod’ for an actual site at the Union Square farmers market in New York. Reacting to both the needs of the farmer and the needs of the food product, they were challenged to communicate, interview and translate the data provided to them by their New York peers. In particular, these Pods were to address the schedules and needs for a particular farmer, understating the food product they sold at the market and the site in which they set up regularly. In sum, the students, upon the advice and research of their New York counterparts, created new models for food production and distribution for New York City. Intervening Strategically Swimming in the multi-scalar impact of food in the city, the Beirut students returned their attention in the second half of the semester to the city of Beirut by envisioning an architectural housing intervention guided by the needs of food production and consumption. The process of identifying an opportunity within a site and intervening with design remains a multi-scaled and multi-stepped process, requiring students to zoom in and out of the defined systems, many times compelled to sketch out additional mappings before diving back again into design development. With this renewed site configuration and fresh perspective, the possibility for a sustainable foodscape becomes tangible. Design, under this context of systems thinking, must not only be localized, but rhythmatic to the needs of the immediate community. This design process and their concluding spatial discoveries require a shift in envisioning what food spaces can be for Beirut and the city in general. Food markets, restaurants and even a residential kitchen space can no longer be seen in isolation. Born from newfound site relationships, design can be successfully implemented with the sound understanding of the larger forces affecting a site. Devising unconventional sites of intervention reveal missed opportunities within the city’s dense fabric of public and private spaces. While complex in manifestation, it is hopeful that through the acknowledgement of social, economic and political forces and the close collaborations and sharing across cities and cultures, new collaborative food spaces can become realized for both Beirut and New York City.


ABOVE: Rudy Spiridon BELOW: Joana Dabaj For the Farmers Pod Exercise, the students were encouraged to look at the farmers needs with a greater systems thinking approach in creating a multi-programmatic design proposal that envisioned a much needed small scale food stand with space provided for food production, consumption and/or public engagement. Through the collaboration with a New York colleague, the top Farmers Pod, by Rudy Spiridon took the form of a delivery truck that could transform to meet the needs of the individual farmer. On weekends the truck could unfold to allow easy access to the selling of tomatoes. In the evenings, the interior of the van facilitated a sleeping space, solving the issue of farmers needing to seek accommodation at a nearby hotel. Joana Dabaj’s pod design accommodates multiple user groups of the city with its ability to transform in shape depending on weekly events. During the weekend farmers market, the stand expands to allowing the accordion structure to hold fruit and vegetables for sale. In the evening and during the week, the food stand collapses into a shaded sitting area for the local park. The challenge of the collaboration rested on seeking clear communication and focus on site conditions and farmers’ needs. Successful projects were able to hone in on specific needs of the site, farmer and food product in their design to facilitate a fully integrated urban performance.


MARKET HOUSING BEIRUT

ABOVE: Youssef Ibrahim BELOW: Mona Shaar To round out the semester, students were challenged to articulate their findings at an architectural scale by addressing key observations, missing links or inconsistencies in their newfound understanding of food systems within Beirut. Envisioning education as a tool in seeking sustainable food systems for Beirut, the top project illustrates a floor plan for a new hydroponic food center and growing lab. Half of the building houses students and their growing space, while the other side brings the public in to the structure to learn, eat and purchase fresh food (Youssef Ibrahim). Looking at the scale of a city block, the bottom project (Mona Shaar) re-delineated a city street with “storefront” food-centric programming. The newly-themed food street would gather restaurants, food markets and cooking schools with apartments to bring a sense of pride and community to a country known for its culinary arts. From urban scale to architectural the class strove to rework existing systems, proposing new programming and site relationships that questioned our current urban experience and its ability to “house” food.


J. Mathew Thomas

Matthew is an architect based in Northern New Mexico. He received his Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University in 2008. Matt served a three-semester Visiting Assistant Professorship at The American University of Beirut in Lebanon in 2009-2011 and has taught at Columbia University and Parsons School od Design in New York City, and Chongqing University in China. He lis allergic to wheat gluten and loves to walk.


2. Curricular Components

+ NYC Syllabus & Assignments + Selected Student Research and Design Projects + Sharing Events


NEW YORK CITY

City as Lab: Market Cities | Course Syllabus

City as Lab NYC: Market Cities Public Space and Food Networks NINT 5361: CRN 6423, Section A The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs Faculty: Adriana Valdez Young Taught in collaboration with: City as Lab Beirut - Market Housing Affordable Housing and Food Security American University of Beirut ARCH 304c: Vertical Design Studio C Faculty: J. Matthew Thomas & Bernard Mallat COURSE THEMES Local Food Security; Urban Agriculture; Infrastructures and Networks of Food Economies; Systems of Sustainability; Food as nexus for community building, activation of public space, education, urban revitalization; Public Space (temporary interventions, designing without building); Mapping Urban Networks; Play as an urban design, research, educational and community building tool. COURSE STRUCTURE Part I AUB and TNS students will collaborate on mapping, diagramming and addressing the quality life and civic engagement surrounding the production and consumption of local agriculture and food products for New York City and Beirut. Students will uncover the urban operations of food within the region, exposing flows, metabolisms, systems and economic revenues that will feed into their future design inquiries. A preliminary look at research activities includes: a. Mapping local and global food networks b. Visualizing food consumption patterns in relationship to home and school c. Organization of a community event and interventions in public space d. Researching local/regional food products and their production, consumption and distribution


Previous page left: students tour the Standard Hotel and explore the High Line as parallel private and public spaces to the St. Georges Hotel and the Corniche in Beirut. Above: Students research post-disaster urban design possibilities at the Eataly food market and share their proposals in the adjacent Madison Square Park, NYC.

Part II NYC: Students in NYC will create layered mappings and diagrams of physical and social infrastructures surrounding food networks in NYC and Beirut. They will collaborate with their colleagues in Beirut to understand issues of food security, distribution, interface and access, and embeddedness within other cultural and civic engagement. Students will research case studies and begin to experiment with ways to alter the built environment, including creating virtual infrastructures, temporary programs, and installations that layer new opportunities for criticality, activity, connectivity and transparency onto existing sites. Beirut: Students will design a temporary live/grow pod for farmers operating at Union Square’s NYC Green Market. This exploration will require partnering with a colleague at Parsons as they envision temporary, mobile, affordable living opportunities to facilitate local farmers and their lifestyle. Expected output includes a scaled model, drawings and operational mappings Part III NYC: Students will expand and apply their spatial research from Parts I and II towards designing new site programming including temporary installations, public events and virtual layers (e.g. mobile games or apps) that can be implemented in both NYC and Beirut. Students will work in small interdisciplinary teams to select a specific site challenge within the local food economy of NYC and design and prototype an intervention in the form of an event, temporary installation, or a game. Students are encouraged to create new opportunities for the public to render transparent the local and global food networks that shape their city, and introduce new resources for people to understand and support the local food economy. Beirut: The final exploration for this studio will bring the students back to Beirut in designing housing and food facilities in Solidere’s Central Beirut District. Working in collaboration with Souk el Tayeb, the students will envision this downtown urban site as an opportunity for affordable housing in close proximity to food production, consumption and distribution. WRAP-UP The students from Parsons will go to Beirut in early June for a joint symposium, research exchange and public exhibit.


NEW YORK CITY

Course Syllabus

=== PART 1: INTRODUCTION === Week 1 Introduction to Urban Design Research + Spatial Analysis Unpacking the spaces of consumption, conflict and memory of two parallel global cities. Review online sharing tools: Tumblr, Google MyMaps, Dropbox, Facebook group, etc. Assignment: Locate an area in your neighborhood organized around food that brings different kinds of people together (e.g. market, farm, bodega, church, repair shop, private home, gallery, etc.).  Write a blog post that outlines the site condition and site programming, identifies the physical, social, economic and cultural flows in the space, lists the food networks it connects to, and how the site succeeds in facilitating co-existence and exchange and diffusing, avoiding or preventing conflict. Include 4 original images (2 photos, 1 diagram and 1 custom Google map.  Write a short essay explaining your site selection and mapping process. Reading: Reinhold Martin and Kadambari Baxi.  2007. Multi-National City: architectural itineraries. Barcelona: Actar. Rem Koolhaas etl. al. eds. Volume 11: Cities Unbuilt (2007). New York: Columbia University, Archis. Week 2 Urban Edges + Interventions Concepts and terms: urban edges, enclaves, archetypes, suburbanization, urbanization, spatialization, network, map, diagram, gentrification, global city, guerilla architecture, temporary installation, urban intervention, performance research. Reading: Kevin Lynch. 1960. The Image of the City. Cambridge: The MIT Press. Sze Tsung Leong, “…And Then There Was Shopping: The last remaining form of public life” and “Control Space” in Chuihua Judy Chung, et. al. eds. 2002. Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping. Cambridge: Harvard School of Design. Assignment: Exploring a Global City Enclave - Group site visit to Standard Hotel, High Line, and Union Square Farmers Market.   Week 3 Introduction to Design Problems - Reading Conflict in Space - Concepts and terms: territory, zoning, place, space, non-place, space of exception, landscape, mediascape, de-territorialization, global city, urban planning and architecture as medium for conflict - Extract components of the global city from the High Line, Standard Hotel, 14th Street and Union Square Assignment: Mapping a local food shed - draft 2 You are what you eat - draft 1 Reading: Jon Calame and Esther Ruth Charlesworth.  2009. Divided Cities: Belfast, Beirut, Jerusalem, Mostar and Nicosia.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.


=== PART 2: LOCAL/GLOBAL FOOD NETWORKS === Week 4 Mapping the Food in the City *Food Map 1 - Final version due in class - students will give short presentations* Assignment: You are what you eat - five days of tracking everything you eat Readings & Videos: Carolyn Steel. 2008. Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives. London: Chatto & Windus. Michael Pollan, Good Magazine - Food for Thinkers, The Food Print Project, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Anthony Bourdain in Beirut Case Studies: Souk el Tayeb, GrowNYC, Carrot City, Five Borough Farm, and East NY Local Farmers. Week 5 Local Food Networks You are what you eat - Final version due in class Panel Presentation and Discussion: Chloe Bass - Arts in Bushwick, Superfront Derek Denckla - The Greenist Stephanie Pereira - Eyebeam Center for Art + Technology Assignment: Begin Project 3 - Video project profiling one farmer and farmers’ market in NYC. Readings: Selections from Projections, Volume 8, MIT Journal of Planning, Justice, Equity + Sustainability,  2008. Selections from J. Matthew Thomas. 2011. Yearbook: Lebanon; Current States of Sustainability 2009-2010. Taos: Studio Viga. Week 6 DIY Mapping Workshop Jennifer Hudon on grassroots mapping and DIY satellite mapping tactics Readings: Hashim Sarkis, etl. al. Two squares: Martyrs Square, Beirut and Sirkeci Square, Istanbul. Cambridge: Harvard University, Graduate School of Design. “Beirut Beirut” lecture by Hashim Sarkis at MIT, 2008. “At the Edge of the City” lecture by Fadi Shayya at AUB, 2010.


NEW YORK CITY

Course Syllabus

Week 7 Urban Planning as Activism Guest lecture by Shin-pei Tsay, Director of Transportation Solvency Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Co-Founder of Planning Corps and Frank Hebbert, software designer and Co-Founder of Planning Corps on blending urban planning and grassroots advocacy. Readings: Bryan Bell and Katie Wakeford. 2008. Expanding Architecture Design as Activism. New York: Metropolis Books. Michel de Certaeu. 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press. Week 8 Participatory Action Research and Hacking International Aid Paradigms Presentation and workshop by Christopher Robbins of Ghana Think Tank, on art, activism and reverse engineering international development. Readings: Florian Hayden and Robert Temel eds.  2006. Temporary Urban Spaces: Concepts for the Use of City Spaces.  Basel: Birkhauser.   “Inside/Outside” directed Andreas Johnsen and Nis Boye Møller Rasmussen (2007). Week 9 “Know your farmer” video screenings and short presentations Readings: David Harvey. “The Right to the City.” New Left Review. Vol. 53, October-September 2008. “Fear and Money in Dubai” by Mike Davis; pp. 52-72. “Palm Springs: Imagineering California in Hong Kong” by Laura Ruggeri; pp. 106-117. “Arg-e Jadid: A California Oasis in the Iranian Desert” by Marina Forti; pp. 38-51 in Mike Davis and Daniel Bertrand Monk. 2007. Evil Paradises and Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism. New York: The New Press. Stephan Zacks, “Beyond the Spectacle,” Metropolis Magazine, November 2007. === PART III: Design Studio === Week 10 Writing the design problem 1 (Beirut + NYC) - Break up into research and design teams for final design projects - Review work by Beirut students on living pods for the Union Square Farmers’ Market and send written feedback Assignment: First draft of design proposal posted to the blog, including documentation of design process (e.g. photographs from site visits, mappings, diagrams, and sketches).  Correspond with Beirut students to ask for site documentation and resources for Beirut sites. Week 11: Writing the Design Problem 2 and desk crits Assignment: Second draft of design proposal posted to the blog, including documentation of design process.  Solicit and respond to feedback from Beirut students.


Week 12 Project evaluation and desk crits 2 Guest lecture and workshop by David Mahfouda of Weeels, the taxi-sharing mobile app, on evaluating interventions in mobility and public space. Assignment: Test first prototype of your design intervention Week 13 Design Studio 2 - desk crits Assignment: Based on feedback from in-class critique and from colleagues in Beirut, adjust design intervention and implement 2nd round of prototyping and testing in the field. Prepare final presentation slides: 20 slides, 30 seconds per slide.  Presentations can also take the form of a video that can be no longer than 6 minutes. Week 14 EATALY Urbanism Field visit to Eataly food market and Madison Park. Rapid redesign assignment to propose a post-disaster framework for rebuilding Manhattan around food. Week 15 Final Presentation - The Apple Store, Chelsea - 6-7PM, open to the public === ASSIGNMENTS === Project 1: Food Map 1 (photos, mappings and diagrams) Create a map and accompanying diagram that documents and the spatialization of a particular food network as situated in your neighborhood.  Students will also write a short essay (750-1,000 words) explaining the mapping process and analyzing the spatial patterns and flows observed and represented through this study. Project 2: You Are What You Eat (photo and video) To get the semester started we’d like for you to introduce yourself. But this being a studio on housing and food, we’d like you refrain from reciting your CV and instead show us what goes inside your mouth. This first exercise is a visualization of the relationship you have with food in Lebanon. We need to see our food in our environment in order to react with an appropriate design. This not only provides a great perspective for yourself, your classmates, but our colleagues in New York City, as they will as well introduce themselves to us in terms of the food they eat. Document your eating and buying habits for a period no less than 5 days. Utilizing a number of different medias and documenting tools how can you present to us a visualization of your food consumption patterns in relationship to home and school. Where do you buy it, where do you prepare it, where do you eat it, where do you throw out the waste? Students are encouraged to use video as a form of visualization (max 5 minutes!) but other forms of documentation are allowed (mappings, slideshows, audio, blogs, Google MyMaps, etc) Project 3: Know Your Farmer (video) Work in pairs or small groups to select one farmer to interview, profile and build a user and site study based on his/her .  Create a short video, no longer than 5 minutes, that illustrates, analyzes and provides a user study at the Union Square Farmers Market or another market in NYC, and how it relates to conditions and qualities of the global city.  - Proximity to other food, social, cultural, economic functions - Integration/Isolation from urban fabric - Environmental factors (water catchment, light, shade, power, waste)


NEW YORK CITY

Course Syllabus

Project 4: Eataly Urbanism (Rapid re-design using sketches, maps, photos) “The Supermarket of the Future” “The only piece of edible Manhattan still standing.” DESIGN PROBLEM It is 2026.  Manhattan is over.  A 15-year civil war over the island’s food supplies, specifically over access to organic products, has devastated the city into a mausoleum of early 21st century consumption with no functioning government or infrastructure to serve its remaining inhabitants.  Over the course of the war, the city’s supermarkets, restaurants, chefs, suppliers, and patriotic shoppers, formulated 18 militant food sects, each with its own securitized international supply lines and political platform for restructuring citizenship on exclusivity rights to healthy, organic produce and the world’s top chefs. The war resulted in 150,000 deaths, 200,000 casualties, and an estimated 600,000 to 900,000 of its citizens fleeing, many seeking temporary amnesty as day laborers in the agricultural villages of Mexico.   All that remains is Eataly.  During the most violent months of the war, (known as “The Sushi Riots”), Mario Batali appealed to the European Union to protect his territory of Eataly.  This included the 50,000 square-foot foodhall, as well as the annexed southern side of Madison Park and Shake Shack.  UNESCO designated this slice of the city a world heritage site and a legal EU protectorate, thus extracting Eataly from a forced alignment with Whole Foods and effectively creating a green zone amidst the embattled urban fabric.  Throughout the war, Eataly remained open, serving the finest selection of imported Italian foods to citizens of all sects. YOUR MISSION: To design a city around food Eataly is ground zero for rebuilding the city.  At the heart of the new Manhattan, Eataly will become a satellite campus for the American University of Beirut, featuring a research lab for international conflict and architecture, a joint urban design and culinary studies program, and the world’s first museum of food violence.  The site will be populated by students and scholars, and parts will be open to the public. You have been selected by UNESCO and the UNEataly Commission to develop a design for the new AUB campus, based on the existing successful design principles of Eataly.  You have been helicoptered onto the rooftop beer garden, and have exactly 60 minutes to conduct site research, before you must return to the bookstore to share your findings.  In small teams, you will observe 4 main systems as your case studies for proposing a redesign of the entire structure and adjacent green space.  Be practical and ambitious.  Make note of what works and what doesn’t.  Then propose ways of scaling up design successes and avoiding design failures.  Create 1 diagram, 1 map, and select 3 photos/sketches that best illustrate your design concept.  Reconvene at 7:30pm at the bookstore to informally present. Group 1. Energy + Water + Light Group 2. Making + Learning + Sharing Group 3. Movement + Flow + Transit Group 4. Bread + Meat + Greens


Final Project: TEMP SPACE A temporary design and research intervention in the public spaces of two cities “Whereas long-lasting interventions necessarily have a certain degree of affirmation, temporary projects have more latitude: the motive force is more likely to be activism than politics.” “Temporary uses are symptoms of an alternative understanding to urban planning: rather than leaving development to government and the economy alone, they explore an appropriation of the city.” -Florian Hayden and Robert Temel eds.  2006. Temporary Urban Spaces: Concepts for the Use of City Spaces.   Basel: Birkhauser.  

THE SITUATION A city is a machine of moving parts, choreographed feedback loops, and self-perpetuating systems.  As we learned from Christopher Robbins, Adams and Itso, and others, among these loops there are gaps and those gaps are open for business.  Jennifer Hudon showed us that another DIY view is possible.  Shin-pei and Frank are expanding the role of planner to assistant activist.  Derek Denkcla is not waiting for politicians to make change; he is slowing down investment cycles and bringing the country back into the city, one community cooking event at a time.  Stephanie Pereira supplied food pantries with farm-fresh produce.  And the list of urban interventions goes on. YOUR MISSION Beirut and NYC offer fractured landscapes for experimentation.  In both their rigidity and dysfunction, these two cities possess openings for re-appropriation, reformation and re-presentation by the individual citizen designer-researcher.  Your mission is to identify an opening, formulate an alternative.  Your intervention should be related to one or more of the following topics: conflict space, green space, food, energy, gentrification. You will work in small groups to develop an intervention that offers a refreshing lifeline for investigating one of these topics and activating a site in NYC and BEI that offers to the public - an interactive, experience of a site and an entry point into your research topic.  To select your Beirut site and test your project, you will be able to draw upon the resources of your AUB research partners. You are also open to collaborate with an existing organization, artist or project. The intervention can take any of the following physical or virtual forms: street furniture, mobile app, food, video projection, pop-up store, temporary museum, library, park, shelter, help service, workshop/class, game, or competition. The opportunity to present an alternative reading and activation of a site in two global cities that involves public participation and with it, the potential to temporarily shift perception, expand understanding, and twist reality. DELIVERABLES 5-7 page essay that reflects on your site selection, project development and iterative prototyping process.  Your essay should include references to at least 3 of the class readings and 2 presentations. 2-3 page design brief, which includes a project description, project impact, and a list of materials/processes used and to what end.  It also includes short descriptions of site conditions, demographics and the physical/ political/cultural/economic/environmental conditions you are responding to. Documentation: minimum required is a site map, and photos and/or video of your work process and final intervention On Exhibit: On May 12th, you will deliver a final presentation of your project at the Apple Store in Chelsea.  For this event, you should include a visual display such as printed material to distribute or hang up, a video to screen or any other interactive demonstration of your project. 


SELECTED WORKS NYC | You Are What You Eat

ABOVE: A video still from Oliver Sellner Vonslid’s visit to the sewage treatment plant, which is the ultimate destination he traced his food consumption to. BELOW: Photo documentation from Sonia Bhagat’s five-days of food.


ABOVE: A still from Brandon Fischer’s video diary of the food he consumes and his mood before and after eating. BELOW: Photo documentation from Meredith Danberg-Ficarelli’s five-days of food.


SELECTED WORKS NYC | Food Maps

ABOVE: Boima Tucker’s map of how small business owners’ classify themselves based on the names of ethnic food groups they display on their shop awnings. The map provides an alternative, more nuanced portrait of the ethnic makeup of the Bedfrod-Stuyvesant commercial district than the one provided by government census data. BELOW: Proposal for a mobile phone “waiting game” for Shake Shack customers to learn more about where their burger comes from by Hirumi Nanayakkara.


ABOVE LEFT: A diagram charting the flow of people and food between the three coffee shops and two access points for the F Train in Manhattan by Lina Fedirko. ABOVE RIGHT: Diagram of retail typologies surrounding a green grocer on Marcy Avenue in Brooklyn by Oliver Sellner Vonsild.


SELECTED WORKS NYC | KNOW YOUR FARMER

ABOVE: An interactive pirate treasure map of the Windfall Farms organic greensstand in the Union Square Farmers Market (by Hirumi Nanayakkara, Meredith Danberg-Ficarelli, Brandon Fischer, Boima Tucker). BELOW: A video portrait of a post-apocalyptic food future in which processed foods turn people into zombies (by Adam Phillips, Ashlee Tuttleman, Maniezheh Firouzi, and Jennifer Thomas).


NYC | TEMP SPACE

SELECTED WORKS

ABOVE: A video still from Desiree LaVecchia and Therese Postel’s guerilla real estate provocation, “Manhattan for Sale,” in which they marked public spaces for sale - from benches to bridges - as a critique of the privatization of public space. BELOW: A video still from Meredith Danberg-Ficarelli and Hirumi Nanayakkara’s “Guerilla Salad” intervention, in which they invited the public to do a taste test of identical looking salads, one comprised of ingredients from the Union Square Farmers Market and the other from Whole Foods.


BEIRUT EVENTS

ABOVE: GREEN THE GREY Intervention in Sassine Square, Beirut (June 2011) In July 2011, members of the Beirut Green Project gave a presentation to the City as Lab students at KARAJ. CAL student Hirumi Nanayakkara blogged about the group’s critical role in filling in missing social spaces: “Welcome to Beirut, where remnants of civil war can be seen from just about every corner. Construction and reconstruction are occurring ALWAYS. We’ve literally seen construction sites go from a pit the size of Texas to the foundations of a building overnight. One thing that is missing from every part of this sequence is the value in what Edward Whyte would call the “social life of small urban spaces.” The buildings don’t do justice to the people. Even Beirut Souks, made to house high-end fashion, does little with the enormous amount of space they have. Few benches between shops, no green space, and minimal areas for congregation. The locals want foreigners to love Beirut. They want us to tell our friends. They constantly tell us that Lebanon is “nothing like the news shows it, right?” Sure, the government is more of a myth than a reality, electricity is a privilege not a right, and public transportation exists only in dreams, but a vital piece in constructing Beirut into a flourishing city for its own citizens is creating a city that embraces social interaction. A movement begins with one person and a platform conducive to gatherings. This is why Dima Boulad and the Beirut Green Project’s “Green the Grey” are changing the game. Green the Grey’s concept: dropping squares of grass that turn Beirut’s grey space into pop-up green space. Brilliant!”


ABOVE: Students and professors share feedback on their experience co-researching and designing around food in the city at a bite-sized symposium at KARAJ Media Lab Beirut. BELOW: Opening reception for “Food for Thought” hosted by Souk el Tayeb’s restaurant, Tawlet. Students from The New School and AUB exhibited posters with images and reflections on their research about how food shapes the city.


VIMEO Night Club Students from The New School participated in workshops, garden parties and co-working throughout the summer at the City as Lab host and partner organization, KARAJ Media Lab Beirut.

AUB Architecture Studios Students from The New School met their AUB research partners and attend desk crits for their final assignment to develop full design proposals for a housing project integrateing a permanent site for a farmers market in downtown Beirut.


Bite-Sized Symposium Poster invitation for the bite-sized symposium held at KARAJ Media Lab Beirut, at which students from The New School and AUB shared images from their research and design projects, and discussed their collaborative learning experiences from the spring semester.


3. Guest Practitioners Guests lecturers and workshops by Designers, Artists, and Social Entrepreneurs from our favorite ‘B’ list places (Beirut, Brooklyn, Berlin, Benin and Barcelona) visited the classroom and guided students in their research and design proccesses. Here, they keep up sharing. Ziad AbiChaker, Chloe Bass, Green the Grey, Christina Kral, Liz Kueneke, Sherif Maktabi, Christopher Robbins, Shin-pei Tsay, & KARAJ SPF


BEIRUT Guest ZIAD ABICHAKER www.cedarenv.com

Ziad is a multi-disciplinary engineer who specializes in building Municipal Recycling Facilities on the communal level going against the trend of a central Mega recycling Plant. While doing research at Rutgers University in New Jersey, his team developed a technology to accelerate the composting cycle of organic waste in an odorless manner to produce high grade fertilizer. After returning to Lebanon in 1996, Ziad started Cedar Environmental, an environmental & industrial engineering organization that aims to build recycling plants to produce organically certified fertilizers and leave no waste material to be disposed of, but instead be recycled into a new form of product to be used again and again. Most municipalities in Lebanon and the Middle East cannot afford to buy recycling plants, so Ziad worked out a three way contract where local banks give his company soft loans to build the recycling facilities and municipalities pay only for the service of recycling/composting in comfortable monthly installments not exceeding 5 US Dollars per household per month. Recently, Ziad and his engineering team, after four years of research, developed a new technology which transforms plastic bags into solid plastic panels used in the outdoors to replace wooden and steel panels. Currently, they are transforming that technology from using fossil fuels to generate the required energy to biomass a renewable energy source.

Above: Ziad presents to the CITY AS LAB students his theoretical reframing of garbage as an urban asset. On hand were samples of his organic fertilizer, compost and construction materials, all of which he generates from recycled waste. Right: One of Cedar Environmental’s Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF) that reclaims as much as possible of the materials thrown away by nearby communities.


Ziad AbiChaker will not allow Lebanon to simply bury its trash and its future. CAL: How do you define a city? ZA: Seems to me that the real definition of a city has been constantly evolving that defining a city is not entirely accurate without adding a time or period frame to the definition. If I am to define a city in the 21st century, I would say it’s an assembly of people from all walks of life, occupying an ever shrinking space trying to keep it healthy, non-polluted, providing a decent means of living and fun. CAL: How do cities lend themselves as open learning spaces? ZA: The more diverse a group of people occupying a city is, the more synergistic interactions take place. Now under a truly free spirit of exchange, the synergy of the diverse group can make the city an incredible hub for learning, exchanging and moving the society forward to better academics, environment, culture, etc... CAL: How does your definition of the city and your movement through it shape your current projects? ZA: I would like to think I am doing my part through the project I work on to make a city achieve Zero Waste Status. Cities, throughout history, have been challenged by how to deal with their waste, both liquid and solid. A 21st century city should be able to treat all its solid waste and benefit from the end products resulting from the treatment to make the city public spaces greener by re-using the compost produced from the organic part of the waste, create enough jobs to re-create products from the recyclable part of the waste and re-use its waste water for irrigation to maintain and expand green spaces. A path to a zero waste society works along these lines. CAL: What have you learned from testing your ideas/projects in the city? ZA: Mainly, people are not amenable to change or to leave their comfort zone although it is killing them slowly. Politicians/Regulators are either fully incompetent or fully bought by the business establishment. CAL: What is one idea that you shared with the City as Lab students? ZA: If you are not fully passionate about what you are doing, quit and look for your passion in life. This is the key to happiness and success.


BROOKLYN Guest

.. CHLOE BASS

chloebass.com

Chloë Bass is an artist, curator and community organizer based in Brooklyn. Her recent artistic work has been seen at SCOPE Art Fair, CultureFix, the Bushwick Starr Theater, Figment, and The Last Supper Art Festival, as well as in and around the public spaces of New York City. She is the co-lead organizer for Arts in Bushwick, which produces the ever-sprawling Bushwick Open Studios, BETA Spaces, and performance festival SITE Fest, which she founded. Other moments have found her cocheffing Umami: People + Food, a 90 person private supper club; growing plants with Boswyck Farms; and curating with the architecture gallery SUPERFRONT.

Above: Chloë Bass’ Mobile Kitchen Unit: kids learn how to make pesto. Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, 2010 Opposite Page: Chloë Bass’ City in a Suitcase, mixed media sculpture. The Bushwick Starr Theater, 2008.


Chloë Bass plays with public space, people and food to embrace the temporary. CAL: How do you define a city? CB: A city is a prepared environment of interconnected human-oriented functionalities, existing (ideally) in some near equilibrium of symbiosis, parasitism, empathy, and blindness. CAL: How do cities lend themselves as open learning spaces? CB: A city is not so different from a Montessori classroom: a mixed age group of students is left free to roam, discover, play, and learn in a semi-controlled environment with a wide range of interactive options. Like the Montessori school, then, the city serves as a place of constant learning that can only occur under conditions of spontaneity and free choice. The city is not (always) a good place for learning guided by anyone other than one’s self. However, left to one’s own devices, with the option to connect with others left to their own varied devices, urban dwellers become not only apt pupils of their immediate environment but also psychologically developed and strengthened by their ways of moving through it. CAL: How does your definition of the city and your movement through it shape your current projects? CB: My artistic practice is very heavily influenced by play, and play, in turn, is one of the most fundamental elements of learning. The city is my best classroom. It is my testing ground, my space of frustration, where I make friends, where I bump up against authority. It’s where I learn to share, compete, write my name on everything, and turn separate elements into something greater than their parts – all while amusing myself and (hopefully) others. CAL: What have you learned from testing your ideas/projects in the city? 1. While you can’t tell people what to want, you can set up surprises that allow them the freedom to choose to experience their day a little differently. 2. The most valuable projects to me are those that require the audience’s input to fulfill the relationship set up by the artist. Nothing stands alone. 3. Not everyone likes free bacon. CAL: What is one idea that you shared with the City as Lab students? CB: With City as Lab, I talked about the power of shared community space created by cooking: what is it to create a communal kitchen, and how does that draw all participants together as a kind of family? We are all strongly swayed by food. How can we harness all of that power and use it for good? Whether or not we want to talk food politics, I think that using human desire for and response to food is an excellent organizing tool in any field. CAL: Anything else you’d like to share now? CB: Embrace the temporary! Reappropriate the permanent! Understand that city is change. Then change it.


BEIRUT Guests

GREEN THE GREY

Dima Boulad, Joseph Khoros, Rana BouKarim & Nadine Feghaly beirutgreenproject.wordpress.com Beirut Green Project is a dream; it’s a voice being raised to say that we love green spaces, and that we have the right to have these spaces in our city. Beirut Green Project is a reaction to the uncontrolled sprawl of cement and buildings eating up our city. We believe in different modes of urban planning that take into account our basic human right to have access to more green spaces. It all started in 2010, on World Environment Day, with a very impulsive street intervention, which aimed to cleverly point out how ridiculously little green there is in Beirut. In 2011, we decided to carry on with larger interventions and projects, which not only raise awareness but also aim to change this situation. We formed a small collective of individuals who are frustrated, motivated, and energetic enough to demand more. With all the love and support we have gathered, we are hopeful that someday soon, our dream will become a reality, and Beirut will be a greener place to be

Public intervention on World Environment day 2010, featuring small patches of grass with an ironic sign saying “Enjoy your green space.” These installations were placed in nine particularly gray areas of Beirut.


Mass public intervention on World Environment day 2011, where we created a park in a few hours to be enjoyed for the day, as a protest against the lack of green spaces in the city. Hundreds of people were invited to come have a picnic with us in one of Beirut’s busiest areas. Photo: Clem C.

Green the Grey stages public space fantasies as pop-up realities all over Beirut. CAL: How do you define a city? GtG: An overcrowded concentration of people, residences, businesses and cars, and this curious vicious cycle wherein this crowd attracts more crowds. CAL: How do cities lend themselves as open learning spaces? GtG: Cities, and capital cities especially, have the advantage over rural areas of mixing people from all over the country, and even the world. They are a mishmash of all kinds of people from different economic, social, religious, political, and educational backgrounds. They combine various and sometimes opposing interests, passions, activities, spaces, desires, and ideas, to form an inconceivably wide array of elements and hybrids of these elements. This vibrant and dynamic environment lends itself to a uniquely rich learning experience. CAL: How does your definition of the city and your movement through it shape your current projects? GtG: In any crowded city, breathing space is vital. This is usually provided by open public spaces, or green spaces such as parks. These elements sorely are missing in Beirut, and we believe that this simply adds to all the stresses of daily life in the city. Also, amid all the various and sometimes clashing interests and desires within this small but extremely heterogeneous city, the need for more green spaces seems to be one of the few things that almost all Beirutis can agree on. In a place with as much diversity as Beirut, public green spaces could provide a natural incubator for the meeting of minds and the exchange of ideas. CAL: What have you learned from testing your ideas/projects in the city? GtG: Almost every person we met was very excited about our project. Everyone wanted to participate, pitch in, and share their ideas for future interventions. We quickly learned that almost everyone in Beirut wants the same thing we do. All we had to do was literally create a space for them to meet and share these desires, and then we were on a roll! CAL: What is one idea that you shared with the City as Lab students? GtG: Many things are thought of as “impossible.” But if no one ever tries, no one will ever know for sure. That is one of our strongest motivations. We believe if enough people organize around one goal and one passion, we have the power to change things. CAL: Anything else you’d like to share now? GtG: We really enjoyed the exchange we had at our talk, we should keep collaborating overseas!


BERLIN Guest CHRISTINA KRAL

foodpieces.tumblr.com fabulousagitation.org Situationist at heart, Christina Kral uses methods and

Defeat Reality

technologies like serious play, perpetual dérive, random editing, pop-up and cut-up, appropriation of {spatial} realities, the faking of fiction, conscious confusion and chance operations to approach her body of work. She appropriates existing materials and continuously re-contextualizes her works in order to break down societal hierarchies; mock expectations and shift perceptions and actively building on a terrain vague. She is the founder and director of FabAgit, home base for temporary platforms of liberation and a founding member of the critical art and design collective No Standing Anytime {NSA}. She’s a member of YKON, an advocacy group for unrepresented nations, experimental countries and utopian thinkers. She’s also part of the Urban Literacy Society {ULS} based in New York and the Society of Urban Naturalists {S.U.N.} based in Mexico City. She is evolving experimental pedagogy for cross-media storytelling workshops and critical design classes at academies and universities across the globe.

Christina Kral doesn’t need a studio, because she owns the sidewalk. Inspired by the CITY AS LAB course methodology, she created a food-themed, critical design class of her own at the Institute of Design Berlin. Watch out, please. CAL: How do you define a city? CK: The city is a situation in flux. A NO STANDING ANYTIME. It’s a challenge, a pool of opportunities, a contrast. It’s a place. A growing storage unit of constructed realities, serendipitous encounters and collective science and fiction. It’s singular. It’s a to-do list. A playground, a force field, a testing laboratory. It’s negotiable, exchanging and liberating. Unique and replaceable. A lovely contradiction. A work in progress, a continuously revised draft. A non-linear collaboration, a role play, an epidemic. YEAH! CAL: How do cities lend themselves as open learning spaces? CK: Everything is accumulated and accessible in the city. You got things, objects, opinions, positions, issues, rules and regulations. You got people, cultures, hierarchies, perspectives and attitudes, ideas, conflict and desire. You also have a landscape with locations, venues, biospheres, dynamics, infrastructure and means of communication. You got variety, a tool box to pick and extract the ingredients you deem necessary for your next research or project. There is a lot of space for action and people and institutions for reflection.


‘Picnic-as-tool’ assignment for her current critical design class, Food Pieces. The assignment challenges students to confront this provccation: “Young urbanites of our generation, you are seriously confused! Got Picnic?” and to create their picnic situations across the city as an engaging social research method. CAL: How does your definition of the city and your movement through it shape your current projects? CK: I take it as a source of inspiration, confusion and critique. My observations, discoveries and associations help me develop work and refine my projects. That includes content, approach and aesthetics. I realized I live different lives in different cities. The city shapes me and my work. CAL: What have you learned from testing your ideas/projects in the city? CK: Working inside and with the city provides me with proximity and an immediate reaction. I learned that I have to balance the phases of input, inspiration, drafting, action and reflection more consciously. A city can be a time trap, a distraction and a place of too much comparison that can lead to stagnation. You can get mostly anything you need from the city and everything else you don’t need as well. It helps to know what you want. CAL: What is one idea that you shared with the City as Lab students? CK: It’s more an attitude I tried to share subconsciously: Enthusiasm and genuine interest will get you far and beyond, help you focus and make you dig deeper and provide you with excitement and momentum for your own projects. CAL: Anything else you’d like to share now? CK: To continue with attitude . . . Your work is a personal and professional process. And process takes time and dedication. In order to get profound and reach a level of greater impact you’ll have to commit. To concentrate and focus on one project and finalizing it (for now) can be very gratifying and open you up for new opportunities and further development.


BARCELONA Guest LIZ KUENEKE lizkueneke.com

Liz Kueneke investigates the relationships that people have with their environment through the use of participatory mapping activities and public interventions. Born in Chicago in 1976, she received her undergraduate degree in 1998 from Georgetown University, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University in 2001. In addition to her artistic practice, she also gives workshops to art and architecture students on psychogeography and participatory mapping. She currently lives between Barcelona and Ibiza.

Detail of her hand embroidered map, The Urban Fabric of Manhattan (2008).


The Urban Fabric of Bangalore, India (2009). Participants intervening with needle and thread on the embroidered map of their city.

Liz Kueneke’s participatory mapping projects hybridize art and activism. She shares her

philosophy behind activating public spaces as pop-up crafting and community research labs.

CAL: How do you define a city? LK: I have heard of cities being described as many things . . . as living organisms with cells, lungs, hearts, arteries, etc., as woven cloths made up of a myriad of threads, and even as a kaleidoscope of colorful, moving parts. I think all of these are true simultaneously. Probably what unites all of these definitions is the aspect of multiplicity; of billions of tiny parts working together to make something large and extraordinary. CAL: How do cities lend themselves as open learning spaces? LK: I believe that every single person has something to teach others, and since a city is by nature full of people, it is also full of teachers! By facilitating interactions between people in the public space, learning will always happen. CAL: How does your definition of the city and your movement through it shape your current projects? LK: Because I believe in the unfathomable richness of the city and all its multiple parts, and because I believe each person to be a teacher, I try to create experiences in which people are motivated to share their multifaceted knowledge with others, and to listen to others. CAL: What have you learned from testing your ideas/projects in the city? LK: I have learned that what there is to be learned is infinite. Every person is a container of limitless knowledge about the city, its history, its meanings, the experiences to be experienced. If you multiply a limitless quantity by the number of inhabitants of a city . . . well, I am simply not able to do that kind of math! CAL: What is one idea that you shared with the City as Lab students? LK: Unfortunately I was not able to meet in person with the City as Lab students, but the idea that I shared with them was to use an embroidered map of the city as a tool for participatory mapping investigation. In my own work, this method of having passersby mark significant places using needle and thread into the cloth map, has shown to be a wonderful game-like activity which motivates people to share what they know while sitting around the table debating and discussing their uses and opinions with others. CAL: Anything else you’d like to share now? LK: I feel they are so lucky, and I wish I had had the opportunity to be a City as Lab student!


BEIRUT Guest SHERIF MAKTABI

lebanonbetter.com whatishedoingnow.com Mechanical Engineer drop-out turned product design student, Sherif Maktabi is a guy who ran naked for the environment and grew his beard for charity. In other news, he teaches entrepreneurship to teenagers, and works as a social media consultant and a public installation director. Now he is working on making Lebanon Better. This summer, he’s launching a crowdsourcing website to collect ideas to make Lebanon Better and prototyping a virtual Civil War Museum for Beirut.

Sherif Maktabi is a kind hacker of public space and historical memory. His participatory

urban intervention, “Lebanon Would Be Better if I” was among the design precedents in the CITY as LAB curriculum and was influential to the students’ final projects. He tells us more.

CAL: How do you define a city? SM: Imagine that you are in a closed space you call home. Your home is surrounded by other homes. And they are not necessarily your home too. This is your neighborhood. And when you leave your closed home, you are in a space that is open. Anyone can be in that space, with you, at anytime. This is your public space. You move around in this open space, and you try to feel at home. In some places you can, and others you can’t. And sometimes the open spaces become closed. And sometimes the public spaces become private. And vice versa. If you can imagine that, then you have just imagined a city you live in. A cluster of tightly packed spaces that might be: public, private / outdoor, indoor / open, closed. CAL: How do cities lend themselves as open learning spaces? SM: The city does not lend itself to anyone. A city is a cluster of tightly packed spaces. And you are a singular element, among many, many other elements that move through and around these tightly packed spaces. The beauty of a city is that it is defined by your movement and decisions through and around its tightly packed spaces, and the movements and decisions of many, many others like you. And you can allow the city to define you: your movements and your decisions. “There is traffic now, I should leave earlier to work.” “I’m going to rent a flat over there, in that neighborhood. It’s a better place for me.” Also, you can decide not to let the city define you. You can be aware of the mechanics of the city, and make decisions to increase your understanding. You can decide to change your movements and decisions to experience the new. And that is when you can make your city an open learning space. “Let’s go try that restaurant, I never had that kind of food.... And let’s go walking this time.” CAL: How does your definition of the city and your movement through it shape your current projects? SM: My work is about making private spaces, public. And turning closed spaces, open. And those are two separate things, they are two separate projects too. In a city where public space rarely exists, “Lebanon Would Be Better” takes private spaces and makes it public. It invites people to participate, and to write on walls, for everyone to see their thoughts on what would make Lebanon Better.


“Lebanon Would Be Better” installation in Hamra (2011). The entries vary from: “Lebanon would be better if I gave grandma some love” to “Lebanon would be better if the government cancels sectarianism.” And regardless of what opinions the entries represented, silly or smart, people stopped in front of walls for a couple of minutes, just to read, smile and sometimes write something too. Something for the everyone to see. Beirut is a museum for the civil war. Walk around it and you will see the bullet ridden buildings. You will see the Holiday Inn Hotel, Burj el Mur, Khandak el Ghamik, Martyr’s Square... Symbols of the 15 year civil war. The Lebanese Civil War Museum Project is a layer on top of the city. It turns these symbols into locations for a decentralised museum. We are creating a virtual museum through augmented reality, mobile and web technology. We imagine a Lebanon that has come to terms with its past rather than being crippled by its past. The memories of the civil war are episodes that we should learn from and never, ever, have to live again. And through this project, we want to get close to turning Beirut into an open learning space. CAL: What have you learned from testing your ideas/projects in the city? SM: Margaret Thatcher once said: “there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.” When we made the first Lebanon Would Be Better Wall, it survived three months before someone vandalized it by scribbling over every entry. It was no longer possible for anyone to write something on the wall, because there was no more space. All hope was lost. But a couple of days later, we saw the marks slowly disappear. I visited the shop owner Alex. He didn’t know that I was one of the guys who stenciled the wall. I told him I want to clean the wall. He gave me a detergent and water. And together, we cleaned the wall. That made me feel that society is not just a cluster of men and women. Society exists. People are empathetic. And people believe that together, they can make things better. CAL: What is one idea that you shared with the City as Lab students? SM: Beirut is different than New York City. And I’m sure the students realized that from day one. As an individual that is part of the City of Beirut, I think I showed them that sometimes, even if the city lacks public space, you can still create a collaborative open space for people to share. CAL: Anything else you’d like to share now? SM: Stay hungry, stay foolish.


BENIN Guest CHRISTOPHER ROBBINS

christopher-robbins.com GhanaThinkTank.org

Christopher Robbins works on the uneasy cusp of public art and community action, creating sculptural interventions in the daily lives of strangers. He uses heavy material demands and a carefully twisted work-process to craft awkwardly intimate social collaborations. He built his own hut out of mud and sticks and lived in it while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa, spoke at a United Nations conference about his cross-cultural digital arts and education work in the South Pacific, and has lived and worked in London, Tokyo, West Africa, the Fiji Islands, and former Yugoslavia. He has exhibited at the National Museum of Wales, PERFORMA 07, Nikolaj Kunsthallen/ Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, and been awarded residencies/ fellowships from Skowhegan, MacDowell Colony, Haystack, Penland, and Anderson Ranch, among others. His collaborative project the Ghana Think Tank was a finalist for the Frieze Foundation Cartier Award in 2010, and was awarded the Creative Time Open Doors commission for Public Art at the Queens Museum of Art in 2010.

The Ghana ThinkTank is Developing the first world, sending problems from the “Developed” world to be solved by think tanks in the “Developing” world, including Ghana, Cuba, El Salvador, and Afghanistan.


In 2010, Christopher Robbins ran an illegitimate but functional government work agency, bringing back the historic WPA (Work Projects Administration) because the US government wouldn’t.

Christopher Robbins visited CITY AS LAB in NYC in March 2011. He showed us how he

reverse engineers neocolonialist aid structures and takes development into his own hands. Much like his counterparts in Beirut, Mr. Robbins doesn’t wait around for the government to make the first move. Here, he shares more about the role of the city in his work. CAL: How do you define a city? CR: A dense place full of people living on top of each other. CAL: How do cities lend themselves as open learning spaces? CR: There is so much going on it a city, all you have to do is open your eyes, look up or down, and enter doors you normally wouldn’t. CAL: How does your definition of the city and your movement through it shape your current projects? CR: A city is a three dimensional place, yet we tend to approach it on only one plane of existence. My work aims to open up those other possibilities - of using a city in ways for which it may not have been intended. CAL: What have you learned from testing your ideas/projects in the city? CR: Bright orange construction gear is the key to re-making a new city every day. CAL: What is one idea that you shared with the City as Lab students? CR: You can turn the overlooked gaps and in between spaces of cities into new, social spaces. CAL: Anything else you’d like to share now? CR: The default is not a given. It is an option.


BROOKLYN Guest SHIN-PEI TSAY

planningcorps.org northbird.blogspot.com Shin-pei is the director of the Leadership Initiative for Transportation Solvency in the Energy and Climate Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She co-founded Planning Corps when she was the Deputy Director of Transportation Alternatives, a non-profit focused on transportation issues in New York City. She has also served as the chief operating officer of Project for Public Spaces, an international non-profit, helped open the New York Office for ZGF Architects, and served as a strategy consultant with a company serving the Fortune 500. She irregularly writes about urbanism on her blog, Bird to the North.

Diagram of a cross-sector comparative usage study to inform the community-driven re-design process for a safer Queens Boulevard, one of the busiest thoroughfares of New York City.


A selection of Shin-pei’s observations of the ingredients in Brooklyn public spaces from her blog, Bird to the North.

Shin-pei Tsay pays attention to the tiny street-level details of urban life and scales them up to municipal and national policy levels. CAL: How do you define a city? ST: I like to think of a city as a site that is human-built, an environment with layers of physical infrastructure as well as political, social, and economic systems, built up from the ground, and with lots of movement of people, capital, goods, and services. CAL: How do cities lend themselves as open learning spaces? ST: Cities are layered, but those layers intersect, and sometimes in the most unexpected ways. Discovering those intersections is always illuminating and that’s what makes cities an ideal learning place. Intersections can be small - for instance, ever notice how people try to sit where there is no place to sit? That is a result of some building management policy plus a multitude of other factors that make people gather at a specific place. The layers that intersect can be big as well, on the level of how the Port Authority must decide how to handle the last mile of freight cargo at its ports. This intersection deals with global shipping, trade, commerce, environmental and social impacts. CAL: How does your definition of the city and your movement through it shape your current projects? ST: I like to think that Planning Corps works at identifying the core of an urban problem by deconstructing the structure and process by which the city is managed and built, then connecting the right skills (via planners) to the project. For example, a recent project on improving the safety of Queens Boulevard partnered with the Transportation Alternatives Queens Volunteer committee up-front and asked them what they thought, brought them into several discussions about cross-sections, safety, etc, and then broke away to do research. This deliberately connected ideas for improvement to a tangible body of people who would go on to advocate for those improvements. Knowing the who when working on a project is very important when trying to accomplish the goal. CAL: What have you learned from testing your ideas/projects in the city? ST: Go with what you think works and don’t be afraid to start small. Just begin, try, and adjust. CAL: What is one idea that you shared with the City as Lab students? ST: There is rarely good matchmaking when it comes to connecting needs in the community to expertise. What is the meaning of expertise anyway? We are trying to explore useful applications of expertise, without overlooking other types of knowledge. CAL: Anything else you’d like to share now? ST: Ask good questions. I’m excited to collaborate with you!


SOLAR POWERED FANS A KARAJ initiated project researching solutions for the electricity crisis in Lebanon

| AYAH BDEIR | SHERIF MAKTABI | HIRUMI NANAYAKKARA | RAMSEY NASSR |


From the New York Times to Lonely Planet, Lebanon is branded and packaged as a hot tourist destination. Upon arrival, foreigners are greeted with a warm welcome from the locals, delicious food, trendy night clubs, and a plethora of beach resorts and high end shopping. These first world attractions mask the third world, broken infrastructure woven into Lebanon’s urban fabric. Ghassan Tleis is a middle-aged father of two living in a small suburb of Beirut. His town receives about 12 hours of electricity a day. For five months out of the year, he and his family find themselves unable to sleep because of the extreme heat. His story inspired our team to create a design solution to this problem that exists independent of Lebanon’s electrical grid.

“The worst part is not being able to change the baby’s diaper in the middle of the night.” --Hsain Resident We broke our timeline into three phases: PART I. PART II. PART III.

Research, develop and design a low-cost, sustainable fan in urban areas Expand to rural areas Affect systemic change in the community

GHASSAN TLEIS Solar Powered Fan (SPF) is the first KARAJ initiated project born out of Ghassan’s story. Many people in Lebanon have very intermittent (to no) electricity and too much summer sun. Some people are lucky enough to have backup generators that provide power to their homes and businesses, while others go without electricity for as much as 20 hours out of the day. The goal of this project is to circumvent this problem and find distributed solutions to systemic electricity infrastructure issues in Lebanon. Initially, we began designing specifically for Ghassan: a solar-powered fan, built from local resources, which would cool a room for 8 hours when electricity cuts out during the hot summer nights. Our goals were to create a system that excites and educates the community, and exists as a long-term solution.

BRAINSTORMING

PART I. RESEARCH We were most inspired by the work completed by Moonlight and Green Actors. Moonlight is a portable solar light that can run up to 40 hours. This device was introduced in Cambodia where electricity is scarce and kerosene lamps were regularly causing dangerous fires. Green Actors succeeded in moving 100,000 people off the grid in Benin, Africa using various solar powered devices. Members in the community were underwent training on solar panels to become the expert solar engineers in their community and taught other members in their villages how to create and use such devices.


We concluded that PC fans would be a great way to cut e-waste in landfills and serve as a low-cost, local resource. We found that stacking the fans were quite powerful and created a series of modular designs that would be logical for a small room.

Problems with electricity started during the 1975 – 1990 civil war. Power plants were targeted and bombed multiple times, and the country has never fully recovered. Electricite du Liban (EDL) is the government run establishment that sometimes provides electricity to Lebanon. EDL controls over 90% of all power plants in Lebanon. Many Lebanese residents turned to privatizing their energy supply, which is why revolutions against the government haven’t been rampant. Private generators are used when the government supply fails, forcing residents to pay sometimes as much as $600 monthly to power their homes and businesses. When interviewing producers from the farmers market, Souk el Tayeb, and members of the nearby village, Hsain, we found that light was the biggest concern when the power goes out. Parents found it most frustrating that the presence of power (light) dictated when their children would be able to complete their homework. One mother states that “the worst part [of not having electricity] is not being able to change the baby’s diaper in the middle of the night...” because it is so far outside Beirut, city lights don’t reach their homes and their village becomes pitch black.. Warm showers are another source of worry. After working long hours in the fields and factories, skipping a bath is not an option and they must heat water on wooden logs in order to bathe. Regardless if they go days without electricity, residents must pay the government as much as 75,000LL ($50). If they want to use a generator, the cost is doubled. The electricity also shorts out quite often and people must replace their household items regularly. One family recently spent $400 replacing items that have broken due to shortages.

PROCESS Above: sketching modular systems. Below: PC solar fan prototype During the process we found what lacked in our design process was whether or not this fan is something an entire community, not just an individual, would want/need. We put a halt to the solar fan design process and dove into researching target demographics by to completing site visits and interviews.

PART II. SITE VISITS

FATIMA Hsain resident who struggles to cope with power cuts. The elderly are a demographic that is hit hard by lack


“58 percent of households use some form of self generation, such as generators and large batteries.”

June 2009, World Bank Report

of electricity. Fatima, a Hsain resident, is unable to complete every-day tasks, such as eating and using

the toilet, because it is so dark at night and her poor eyesight cannot rely on candlelight alone. Her way of circumventing the problem is using a car battery that powers two 20W energy saving light bulbs.

AD HOC SYSTEM Using car batteries as an alternate energy source.

Overall, this community was very receptive to renewable energy. They stated that buying solar powered devices would be a big investment, but it will be “better and cheaper” for them in the future.

In Bourj Hammoud the industrial heartbeat of ancillary Beirut pulses. Located just outside the City, Bourj Hammoud is full of small business owners and factories creating everything from electronic parts to women’s shoes. Most businesses need to “subscribe” to community generators In order to fully operate fully. Community generators are independent of government power and charge their subscribers at equal or greater cost than EDL bills.

BOURJ HAMMOUD Entanglement of governmental and private electrical wiring

Integrating a design solution that would reform the privatization of generators will require more than just an infrastructural change. Those who own the generators have all the power. Literally.

“People don’t have a choice in which generator to choose from, and there is no competition. The owner names his price at the end of the month, and we have to pay it.” --Bourj Hammoud Resident


Even if a replacement, affordable generator or energy alternative were dropped in into these communities, it is highly likely that the mafia-like ringleaders behind these generators would retaliate. Whispered amongst small business owners is a theory that there isn’t a lack of electricity in Lebanon at all, but that the government receives a cut of the profits generated by generator owners, or worse still, that the government secretly owns the private generators. One resident claims, “People don’t have a choice in which generator to choose from, and there is no competition. The owner names his price at the end of the month, and we have to pay it.” Among those we interviewed, we found that no one is interested in a replacement unless it is as reliable and powerful as the current ad hoc system.

“When I was small, I did my chores by candlelight. Today, I am married, I have children, and we still need a generator to survive 10-hour power cuts.” --Jounieh resident

AFP: Under daily blackouts, Lebanese wait to see the light Rita Daou

only lights up when the power goes out. The text on the sign illuminates “Is this on? Then your government is off. Call 1707 to submit your complaint.”

PUN FUN Using electrical outages to power our statement

PART III. CIVIC ENGAGEMENT Recently, EDL released a customer service hotline for customer complaints. We called the service with real problems and surprisingly, an EDL employee documented our feedback (although she may be the only person that handles the line; our multiple calls went to the same person). This recent development steered our design process in a different direction; why not end our summer research with activating community empowerment? We designed a plexiglass panel backlit with LEDs that is powered through rechargeable batteries. The circuit is built so that the batteries are charged when the power is on, but the sign

Though EDL claims to be committed to rolling out a reform by 2014, no one is convinced it will work because so little has changed since 1996. One Jounieh resident interviewed by AFP states “When I was small, I did my chores by candlelight. Today, I am married, I have children, and we still need a generator to survive 10-hour power cuts.” Our vision is to complete and document as much research as possible by the end of the summer. We will compile what we’ve done into a social activism toolkit that brings awareness to this issue and encourage others to get involved. This kit is comprised of the plexiglass sign, a series of webisodes from our site visits and interviews, and a written documentation of our process.


What we’ve uncovered through this process is that this predicament is only getting worse, and though people have found ways to get around the problem, nothing is a long-term solution. Access to electricity is a human right and we hope that our work will inspire people to continue to research a sustaining solution to a growing crisis. Bibliography 1. Mroue, Bassem. “Lebanon is booming but no end to power outages.” Bloomberg Businessweek. The Associated Press. 16, Jul. 2010. < http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/ D9H029MG0.htm> 2. Fielding-Smith, Abigail. “Lebanon’s other power struggle.” Financial Times. Lebanon Matters. 8, Sep. 2010. < http://lebanonmatters.com/2010/09/ft-lebanons-other-power-struggle/> 3. Daou, Rita. “Under daily blackouts, Lebanese wait to see the light.” AFP. 6, Sep. 2010. < http:// www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hNoRbeckUpsOSH5w-v2A9s0hsPrg> 4. Moonlight. Kamworks. 2010. < http://www.kamworks.com/products/moonlight.html> 5. “Promotion of Solar Energy in Benin.” Green Actors. 2011. <http://www.gawa.nu/stories/story_ solar.htm> 6. Electricite Du Liban. 2010 < http://www.edl.gov.lb/Main.htm>


4. Student Lab Reports + Adam Phillips + Ashlee Tuttleman + Brandon Fischer + Desiree LaVecchia + Hirumi Nanayakkara + Maniezheh Firouzi + Meredith Danberg-Ficarelli + Sonia Bhagat


ADAM PHILLIPS

adamphillips19.tumblr.com

Milano The New School for Urban Policy & Management Concentration: Urban Policy Analysis Educational Background: St. Josephâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s University - Philadelphia, PA International Business, Foreign Languages & Literature (Italian) Professional Background: The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) Management & Organizational Development-Project Associate Favorite Food in NYC: Bagels with cream cheese Favorite Food in BEIRUT: Mannouche with cheese, tomato and mint

CITY AS LAB DREAMS & FRUSTRATIONS The final design intervention project was a test of patience, creativity and wits.


GRAND ARMY PLAZA FARMER’S MARKET One of New York City’s largest Saturday markets bustles even in the cold of winter

Project Image - 7.5 x 3” 300 dpi

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT - 2/16/11 Fuel for a winter’s day in New York City

FROM DENSE POLICY STUDENT TO CREATIVE URBANIST EXTRAORDINAIRE

How do you define a city? This was the first question I was asked before enrolling in City as Lab. My definition was Jane Jacobsian - eyes on the street, density and diversity. I’m still an adherent to her school of urbanism (and who isn’t?) but now I view the city as a transmutable space to meet one’s needs. P.O.’ed that a fancy new bus station has become privatized space? Mad as hell that the bus line has been discontinued due to infrastructure budget cuts? Then re-program the space to become your own living room. Damn the man and make that space yours! However, the journey to this level of urban enlightenment and creativity was filled with potholes, speed bumps and closed streets from the Puerto Rican Day Parade. As a policy student up to his ears with feasibility studies (just to paint a line in an alley in Staten Island) the DIY approach of City as Lab was a welcome change of pace. Beginning with food mapping and moving on to the effect food spaces have within the city and its inhabitants, we were able to understand the systems that control our food and city. The final AH-HA! moment was realizing the intertwined network of systems that make up all cities, especially the production, storage, transportation, consumption and waste related to food.


ADAM PHILLIPS

Internship Image 7.5 x 5.5” 300 dpi

UMA ‘ALI PREPARING MOUNEH - ZOUK MIKHAEL, LEBANON Mouneh, preserved and pickeled foods, is a source of income for some Souk el Tayeb producers.

SLAVE TO SOUK EL TAYEB-JACK OF ALL TRADES, MASTER OF NONE

Where to start a description for an organization with roles as varied as farmer’s market, producer’s kitchen, sustainable living promoter and economic empowerment agency? For an organization that provides a platform for local and traditional farmer’s to sell their products, most who have been affected by war, there is no shortage of work to go around. The original plan for me was to work on a specific program - Souk @ School. This program reached out to schools to teach children about sustainable agriculture and green living in an interactive way. However, once arriving, it was apparent that all parts of their programming needed some focus and refinement. The end product was restructuring Souk el Tayeb Education to include not only Souk @ School but also classes (Lebanese Cuisine 101, Lebanese Wines 101 & Capacity Building for producers), producer visits for tourists, collaborative partnerships with universities and professional exchange programs between producers in Lebanon and classicly trained chefs from abroad. The main focus of my work has been to revise their cooking classes to better highlight the producer who will come to teach the class. The producer’s personal and food history is now the highlight, along with educational materials about Lebanese food, customs and culinary heritage. In addition to the classes we have been able to begin a pilot program between the Graphic Design department at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and the Souk’s producers. Since very few of the producer’s have the ability or means to create their own brand we have reached out to AUB to tap into their talented pool of students for help. The pilot program will pair three students with three producers. Through meetings and site visits the producer and AUB student will collaboratively create a logo and brand for the producer to use at the souk and for all of their product labelling. Once the project has been evaluated (hopefully) it can be integrated into the Graphic Design department’s Design in the Community class. This class will pair all of the students with the remaining producers, guaranteeing that every producer has an equal chance to develop their own brand.


Internship Image - 7.5 x 3” 300 dpi

SOUK EL TAYEB PRODUCER FIELD - ARAMOUN, LEBANON After graduating college and unable to find a job, Omar, 25, turned his family’s plot into productive farmland.

SUSTAINABLE FOOD GURU AND DJ TO THE PEOPLE - LOTTE WOUTERS

As we began our journey in Lebanon, Souk el Tayeb’s (SET) first ever intern was finishing hers. Owner of ZININ iets lekkers catering and a local/sustainable food enthusiast in her native Amsterdam, Lotte organizes food events and festivals throughout Holland. Now back in Lebanon for 10 days only, Lotte sat day with me to reflect on her time with Souk el Taybe earlier this year. AP: How did you first get involved with Souk el Tayeb & Tawlet? LW: I did research on the internet and looked for a place in Lebanon which was active with promoting sustainable food and informing people about foodculture. I found Kamal & SET and discovered a friend of mine knew him. We were brought into contact and discussed a volunteership (they never had one before me). AP: How long did you work there? LW: 7 Weeks. AP: What was your first impression of the organization? LW: Small, personal, effective, diverse. Kamal has a strong and clear vision. Producers are really #1 in this organization. There is a lot of freedom for own ideas and developing your own qualities at SET. AP: What projects did you work on while you were there? LW: Initially I was here to try to learn about Lebanese food culture and learn how to cook (rural) Lebanese food. But in my first week we decided it would be nice to use my experience in organizing to create new things for SET as well. I started up Wines of Lebanon, a project where we promote all Lebanese winemakers and get people introduced to Lebanon’s rich wine history. I built up the wineboutique, organized a glass-tasting with Riedel with wine glasses for ALL winemakers of Lebanon and organized wine appreciation classes. I also created a promotion plan and brand for the project. I also started up the plan for Lebanese Food Tours, where tourists will do day trips to different local producers, visit their fields, cook with them and visit some touristic sights. This involved discussing with concierge about their interest to book these trips for their guests. I also had the chance to cook with local producers at their houses and collect traditional recipes (database for the Tawlet cook book). AP: What projects did you wish you had time to start or finish in your limited time? LW: I wish I could have finished the food tours, promo material and some promo meetings with al lot of the hotels here but I’m still working on it from home and came back to Lebanon to test some of the programs, to see how we can improve and finalize. Also I would have loved to help start up and create the Eco Souk, the project Meredith and Adam are working on now (I’m trying to keep being informed and involved with this project). AP: What was the most surprising thing about your time with the Souk el Tayeb & Tawlet? LW: That creating and developing any project or initiative went super fast and easy!! As a Western girl you always think everything goes much more effective in Europe / America but I think due to the lack of rules and regulations and the willingness of everyone here it is way more effective and faster to organize stuff here. I have my own company at home which would create ultimate freedom in everything you spend your time on...you’d think... but I experienced far more freedom here because of the amount of trust and freedom you get here to develope yourself. At the same time it’s sometimes hard to rely on Lebanese if you have an appointment with them... ;-)


ADAM PHILLIPS

MAR MIKHAEL TRAIN STATION & OUTBUILDINGS - PRESENT DAY Potential home of the Souk el Tayeb Eco-Souk

MAR MIKHAEL BUS GRAVEYARD Wasted potential in a traffic clogged city


CALL ME A LATE BLOOMER What am I doing this summer? That’s been going through my mind the entire time I’ve been in Beirut. As usual, I sat back to wait for something to fall in my lap and low and behold something did (so much for giving up procrastination and indolence upon arrival in Beirut). Luckily for me, some of these projects are transportation related. Since Souk el Tayeb is constantly given the heave-ho by Solidere in their downtown location, they have decided to search for spaces and investors for a permanent home, tentatively called the Eco-Souk. This space will hold a farmer’s market, organic and natural communal kitchen, a co-op shop, play area for kids and an organic garden. How does transportation play a role in this? The ideal location for the Eco-Souk will be on the grounds of the old Mar Mikhael train station, a stone’s throw away from Tawlet (Souk el Tayeb’s producer kitchen and restaurant) and Souk el Tayeb offices. By reusing one of Beirut’s hidden architectural and historical gems, Souk el Tayeb will be able to consolidate all of their activities into one aesthetically pleasing space. In order to present a cohesive plan to the Ministry of Transportation and potential investors, Hirumi Nanayyakara, Meredith Danberg-Ficarrelli and I visited the old train station to do site research. We also did extensive case study research of similar projects. Although many train stations have been reused in the past for new purposes this is the first time a station would be used for the celebration of food and sustainable living. Very much a work in progress for the next few years, it is exciting to be involved in the inital stages of such a comprehensive and multidisciplinary project. In addition to Eco-Souk I hope to help Desiree Lavecchia with a transportation alternatives report projecting what Beirut could look like in 2050. Whether it’s conducting interviews, editing, contributing content, doing transportation related site visits or creating maps I hope to add to her project as the need arises. Finally, I hope to finish my research for my thesis before leaving Lebanon. As mentioned earlier, the Souk @ School program has stopped dead in it’s tracks. The reasons are obvious for a small organization - not enough financial resources or physical capacity. The goal is to try to create a comprehensive program that encompasses the current curriculum while adding some of Souk el Tayeb’s specialties. In order to do this the Souk @ School program will need a plan to grow from a one-class at one-school approach to something more comprehensive. Elements such as youth cooking classes, organized visits to the farmer’ s market and a farm-to-table (incorporating local producer’s foods in schools) program should be included with the basic Souk @ School curriculum. To achieve these goals Souk el Tayeb will need to involve more stakeholders. Specifically, innovative primary schools, parent-teacher associations and youth education focused NGO’s would be ideal partners to make this project feasible. The end result for Souk el Tayeb will be a feasibility study for implementing a comphrensive program.


ASHLEE TUTTLEMAN Ashesrose.tumblr.com Graduate Program in International Affairs Concentration: Development Educational Background: B.S. in International Business, Minor in Psychology Professional Background: Project Manager, Rainone Enterprises; Board Member, The Eli Home Favorite Food in NYC: Dosas Favorite Food in BEIRUT: Kibbeh

I <3 PROSPECT HEIGHTS BECAUSE__________ BUT IT COULD BE BETTER IF ___________ A needs-assessment participant of the first iteration of our final project, Trouble! in Prospect Heights.


DISPLACEMENT Once low-income housing, the Atlantic Yards project will “redevelop” into high-rise, high-price condos.

TROUBLE! IN PROSPECT HEIGHTS Get displaced in the game and report their priorities: inclusive development, traffic/parking or affordable housing.

CONFLICT AND INCLUSION MANIFEST IN URBAN DESIGN Reframing my conception of urban reality, CAL helped me unpack the manifold dilemmas and resolutions embedded in the system of urban design. Architects and city planners function beyond the scope of architectural and infrastructural design – I realize now that they precipitate social, cultural and political strictures and power dynamics; they perpetuate conflict and facilitate crimes against humanity through design and destruction; and they may also function as peacemakers by breaking barriers, creating solutions and propelling interaction and exchange. My final project, Trouble! in Prospect Heights, tackled the nexus of urban development, displacement, diversity, exclusion and community engagement. My bias against gentrification was challenged as I discovered its potential benefits- greater security, cleanliness and diversity. In the end, the disregard for the original residential ‘beneficiaries’ by architects, planners and the government through the use of eminent domain reinforced my negative stereotype of gentrification and its inevitable process of displacement and exclusion.


ASHLEE TUTTLEMAN


 MOUSAWET LNISAH, WOMEN’S RIGHTS (TO BE FREE FROM DOMESTIC ABUSE) Hosted by KAFA (Enough Violence and Exploitation), CRTD.A, Nasawiya and others, a demonstration in June 2010 demanded the ratification of a proposed draft law to protect women against domestic abuse in Lebanon.

MIGRANT WOMEN DOMESTIC WORKER RESEARCH LEAD Since 2001, the Collective for Research and Training on Development – Action (CRTD.A) has engaged with and supported rural and urban women in attaining transformative economic power at the grassroots level. As an intern with CRTD.A, I support the Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme (WEEP), an arm of the non-governmental organization. My contributions are threefold: leading local qualitative research on urban women, contributing to national qualitative research on rural women and undertaking regional quantitative research. Currently, the WEEP programme combines knowledge research and dissemination, counselling services, starting up and/or consolidating women’s economic initiatives, advocacy, and policy work to support women's economic empowerment at the grassroots level as well as contributing to strengthening women's position at the level of social and public institution. To this end, the Migrant Women Domestic Worker (MWDW) research project will explore the implications of MWDW on Lebanese society with a specific focus on the madam and the impact of hired domestic labor on her ability to harness greater economic empowerment. I am responsible for developing and executing action-oriented research that will commence in an analytical report. My research will serve as the basis for broader analysis of the linkage between MWDW and economic opportunities for women as well as a comparative analysis of care work in urban and rural areas. CRTD.A has supported the rural women cooperatives and organizations in South Lebanon, the Beqaa and Akkar; WEEP embarks on various interventions that include close field accompaniment, technical counseling, training and financial support and assistance in developing market outlets. Thus I will co-lead on the development of a biographical publication of the leaders and membership of these rural women’s cooperatives. The purpose of the publication is to profile rural women and their work through life stories and to provide grounded definitions of women’s empowerment and economic contributions as well as illustrations of various forms of women’s leadership. In light of the post-Arab spring and the continual marginalization of women in the revolutionary Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, CRTD.A organized a regional conference of NGOs to strategize a way forward for women’s inclusion and gender equity. As such, I produced quantitative research and analysis of women’s conventional and non-normative economic indicators in Egypt and Jordan in order to expose women’s undervalued and unpaid economic contributions.


NAMLIEH CRTD.A features rural women cooperatives and producers’ specialty products in a new marketing initiative called Namlieh, affording these women with greater marketing and market access as a means to gain greater economic empowerment. 


VOLUNTEER INTERVIEW Rania Ignatios, core m em ber of Nasawiya, discusses the collective’s structure, imperatives and role in the feminist m ovem ent in Lebanon. Q: Can you explain the purpose of Nasawiya and briefly describe the campaigns and projects Nasawiya is currently undertaking. RI: Nasawiya is a feminist platform for all initiatives that seek to improve the situation of women in Lebanon and the Arab world. The collective provides […] mainly human resources and a space for these initiatives to grow. Initiatives working under Nasawiya today [include] The Adventures of Salwa Campaign, a campaign against sexual harassment in Lebanon; Sawt Al Niswa online magazine; Girl Geek Camp, a “take back the tech project” that aims to teach young girls how to use online/tech tools; and Migrant Workers Task Force. Nasawiya hosts talks by activists from Lebanon and all around the world. Debates and discussions around feminist or feminist-related issues are also organized almost every week. Q: How would you describe the membership of Nasawiya? What types of individuals are involved and what are their backgrounds? RI: I wouldn’t say our membership is very diverse but it’s not exclusive nor elitist. We have members coming from all religious and social backgrounds and from different locations in Beirut and its surroundings. We still aim to better reach members that live outside of Beirut, working class older women, married women [and others]. Q: What is your role in the collective? RI: There are no roles in the collective. There are initiatives. People get involved in the ones that interest them, or start their own. There are also discussions, debates, talks that you can take part of. I’m currently giving most of my time as a member to the Adventures of Salwa campaign. I also take part in the weekly activities and events in nasawiya. I’m sometimes involved in the preparation and other times I just participate.


Q: How do you define feminism? RI: Feminism is a personal and political tool that we use to look at, analyze and address the power dynamics and oppressions that exist around us. Q: In your opinion, what are the two biggest challenges to the feminist movement in Lebanon? RI: The first and biggest challenge to the feminist movement and any other social movement in Lebanon is sectarianism. With its rigid structure and roots in our political and social system, sectarianism seems to stand against social change in Lebanon in general, but maintaining this system affects women in particular more than others because of its laws and how it affects the economic situation of the country, [specifically] the personal status laws that are immensely discriminatory against women and the lack of job opportunities. The second challenge is the rigid backwards thinking and traditions that are religiously backed and that refuse any feminist or women’s rights discourse.You can add to those two the unstable political situation in the country that results in giving security issues priority over women issues. Q: How can these challenges be overcome? RI: I personally don’t know yet Q: What is Nasawiya’s role in overcoming these challenges? RI: 1. Exposure for women’s issues 2. Breaking the taboos surrounding some issues (specially issues related to sexuality) by talking about them in public (on the media, and in discussion groups and training sessions with women) 3. Organizing marches and demonstrations issues and recruiting people to them. 4. Going to schools, universities, women groups, municipalities and organizing talks about different women’s issues, change and how it happens in society, and sectarianism. Q: What motivates you to push for change in Lebanese society? RI: My strong belief in feminism and the community of people I’ve met and am part of today.

PROBLEM SOLVERS Composed of Filipina domestic workers, our Lebanese think tank proposed solutions to problems submitted in Corona, Queens. We challenged standard development approaches by reversing normative inter-cultural power dynamics and defying loaded assumptions about cultural and intellectual superiority.


ON THE HORIZON “Bishougoul la haqouq wa musawet lnissah fi Lubnan (I work for women’s rights and equality in Lebanon)” is my response to the common inquiry about my purpose for visiting the country. The four common responses, in order of frequency, are: 1) good luck, 2) you should go to Saudi, 3) women have enough rights here, or 4) that’s greatwe need it. When the dialogue is with a man, he will typically verbalize his assumption that I’m a feminist. I tell him his assumption is correct; I believe that women should not only have equal rights to men by law but they should also have equal opportunities, freedom from coercion in decision making, protection against public and domestic violence and sexual harassment, have the liberty of gender non-conformity, be active and included in politics and participate at all strata of the public and private spheres. In other words, equal rights are the tip of the iceberg; social reform and acceptance is integral to holistic and comprehensive gender equality.
 Over a period of two months I have researched women’s invisible and undervalued work; explored migrant women’s domestic work and its impact on Lebanese women’s economic empowerment; attended discussions about sexual harassment in the work-place, sex work and film screenings about advertising’s image of women; facilitated focus groups on sexual harassment; organized a think tank with migrant women domestic workers and demonstrated in favor of a Lebanese draft law protecting women from domestic violence. Through these activities and casual discussions with strangers, acquaintances and new friends, there is clearly a nascent movement that has not yet infiltrated the public zeitgeist. Patriarchal constructs are deeply embedded in Lebanese society and despite glimmers of hope among activists and progressives, the requisite elevation of women’s status to ascertain gender equity is marginalized. In combination with the layman’s valuation of the work I am pursuing, as alluded to above, a host of political events reinforced the extent to which women’s issues and rights are subordinated or outright denied. During our stay in Lebanon the Cabinet formulation excluded women entirely. A proposed draft law to protect women from domestic violence is under contention and, with heavy opposition from conservative religious factions whose discourse conceives such a law as detrimental to familial sanctity, is at risk of being shelved. Less politicized and more mundane gender stratification ensue in both the private and public spheres. Sexual harassment is a ubiquitous and unavoidable pandemic that is not yet accepted as a violation. Women are verbally and physically accosted by men in public spaces with no recourse; in fact, law enforcement agents are some of the worst offenders. I perceive this particular form of objectification and intimidation indicative of Lebanese society’s valuation of women. Their objectification specifically is what prevents them from being understood as whole, valuable human beings with inalienable rights that are equal to men’s. They are thus wives, mothers or lovers; while Lebanese women have entered the public sphere more visibly than other women in the region, they are still significantly underrepresented in civil society, business and in politics. Arguably, the replacement of Lebanese women by migrant women as objects of the household is a zerosum reality: ostensible gains for Lebanese women disproportionately harm migrant women by violating their rights and freedoms. Even if Lebanese women are enabled to join the workforce and spend more quality time with their families, do the costs really outweigh the benefits? For whom? The quandary of domestic servitude excuses pervasive maltreatment of domestic workers and perpetuates racist, misogynistic and inhumane treatment of migrants. If gender equity for Lebanese women is marginalized, legally reframing the rights and protections of migrant women domestic workers is utterly dismissed. Although these inequalities and abuses sustain women’s subordination in Lebanese society, change is viable. CRTD.A is a national and regional model for inclusive training, strategizing and campaigning for the transformation of women’s status. Equally as valuable is the bottom-up, collective model of Nasawiya, providing women with a forum for discussion, exploration and personal empowerment. Combining top-down and bottomup approaches that focus on inclusion, awareness and participation in politics, the household and the streets, the movement for gender equity is gaining momentum. As the Middle East and North African revolutions have illustrated, change is imminent when critical masses mobilize. The mass-accumulation stage of the Lebanese women’s movement is on the horizon, but more individuals must become aware of the symptoms, causes and detriments of gender inequity and choose to actively participate in demanding legal reform and societal transformation before substantive equality is achieved.


BRANDON FISCHER brandonmfischer.tumblr.com Graduate Program in International Affairs Concentration: Development Educational Background: Masters Student Professional Background: Acrobat, Enthusiast Favorite Food in NYC: Black beans Favorite Food in BEIRUT: Chancliche

COMUN Women of Mheidthe Women’s Cooperative preparing cherry jam


GENS A young female scientist analyzing samples in a clinic in Meshmesh

VITA Interview with a young girl from Prospect Heights, as part of an ‘Urban Intervention’ that focused on shifting dynamics within neighborhoods

CREATURE FEAR First thing, this urban network business was a bit outta reach. Like one them things that just floats in the periphery, teasin you with its proud glare. I couldn’t wrap my head couldn’t quite figure out why. Strange conceptual theories, frames of reference, I aint seen it before. Naturally, it took a bit. Percolation. I did it. Seemed to work. The less I cared the more I got. I learned bout funny things like interrelatedness and stuff. I saw how we so detached from farmers, food flow, quality. I thought up ways to break the cycle these kids created. You know, them fine agribusiness-type n Monsanto boys. They doin what they do n most folks payin time o day to what it all means. What it does to this place. Then I learned bout other things. I was a young boy and I wanted to be an architect. You know, like Howard Roark. I liked him. I liked what he did. Then this class come and start talkin bout things that I never tended to. Stuff like violent architecture. Crimes gainst humanity. Not your reg crimes of humanity, tho. No, no. No bloodshed. Well, they don’t seem to think so. Like boundaries to life – boundaries to being, and working. Seeing and thinking. Impenetrable stone n mortar, fuckin up lives. Tearing apart, and breaking in two. Everything grew a bit more illuminated. Implications n sensitivities. I liked what it did to me. Knowing, that is. Like puttin on a new hairpiece.


BRANDON FISCHER

LUMIN A women from the Nejmet el Sobeh cooperative details her experience serving in the labour force and the agency that it has given her

Live Lebanon UNDP The Live Lebanon project mobilizes resources from more than 10 million Lebanese living abroad to support local development initiatives in the some of the most underserved areas of Lebanon. Its projects are devised through participatory processes in partnership with municipalities and local NGOs, which aim to alleviate poverty and regional inequalities in Lebanon.


SALUS A doctor in Meshmesh demonstrates how to use a cardiac machine that was donated to his clinic through a Live Lebanon project.

INTERVIEW with Farah Abdessamad, Programme Officer for the Social and Local Development Portfolio, UNDP Lebanon Q: What are your job responsibilities? I am mainly in charge of assisting in the identification, implementation and monitoring of projects falling under the Social and Local Development sphere in Lebanon and day-to-day follow up. More specifically, I am responsible for three on-going projects which include supporting the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, engaging the media in mainstreaming national and local development issues, and “Live Lebanon”. The latter aims to strengthen the links between the Lebanese Diaspora and their country of origin through local development projects related to health, youth, the environment and incomegenerating activities, which is a very innovative initiative for UNDP. Q: What would you say is one of your biggest achievements in working with UNDP? How did it transpire? One of my biggest achievements in working with UNDP has been to contribute to the immediate crisis response following the Haiti earthquake on 12 January 2010. I was assigned to Haiti a month prior to the devastating catastrophe and in mere seconds, our lives were changed forever. I had the opportunity to participate first-hand to relief and recovery efforts led by the UN, both upstream and downstream alongside the UN Humanitarian Coordinator and various partners at the local level. UNDP is the lead agency for the Early Recovery coordination cluster, which includes all humanitarian and development actors working in this field to maximize our respective interventions and impact. While this particular work was terribly challenging, it was also the most rewarding as it allowed me to make a tangible impact on the lives of affected Haitians, notably through the ‘Cash for Work’ scheme, which was


shortly deployed in the aftermath of the earthquake, to support their livelihoods with a particular emphasis on women. As a survivor, but most importantly as a young development worker, this experience has made a profound impact and irremediably confirmed that relief and development are the fields which fulfills me at the personal and professional levels. Q: What are some cautionary tales or lessons learned that you could share with others, particularly as it relates to the field of development within a context of embedded sectarian divides? One of the lessons I have learnt from working in development in different national settings is that there is no â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;one size fits allâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; model. While Lebanon is indeed characterized by sectarianism, other developing countries also possess tangible specificities, related to ethnicities or tribalism for instance. My advice to any international aid worker would be to know the country he/she is working in order to grasp all of the historical, cultural, socio-economic and political components which defines it to allow for effective and relevant programmes and projects. Afghanistan is no Rwanda and similarly, no countries of the region are Lebanon. Working within a sectarian regime does not make it any harder than another duty station. The key is to understand this reality and look for hidden opportunities, which can positively change the lives of our intended beneficiaries. There is always a way. Q: What is the hybrid animal (ie. liger, grolar) and/or organization that most fascinates you? In what ways? The UN is certainly one of the most fascinating hybrid animals. It represents too often an easy target of criticism whether it is pointed at its development, humanitarian, political or peace-keeping departments and undertakings. However, I would like to challenge anyone who thinks the UN is irrelevant in living just one day without it! I would also tell them that it has been so far the best ride of my lifeâ&#x20AC;Ś.

CARITAS Young business women at Hammana cherry festival


BRANDON FISCHER

FACTUM

RESEARCH REFLECTION I never know what’s going on. Things run through my head, though. From time to time. Silly things that don’t mean anything like capacity building and empowerment and stuff like that. I let them fester a bit. I think more. After a while, I got it. They call it social entrepreneurship. Kinda crept up outta nowhere like Donny Osmond on a tricycle. Well, not quite. It was better. It came out of a little book. It was a good book. It makes sense. I walk around Lebanon. I talk to people, like my boss. They tell me about Root Space. Clever, I think. I talk to this kid and his name is David. Amir, they call him. But I call him David. Active kid. He runs this Root Space. He calls it Alt City now. Things change a lot in Lebanon. Most times no reason for it. We talk and drink, talk. Drink. They have this incubator thing. Not really. He wants me to help make it though. Cause they ain’t done it yet. Incubator for innovatin? Kinda. He knows people who know stuff. They use neat words like ‘social venture capital.’ They ‘fill gaps,’ ‘use existing structures,’ and make money to do stuff for people. Like give shoes. And plant seeds. Then I did these interviews. Nah not interviews, surveys. Needed to figure it all out. So I talked to some people. Mainly straight up venture capital people. You know, them people that make your skin crawl. I heard some stuff. Some good stuff bout what works and what doesn’t. I thought some. Amir, I said. I got this idea. I wanna do some of that analysis, see how it all works. See what breaks down. What picks up. He gets it. He likes it. I run with it. I’m still running with it.


 
 



DESIREE LAVECCHIA

lettersfrombeirut.tumblr.com Graduate Program in International Affairs

Bio Picture - 3x3” 300 dpi

Concentration: Cities and Urbanization Educational Background: University of South Florida 2008: BA Government and International Affairs University of South Florida 2008: BA Anthropology Professional Background: Campaign for Change: Organizer, Ohio Youth Corps FL Center for Survivors of Torture: Mediator Favorite Food in NYC: Artichoke pizza at 3am Favorite Food in BEIRUT: Fresh Laban

“The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules. It’s the people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages” - Banksy

A Banksy Piece streetartutopia.com


PUBLIC SPACE FOR SALE: NYC We decided to highlight the privatization of public space by selling park benches, trees, and waterfront space.

PARTICIPATING IN THE GREAT LAB EXPERIMENT

City as Lab transcended boundaries, and challenged me to think about the urban environment through new lenses. I can only liken it to being given a new collection of sunglasses, each one making the world look slightly different, and not one pair gets it all right, or all wrong. The course brought together people from a spectrum of backgrounds, including international affairs, design technology, fashion, policy, activism, architecture, and more! It was proof that if you put a group of forward thinking people together, or link them with an even larger scale of thinkers via social networking, astonishing ideas will flourish. Throughout the course, I investigated food networks, learned mapping skills, and discovered the impact of urban intervention. I learned how to think about systems, and practiced breaking into them in NYC in order to highlight my dilemmas. In Beirut, I have learned that breaking into a new city system takes observation, cultural relativism, and perseverance.


DESIREE LAVECCHIA

Internship Image 7.5 x 5.5” 300 dpi

CALLING FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION In partnership with 350.org, one of IndyACT’s primary objectives is the fight against climate change.

INDYACT: THE LEAGUE OF INDEPENDENT ACTIVISTS

IndyACT is a unique NGO headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon. The organization operates on all levels (local, regional and global) and uses non-violent direct and indirect actions to address environmental, social, and cultural issues. By supporting and connecting passionate independent activists and providing them with the required professional skills and resources to reach their goals, IndyACT is making great strides in improving our world. Currently, IndyACT is working on several campaigns, including the Zero Waste Campaign, Zero Mercury Campaign, 20:12 Climate Change Campaign, Marine Reserves Campaign, and the No Smoking Campaign. The organization also supports other NGOs in advocating for the rights of domestic workers and women, as well as promoting an increase in Beirut’s green space. My work within the organization has allowed me to hone in on Beirut’s dire need to restructure its transportation system. Within the 20:12 Climate Change Campaign, I am working with local urban planners, transportation experts, government officials, and other NGOs to envision the city in 2050. The report I am writing will both visualize an ideal city in regards to transportation, as well as lay out the steps needed to get there.


CALLING FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION live.org.au

INTERVIEW WITH SOUMAR DAKDOUK

Soumar Dakdouk is the Deputy Executive Director and one of the founding members of IndyACT. While she was in Vienna, Soumar took a few minutes to talk about IndyACT, passion, and SHARKS! Q: In my City as Lab course, we have been transcending boundaries and disciplines. So what is your passion? What inspired this whole shabang? SD: My passion is to be able to create positive change wherever its needed and to have a great team to work with to make this difference. IndyACT was inspired by those individuals who used unconventional methods to reach unprecedented achievements that positively affected entire societies. IndyACT is inspired by those great individuals and hopes to recruit and support future inspiring individuals to achieve the unachievable, or what they thought to be the unachievable Q: From my time working with IndyACT your love for sharks has been made clear! So, letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mythbust the shark thing. Are there sharks in the Mediterranean? (this is going on record for all curious tourists and skeptical Lebanese to see) SD: Yes there are, however for how long they survive all depends on the Shark Fin Soup lovers and if they are ready to take action along with their governments to replace this luxurious gourmet item with something more sustainably produced Q: Despite a global fascination with sharks, many species are still suffering the threat of extinction. Where do you think the disconnect lies? SD: Overfishing and climate change, to make a very, very, very long story short Q: I think that Transportation Alternatives can reverse many urban problems. If they could also save the sharks, do you think the sharks of the Mediterranean would choose bicycles and trains over cars? SD: Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m pretty sure sharks would prefer sustainable transport, after all the unsustainable practices their species deals with. Maybe schools of sharks would choose school busses?


DESIREE LAVECCHIA

“Why people feel that driving minded is a mystery to me.” -

THE CAR-CULTURE HAS TO BE REVERSED This image was take from a poster advertising a Critical Mass bike ride in Beirut

MAP OF FORMER TRAIN LINE A map of what was once one of the most advanced railway lines in the world.


a car makes one independent -David Byrne, Bicycle Diaries

A SMART CITY GUIDE TO BEIRUT IN 2050

Many contemporary cites are becoming wastelands as the “car culture” pushes people further and further away into the suburbs. The move outside of the city and into the suburbs not only leaves the city vacant and unused, but it also creates the need for...more suburbs...more highways...more cars...all contributing to climate change, sprawl, materialism, and breaking down the connections between people that once existed when the community was centered in the city. Post-war and developing cities are perfect places to institute effective transportation systems. If these places foster the creation of infrastructure for bike lanes, subways or light rail, and efficient street systems that allow for pedestrians to travel in the beginning of their development, then they wont have to restructure in the future, when things begin to get more desperate, and they will get more desperate. So, my research centers on Beirut’s severely lacking transportation system. Sometimes referred to as “upside-down planning”, my time in Beirut has allowed me to play with a vision of a progressive transportation system in 2050. The first step has been to remove all hesitancy in imagining major changes. With no “this is completely unachievable” thoughts, big and achievable improvements can be envisioned. The next step is to backtrack through the years to today, and work out the logistics of how to make my vision of 2050 happen. My initial reaction to traffic in Beirut was pure panic, but as my research has continued, I see a great amount of potential for the city. By 2050, Beirut should have a revived and functional railway system just as it once did, but even more advanced and far-reaching. There will be an efficient bus system in future Beirut. There will also be people riding bikes safely, and without judgment. In the 70’s, people thought the few bike riders in NYC had lost their minds, but just look at the surge in bicycle commuters today! These things are possible! Some of the infrastructure already exists, and the will power to create the rest is alive and well, even if you have to dig a little to find the right actors. Despite an often disfunctional government, Beirut is an interesting laboratory for blending civic actors and private investors to skip bureaucracy and create necessary improvements.


NAME HIRUMI NANAYAKKARA

Blog/website: itsmehirumi.com & beirumi.tumblr.com Parsons the New School for Design MFA Design + Technology Concentration: Mobile Media + Sustainable Design Educational Background: B.S. Biological Sciences, Neurobiology from the University of California, Irvine Professional Background: Higher Education, Student Affairs at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco Favorite Food in NYC: Salmon, chive cream cheese, tomato, and red onions on a toasted cheese bagel... with a mimosa. Favorite Food in BEIRUT: Chicken tawouk and polo zereshk

SELF SUSTAINING CITY: small scale statement for a large scale problem. This t-shirt is hand embroidered with a map of Beirut that is backlit by LEDs. During times the neighborhoods are scheduled for a blackout, the solar powered LEDs turn on-- showing an alternative approach to using privatized generators.


Project Image - 7.5 x 3” 300 dpi

WINDFALL FARMS TREASURE MAP A flash-based interactive map containing information about the organic producers from Windfall Farms.

Project Image - 7.5 x 3” 300 dpi

Bourj Hammoud Residents of Bourj Hammoud, and all over Lebanon, are forced to create ad hoc networks to supply electricity.

Deep Beirumi Thoughts

There once lived a girl named Hirumi. Who wanted to live as a Beiruiti. Joining City As Lab, Made everything so fab! With design + transdisciplinary unity. As the first Parson’s Design + Technology student to participate in GPIA’s International Field Program, I have been afforded a once in a lifetime opportunity that will hopefully foster more cross-overs between graduate programs within The New School in the coming years. Adriana Young’s transdisciplinary approach to instruction, in conjunction with collaborating with students from Urban Policy, International Affairs, and architecture students from the American University of Beirut has revealed my fascination and interest in urban food systems and utilizing mobile media in sustainable development. This class has not only heavily influenced the direction of my thesis project, but has also linked me with many like-minded individuals that I hope to continue to collaborate with in the future.


NAME HIRUMI NANAYAKKARA

Internship Image 7.5 x 5.5” 300 dpi

SECRET URBAN OASIS A glimpse into one of the few green spaces in Beirut.

Design + Technology Intern, KARAJ

Project development through interdisciplinary, collaborative, DIY approaches to create urban design solutions for Lebanon’s broken infrastructure. Project Solar Powered Fan (SPF): Collaborative research project exploring the electricity problem in Lebanon. Completing previously undocumented field research, interviews, video and picture documentation. Compiling a kick-starter package that includes a series of documentary webisodes, plexiglass light installation, solar-powered LED T-shirt, a research compendium exploring the history of the broken electrical grid and current research to promote social awareness and invite members of the community to take action. Aditionally, assisting with the research and development of Ayah Bdeir’s neon light installation that showcases Lebanon’s inability to have sustaining power and promoting the game-changing and outside-of-the-box mentality of KARAJ through website maintenance, newsletters, blog posts, video trailer, networking and event planning.

Design + Technology Intern, Souk el Tayeb

In collaboration with Milano Urban Policy students, assisting in designing a fully sustainable model for Souk el Tayeb’s permanent location. This project entails researching existing sustainable communities, preservation architecture, site visits, and collaborative meetings with local architects and waste management in Beirut. The final proposal will be used for investors, promotion of the space, and an educational tool for the community on the possibilities of renewable energy and sustainable development. Additionally, redesigning and implementation of Souk el Tayeb’s online newsletter.


OLD BEIRUT + NEW BEIRUT The old photograph shows a tram crossing the Bourj Hammoud bridge over the river in 1942. Now, public transportation is non-existant, as is the river. The farmlands have been replaced by highways and industrial buildings. Researching and documenting practices of the past is essential to successfully design for the future.

THE FABULOUS LIFE OF BASSAM JALGHA

= (Music + Engineering)^Mechatronics

A recent MS Electrical Engineering graduate from AUB, Bassam Jalgha is currently an Inventor in Residence at Karaj. After meeting Bassam, you would never guess that he is a gifted Oud musician (he’s all over YouTube!) and a reality TV star (he won the first season of the hit reality television show Stars of Science). His accomplishments are only rivaled by his generosity and kindness, which has helped make Karaj a truly collaborative, memorable and enjoyable working environment. HN: How did you find yourself in product development? BJ: I didn’t know what to do at first. I liked music, but it’s not a traditional Lebanese career. Bit by bit I was able to find my own path. I studied mechatronics and really liked it. From there, I had the opportunity to do “Stars of Science” (a reality show competition to showcase young Arab innovators). The product I invented there is Tork, but the name will change, and was a vision that I had from childhood. (Tork is a hands free device that automatically tunes the Oud) It won the competition and now I am at Karaj. HN: If you were to come back as an electronic gadget in another life, what would you be and why? BJ: I would be a transistor (transistors amplify and switch electronic signals) because it initiated the digital era we are currently living in. HN: Which traditional Lebanese dish best describes your work ethic? BJ: I would say Moghrabiyeh. It’s not really a Lebanese dish, but its a very old, traditional Arabic dish. It has chick peas, spices, chicken... basically a huge mix that is a festival in your mouth. It is so diverse, and so nice. It is like me. I’m an electrician and a musician. It’s a mix and I like it. It is like my life. Bassam is currently working on patenting Tork and co-developing Butterfleye, swimming goggles that measure heart rate.


NAME HIRUMI NANAYAKKARA

Indivdual Research Image 7.5 x 16” 300 dpi

MAR MIKHAEL TRAIN STATION Abandonded during the civil war, this space is Souk el Tayeb’s opportunity to create an eco-friendly community.

GARDENISTA: IPHONE APPLICATION The REAL Farmville: an app that promotes community development and sustainable living.


Individual Research City As Lab revealed to me the frailty of cities based on fractured food systems and my fascination with sustainable design in an urban environment. Last semester I cultivated this newfound interest into Gardenista: an Iphone application that addresses community engagement, women’s empowerment, and sustainable living through urban agriculture. It won the 2011 Urban App Incubator and is currently in development as a portion of my thesis project. My work experience at Souk el Tayeb & KARAJ was a unique opportunity to merge the two areas of the ad hoc interdisciplinary study that I’ve explored during my graduate study: Design + Technolgy and International Affairs. Observing the innovative green movement from Kamal Mouzawak and his team at Souk el Tayeb and the gamechanging research approach from Ayah Bdeir at KARAJ, has reaffirmed my research interests. KARAJ has helped me to complete pioneering research Lebanon’s electricity crisis in previously undocumented areas. I have been able to take part in perpetuating and branding Lebanon’s first media lab and collaborate with others based in Beirut that aspire to design for change. At Souk el Tayeb, I have been able to document traditional practices in urban agriculture, witness an innovative movement in Beirut to maintain and sustain slow food, and be a part of a start-up that is steadily defining the organic movement in Lebanon. City As Lab’s urban design cocktail of technology, food systems, and sustainability has unveiled that transportation alternatives, renewable energy, and sustainable architecture are all areas of research that I will continue to study. My City As Lab experience resulted in mashing urban lifestyles from New York City with traditional methods from the urban and rural Lebanese communities, which has allowed me to harvest the best approaches from both worlds to design sustainable practices. In my upcoming thesis year, I hope to create a series of projects that encompass civic engagement through sustainable action by continuing research in organic food systems and integrating solar and wind energy within design + technology.


MANIEZHEH FIROUZI slouchingtowardsbeirut.tumblr.com Parsons The New School for Design Concentration: MA Fashion Studies Educational Background: Print Journalism, Spanish & Biochemistry Professional Background: magazine intern extraordinaire, former 9th grade SpEd teacher Favorite Food in NYC: the baby beet salad at Café Cluny & the bacon pepperjack cheeseburgers at Fanelli’s Favorite Food in BEIRUT: fattouche

HUNGRY IN HARLEM Assignment 1. On a mission to find turkey bacon, Naked Juice, and soy milk, I traipsed through Harlem bodegas and markets looking for all three. Want to know your neighbourhood? Know your bodega. Say hello to Adel. He owns the bodega near my flat. I’m still waiting for Naked Juice.

FOOD IS THE NEW FASHION: I AM WHAT I EAT Food stands at the confluence of curiosity, sociality, and stricture. Consumption is guided by hunger and availability. How we consume food is influenced consciously and subconsciously by those who will take note. The rules we create or follow – from manners to disordered eating patterns – closes the triumvirate guiding my perception of food.


THE WALLS ARE TALKING TO ME … AND I SPOKE BACK Graffiti is a patina conversation adorning the city. My final project ‘Ask Ahmadinejad’ started out as a way to dialogue with the public, but it manifested into an unspoken desire to have a conversation on the walls of New York that I love so much. The same impetus guided my photography projects in Beirut.

ON STRICTURE. Graduate school is one of those funny places where words and ideas are communicable, like the flu on a swampy dormitory floor. Stricture is one such word. CITY AS LAB was the time and place to impede academia’s fetish of hyper-specialization, and begin to articulate the convergence of my three loves: food, architecture, and fashion. One of the meanings of stricture is “a restriction on a person or activity.” What you eat, when you eat, how you prepare it – these are all strictures. Some are beneficial for all, such as heating meat to a particular temperature to avoid food poisoning. Other strictures, such as abstaining from eating particular meats (or meat at all), or cutting it according to religious texts – those are strictures often grounded in a desire to adhere to tenets of a social group. The latter denotes both a belonging and a difference: “I am with you, and I am not with others.” If I posit that the city is a body, then architecture is its clothing. Cities, like human bodies, are imbued with parallel notions of stricture. Architecture and urban planning parcel a city, and the people within in it: She may sit here, he may not; they may make a home here, they may not; she belongs, she does not. In 1901 Georg Simmel wrote: “The whole history of society is reflected in the striking conflicts, the compromises, slowly won and quickly lost, between socialistic adaptation to society and individual departure from its demands.” Fashion, he argued, is the ever-negotiating tension between belonging and individuation. Fashion-style-dress is the embodiment of stricture. Every morning before I leave my flat, I look in the mirror and approve of or negate and alter the image I see. That is the way I exert my agency to non-verbally say I will participate in the multitude of social situations I am bound to encounter. I would imagine that you do too. Tables, bodies, and cities are the laboratories in which we see and set in motion stricture.


MANIEZHEH FIROUZI

BEIRUT: OPEN FOR CONSTRUCTION Before moving to Gemmayze, The Arab Image Foundation was headquartered in the Starco Building in downtown Beirut. Coffee breaks on the 10th floor balcony became live plastic surgery operations on the city’s body.

ARAB IMAGE FOUNDATION COMMUNICATIONS & RESEARCH CENTER INTERN I was at a party, and after the normal name pronunciation and history of its origin, I told someone I interned for the Arab Image Foundation. He looked flabbergasted. “Wow! The image of Arabs abroad is so bad they need a PR company to handle the bad press?!” Um … no. No. No. Not at all. La Fondation Arabe pour l’Image, or Arab Image Foundation (AIF) is a nonprofit organization that began in Beirut in 1997. The Foundation collects, preserves and studies photographs from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab Diaspora. The collection exceeds 300,000 photos, with collections from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Mexico, Argentina and Senegal. On any given day, my duties may change. One day I might be researching grants, another day writing a questionnaire to be used by the Research Center for visiting scholars, or working with Collection Management, organizing files of precious photos and slides used in book projects or exhibitions. My most recent project was curating an exhibit of photographs from public workshops George Awde (see tête-àtête WITH GEORGE AWDE) and Margot Becka (another AIF intern) facilitated in seven different parts of Lebanon, primarily along the various corniches. The workshops were a collaboration between AIF and ASSABIL, a non-governmental association founded in 1997 to establish and promote public libraries in Lebanon. In Autumn 2011 the exhibit will be traveling through various libraries in Lebanon. I adore my time at AIF, and the highlight unquestionably is handling the photographs. I have a notebook filled with lists of my favourite images, but if I had to pick a set that nears the top of my list, it’s Agop Kuyumjian’s (a.k.a. Photo Jack) photo surprise. Long before Bill Cunningham was a street photographer for the New York Times, or Garance Doré was style-blogging, photographers throughout the Middle East from the 1940s to 1960s were photographing pedestrians in urban centers. Though it was to woo new clients into their studios, the practice was especially popular in Lebanon. Some pedestrians would pose, others were oblivious, but once photographed, they were handed cards with the photographer’s studio address and contact information so they could order prints. If passersby came to the studio and liked their photo, they could buy it. It’s not as easy as typing in a URL, but the record it left behind is, as it were, much more genial.


HAVE YOU ORDERED YET? Part of my internship education was learning what places in Beirut were worth eating from. Like wearing sterile white cotton gloves to handle prints, lunch delivery was a requisite part of the day. The lack of lunch options near the Starco building necessitated ordering out if the heat and construction dust didn’t put off leaving the building first. Lunch was a communal time too. Above, a monthly treat: BBQ Bacon Burger from Classic Burger with a fried egg, fries, and Pepsi.

tête-à-tête WITH GEORGE AWDE The Boston-born, Lebanese photographer George Awde received his BFA in painting from Massachusetts College of Art in 2004. In 2009 he received his MFA from Yale University in Photography. During spring and summer 2011 he was at the Arab Image Foundation undertaking digital archiving, as well as organizing and running the large-format photography workshops in partnership with ASSABIL. Not only will his photos be on display at Drew University in September 2011, in March 2012 they will be part of an exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Before heading off to his Assistant Visiting Professor post at Rochester Institute of Technology, I caught up with one of the busiest men in Beirut over lunch at Caspar & Gambini’s in the Beirut Souks. More information about George, his photography, and upcoming shows can be found at http://georgeawde.com. Q: What do you admire about the Arab Image Foundation? GA: The Foundation's move towards more community outreach - the library, the research center, the workshops, and internships. Q: What is your favorite subject or topic to photograph? GA: Street life. Q: What's over photographed in Beirut? GA: Downtown Q: When is your favorite time of time to photograph around Beirut? GA: Before 6 a.m., because Beirut is transformed - the city becomes so quiet and calm. Q: What is your favorite Lebanese food? GA: sawdeh (chicken liver)


MANIEZHEH FIROUZI

MANIEZHEH LOVES ‘BEIRUT LOVES JAIPUR’ Think of it as a holiday within a holiday. Beirut Loves Jaipur, a 15-day pop-up store in the Beirut Souks. Photographed here are dresses by Noon, a socially responsible brand dedicated to the revival and modernization of traditional handicraft. Each piece was produced in collaboration with the artisans of Jaipur. For more information on Beirut Loves, and future ‘destinations’ visit www.beirutloves.com.

STARCH YOUR SUMMER The Starch Foundation, a non-profit organization that nurtures emerging Lebanese designers was founded by Rabih Kayrouz and Tala Hajjar in collaboration with Solidere. STARCH, the store, is situated in Saifi Village. Photographed above: a ring from the 2010 STARCH alum Ghita Abi Hanna. For more information visit http://starchfoundation.org.


“Quotation Marks” versus Capital Letters: Hipster versus Lebaneasy I once had a political science professor who said that political views should never be placed on spectrums. They should be placed on circles, because beliefs are cyclical. Even if one is on the far left, if you keep traveling left on a circle you will eventually begin traveling right. Revolutionaries all become reactionaries. The opposite sides of the same coin, in this respect, are the New York hipster and the Beiruti Lebaneasy. (Yes, there are hipsters in Beirut, but they appear more inconsequential in the narrative of the city compared to the Lebaneasy.) In trying to understand Lebanese fashion, the term ‘Lebaneasy’ came up often. So to make sense of Lebanese fashion, I have to make sense of the Lebaneasy. The hipster and the Lebaneasy are both at the same point on the same circle of privilege and entitlement in the st 21 century, traveling opposite directions. Apathy and Irony’s love child is the hipster. By appropriating brands and symbols of the working class, or of struggle – Pabst Blue Ribbon, Parliaments, keffiyehs – they become drained of meaning because they are not used out of economic necessity or in solidarity of a gross disenfranchisement, but because post-modernism allows for an aesthetic to trump the value of history. It says something about a culture, at least in a place like New York, when anti-status symbols become a status themselves. There is privilege in ignorance. There is privilege in being able to yearn for pain when one grows up with just enough class privilege to aspire to be or do what one truly wants. There is privilege in being able to laugh at the irony of it all. Hipsters live in air quotes. There are no quotation marks in Beirut. Capital letters, yes, but no air quotes. If the hipster is obsessed with the aesthetic of “nostalgia”, then the Lebaneasy worships the New. You can see it walking down the streets – the scar tissue of the civil war slowly being consumed by the construction of newer, bigger, better condominiums. Mercedes, Porsches, and Lamborghinis of Beirut are the pigeons, rats and purse puppies of New York. A New York hipster female will dress like a grandmother – how ironic, how postmodern that a young pretty thing would try to make herself look frumpy; a Lebaneasy female is a walking, talking Barbie doll in highend designer splendor. The hipster is self-flagellation. The Lebaneasy is plastic surgery. The hipster yearns to add depth to a boring ahistorical palette while the Lebaneasy is preening and photo-shopping away her character. Both are driven by self-consciousness: the hipster by a sheen of humility that masks the legacy of patriarchal capitalist imperialist white privilege that allowed him to live the life he has, the Lebaneasy by a sense of over-compensation for the embarrassment that he can dance at the best nightclub in the world but not have the ability to go home and drink water from the tap. In “Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization” (Adbusters #79, Sept. / Oct. 2008), Douglas Haddow writes: “[I]t is rare, if not impossible, to find an individual who will proclaim themself a proud hipster. It's an odd dance of selfidentity – adamantly denying your existence while wearing clearly defined symbols that proclaims it.” The Lebaneasy – decked out in all the accoutrements of Beiruti privilege in the V.V.I.P. section of the club – will deny he is one as well. Hipsters both revile and revel in the privilege of their anesthesia; to be a Lebaneasy is the privilege of having amnesia. If the hipster is searching for a history, then the Lebaneasy is running from it. Some people have theorized that the Lebaneasy is a direct product of the civil war: Things were never like this before, they lament. A friend and vehement critic of Sky Bar theorized that the Lebaneasy exists because people who had children during the war didn’t want them to dwell on the pain it caused, so to spoil the children and let them enjoy life would be better than having them dwell on it. Don’t look back, just move forward. Others think the need to show off through blatant branding of the self is just something people with a lot of money can afford to do, so they do it. Looking at the Lebaneasy and the hipster in 2011 makes me wonder about the trajectories of societies – is the excessiveness of the Lebaneasy something akin to the excess of the ‘Greed is Good’ 1980s New York? Would or could a Beiruti ever be so post-modern that he would be able to live in quotation marks? Or does this speak to larger questions of self-identity and cultural identity? This proclivity for the new and luxurious affects understandings of Lebanese fashion in three ways. First, fashion itself is viewed narrowly as the consumption of high-end labels. To be called fashionable is akin to being called a Lebaneasy depending on whom you speak to, and therefore insulted. Second, vintage clothing shopping (as it could be understood in New York or London) has not become as omnipresent; even when you find vintage, it’s still pristine and has the appearance of being brand new. There isn’t a dust or mustiness, or the thrill of rummaging to find that one special piece. (The exception to this was a weekend in Tripoli, going through used clothing near the souks.) Lastly, other sustainable fashion endeavors – e.g. labels that use socially responsible practices – aren’t as highly valued. In other words, the mentality regarding the latter becomes “Why spend X dollars on a socially responsible dress no one knows the name of when I can spend the same and get a brand name dress?” Name recognition is paramount. For the Lebaneasy it is the recognition of Luxury, for the hipster it is the “luxury” of the working class aesthetic. Quotation marks versus Capital Letters. Hipster versus Lebaneasy.


MEREDITH DANBERG-FICARELLI

meredithdf.tumblr.com

Milano the New School for Management and Urban Policy Concentration: Urban Policy and Sustainability Management Educational Background: University of Virginina, 2007: BA Anthropology, Studio Art Professional Background: Inhabitat.com: Swiss Army Knife Fair Factories Clearinghouse: Member Services Manager Adidas: Public Relations Assistant Favorite Food in NYC: Vanessa’s Dumplings / Pho Grand Favorite Food in BEIRUT: BBQ meat + tabbouleh

Project Image 7.5 x 5.5” 300 dpi

UMA ALI’S FRONT GARDEN Visit to see Mona’s garden: she cooked a traditonal Lebanese breakfast and we prepared “poor man’s” cheese.


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MOUNEH AT SOUK EL TAYEB Preserved foods- grown on farms and prepared in the kitchens of SET producers, splashing the market with color.

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IRONY, IT’S IN MY HAND There is space for evolution- this campaign to instill personal responsibility for one’s trash produced litter.

GUERILLA LEARNING I never thought I would learn from staging an urban intervention, nor did I ever imagine myself hawking free salad samples to wary passers-by in Union Square Park, NYC. New Yorkers are an interesting breed - passionately disinterested, and fiercely protective of rights and apathy. Participants looked at us with questioning glances, but the arugula, pear, and goat cheese lured 80 individuals of all ages and flavors into our Guerilla Salad taste test. Some people had fantastic taste buds and could immediately recognize which of the two identical salads was made from local farmers’ market ingredients, and which originated at the supermarket giant, Whole Foods. We gleaned that the majority of visitors want to support local farms even if they will never be able to taste the difference between day-old and 2-week old arugula. Visually recording everything I ate for 5 days made me realize how much I depend on snacks. And I also recognized the amount of waste generated from said snacks. Packaging has an afterlife, and many materials travel much farther after they are discarded than they do before they are purchased.


MEREDITH DANBERG-FICARELLI

Internship Image 7.5 x 5.5” 300 dpi

ALL SORTED OUT Tawlet staff already sorted glass from other waste, and adding organics sorting was a simple transition.

QUALITY ASSURANCE APPRENTICE, ZERO WASTE PROJECT MANAGER, RESEARCHER Souk el Tayeb (SET) is the oldest and largest weekly farmers market in Beirut. It opened in 2004 and has at its core a tightly-knit collective of Lebanese farmer/producers working to maintain local agricultural practices and culinary traditions. Tawlet, Souk el Tayeb’s restaurant, was opened in 2009 and serves as a platform to showcase the different producers and their villages’ unique cuisines. The Quality Assurance Manager at SET went on maternity leave one month after I started working, and in her absence I performed weekly quality checks at the farmers’ market and at Tawlet. Additionally, I organized a capacity building program on composting for producers, and conducted multiple site visits to farms. For my thesis project, I transformed Tawlet into a zero-waste establishment. I conducted a waste characterization, staff training sessions, and altered existing procedures to include the separation of organic waste from glass and other recyclable materials. An essential contributor to this pilot program was Cedar Environmental, an organization that has built numerous Municipal Recycling Facilities in Lebanon. A final project included 007-style spy photography of the Mar Michael train station, and research of best practices in the use of repurposed materials for construction. SET dreams of a permanent Souk, workspace, education center, and eco-community in this space.The EcoSouk will include a permanent structure for twice weekly farmers’ markets, SET’s office, a restaurant, a community garden, a youth education space, and a composting facility.


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TAWLET’S WASTE IS ALMOST 100% ORGANIC (95% TO BE EXACT) The average restaurant’s waste is 74% organic - a high proportion with tremendous potential for composting.

MUNICIPAL WASTE: LOVE AND BE LOVED Ziad AbiChaker is an Environmental and Industrial Engineer who designs, builds, and operates innovative recycling and composting facilities in Lebanon. A lover of all things discarded, Ziad likes to spend his free time listening to jazz on his iPod while collecting plastic from beaches. We conducted this interview over a bottle of San Pellegrino, whose green glass will be stored at a Cedar Environmental plant and eventually repurposed as raw material for a Lebanese glass-blowing artisan. Ziad was on break from devising a plan to simultaneously sabotage every waste compactor on the planet in order to increase the potential for municipal waste to be separated, repurposed, recycled, reused, and especially composted. MDF: What is your favorite part of getting your hands dirty in municipal waste? ZA: Knowing that I can make something useful of what everybody else sees as messy and useless. MDF: How can municipal waste treatment improve organic agriculture? ZA: One, by preserving the organic part of the waste without letting other foreign materials get entangled with it. Two, by applying a composting technology which ensures destruction of all pathogens and keep pollutants within organic agriculture norms. MDF: If Cedar Environmental’s organic fertilizer were pitted against a leading chemical fertilizer in an animal battle, what animal would each fertilizer be? ZA: Organic Fertilizer would be the horse, elegant, powerful, able to run for long stretches, useful in many life applications. Chemical Fertilizer: king cobra. It’s quick but poisonous. A killer. MDF: If garbage were a woman, what would you say to her? ZA: I KNOW you. You’ve been on my mind since forever. I UNDERSTAND you and your NEEDS. But you have to be patient, I will take care of you, no need for me to promise because you have awoken a passion in me I never knew existed. However, sometimes when I disappear for a while, it’s nothing against you. I still love you. I just need my space to be whatever else I am in this life. But be assured wherever I might be I always see you, feel you, think about you. You and I are going to be great partners.


MEREDITH DANBERG-FICARELLI

POTATOES AND MOUNTAINS AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE I left the Bekka Valley full of home-cooked food, carrying a ten-pound bag of potatoes - fresh from the red earth.

ONE TABLE FOR DINNER AND A SECOND FOR DESSERT I researched waste management and mastered eating. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve never eaten more in one sitting than I did at Al Halabi.


GROW, PREPARE, EAT, DISCARD. WHAT ABOUT DISCARD, REUSE, GROW? Rather than ending up in a landfill, Tawletâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s waste is now transported to a nearby facility where organic waste is converted into nutrient-rich compost and fertilizer, plastic and metal are recycled, and glass is either recycled or stored for future repurposing. The compost that Cedar Environmental produces from municipal organic waste is certified with and A+ rating by USEPA, EEC, and Canadian authorities, and farmers using the formula boast improved crop yields, earlier harvests, and above all, healthier soil. Top-rated organic fertilizers often sell for around $400/ton, but the compost made from organic municipal waste is nearly half that price. The gardens and farms I visited with SET employ tiers to maximize square footage, and producers combine multiple crops and trees in an organized fashion. Water is conserved when it trickles from one tier to the next, and herbs are planted in 1-meter-square depressions to contain water where it is most needed. The non-organic SET producers use minimal pesticides and mostly manure for fertilizer. However, producers are well aware of poor soil quality, and some know that decades of chemical fertilizers stripped the earth of nutrients that are essential for healthy plant development. Organic produce can be sold at a higher price than conventionally grown products, but many farmers cannot go organic because fertilizer is so expensive, and the certification process can take more than a year. By using freely available, local resources to produce nutrient-rich compost, the cost of the end product is drastically reduced. In the waste-as-resource model employed by municipal waste composting and recycling programs, landfills are nearly an archaic notion of the past. Cedar Environmentalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main obstacle in waste treatment are shoes, becasue the soles are so heavily processed. Cities and countries already have functioning examples of successful municipal composting and reuse programs. San Francisco runs a program for restaurant composting, and munipally contracted trucks haul waste from restaurant locations to composting facilities outside the city. Sweden converts waste from the logging insdustry into biofuel pellets that are used for energy, and tankers now carry pellets instead of oil to villages. Each waste treatment system must be catered to its location. Multiple restaurants in Beirut are interested in the Zero Waste pilot, and word is spreading about the positive environmental effects of small, low-cost programs. People today stand at multiple crossroads, and we must educate one another on the importance of helping future generations to survive on rapidly diminsihing natural resources. We should choose the road less traveled: waste is a resource.


SONIA BHAGAT soniainbeirut.tumblr.com Graduate Program in International Affairs Concentration: Media and Culture Educational Background: B.S. International Studies B.A. French & Francophone Studies Professional Background: Federal Policies Assistant, The Marijuana Policy Project English Teacher, Lille, France Favorite Food in NYC: Tacos Favorite Food in BEIRUT: Manouchet jibne

ROOFTOP HONEY From Berkshire Berries, an urban rooftop bee keeping business run by David Graves, one of the farmers I interviewed for my project.


ANDREW’S LOCAL HONEY Union Square Farmer’s Market in New York City 2011 Andrew’s Local Honey supplies New Yorkers with honey produced on rooftops, balconies and community gardens in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

DES MOYENS DE CONSERVATION DURABLES

City as Lab has inspired me to become more educated about food systems and sustainability. One project in particular, exposed me to the complexities that evolve from the idea of sustainable living. During an investigation of urban rooftop bee keeping and traditional country bee keeping in upstate New York, I discovered an interesting divide in the beekeeping industry. Proponents for rooftop beekeeping claim that it supports a local foods lifestyle, while proponents of farm beekeeping maintain that bees don’t belong in the city. One thing that became evident during the study was the fact that sustainability must be clearly defined. What we deem to be sustainable or “green” can sometimes have adverse effects on the environment. For example, one would assume that urban rooftop beekeeping is sustainable, but in fact it has become dangerous to the bee population. Rooftop beekeeping has started to starve and kill off the bees in Manhattan and has become a nuisance to local farmers at open-air markets. Furthermore, since the legalization of beekeeping in New York City, anyone can purchase bees, by the pound, without a license. This could prove to be quite hazardous if the people purchasing the bees do not know how to properly care for them. In a world where innovation is relied upon heavily as some kind of saving grace, we need to remember that with every new idea, comes a new set of problems. We have to learn how to become more critical of the things we are so quick to deem sustainable before assuming they are the best solutions to environmental dilemmas.


SONIA BHAGAT

BOURJ EL BARAJNEH CAMP Children are often forced to play in the streets and alleyways, as there is no designated space for them in the camps.

PALESTINIAN REFUGEE RESEARCH PROJECT â&#x20AC;&#x201C; LEAD INTERN I am a research intern for The Collective for Research and Training on Development â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Action (CRTD.A), a non-governmental organization based in Beirut, Lebanon. CRTD.A seeks to contribute to the social development of local communities and organizations through enhancing capacities particularly in gender analysis, gender and development, poverty and exclusion, for the purpose of contributing to creating a more just and equitable environment. As an intern, I conduct extensive research on the status of women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region while also administering interviews and writing reports and analyses on behalf of the organization. I also lead a project researching the relationship between Palestinian and Lebanese youth as well as issues of unemployment specifically for women. I am currently producing a literature review to provide recommendations for future interventions to improve the economic situation for refugees living in Lebanon. I am also finalizing a report on this topic based on extensive interviews of NGO leaders, youth and women from camps in Beirut and Tyre.


Fannie Essayie (left) Policy Officer

INTERNSHIP INTERVIEW Fanny Essayie : Policy Officer, Sustainable Economic Opportunities for Women, CRTD.A Q: Parlez-moi de vous. Que faisiezvous avant de venir au CRTD.A? FE: J’ai fait des études de science politiques en France, j’ai fini il y a 4 ans. La troisième année c’était un échange universitaire avec l’université Saint Joseph à Beyrouth. J’ai fait mon mémoire sur le sujet des refugiés Palestiniens au Liban. Après mon diplôme de sciences politiques, j’ai fait un master à Londres intitulé « Violence, Conflit, Développement ». J’ai fait mon mémoire sur la reconstruction du Liban après la guerre civile. Après j’ai travaillé pendant un an dans une association à Paris qui s’appelle l’Association France Palestine Solidarité. Ma seconde expérience c’est ici à CRTD.A. Q: Quelles sont vos missions au sein de CRTD.A? FE: Je travaille sur une initiative régionale s’appelle « Sustainable Economic Opportunities for Women ». Pour le moment c’est le lancement de cette initiative, qui consiste à contacter les associations dans les pays concernés par ces initiatives (Égypte, Jordanie et Maroc). Dans le but de trouver des pistes de travail en commun sur le thème des droits et participations économiques des femmes. Q: A quels défis devez-vous faire face? FE: Le plus grand défi c’est la langue arabe que je ne maitrise pas. Et aussi la communication avec des associations dans les autres pays par téléphone ou par mail, c’est très difficile. Je dois toujours relancer les gens pour obtenir une réponse aux questions. Q: Décrivez-moi votre expérience au Liban depuis votre arrivée. Envisagez-vous de rester pour une plus longue période? FE: Ma première expérience au Liban, c’était dans le cadre de mes études. J’ai choisi de faire un échange au Liban parce que je voulais être dans un pays arabophone. L’Université Saint Joseph ’est la seule université en correspondance avec le mienne en France. Donc ce n’était pas un choix très actif de ma part. Mais quand j’ai découvert le Liban, j’ai énormément apprécié le pays et les gens. Je pense rester jusqu’à la fin de mon contrat, je ne pense pas rester toute ma vie. Parce que la vie n’est pas facile quand même. J’ai des origines arabes. Mon père est d’origine iraquienne, il n’a jamais été en Iraq et c’est peutêtre aussi pour ça que je suis attachée au Liban. J’ai aussi de la famille à Beyrouth qui est exilée d’Iraq.


SONIA BHAGAT

WIRES OF THE CAMPS Wires hanging over the streets of Bourj el Barajneh refugee camp. Residents hang their clothes to dry on balconies that are in close proximity to electrical wires. This often results in the loss of power and in many cases, electrocution.


BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS: REFLECTIONS ON MY RESEARCH Through conducting research on the economic situation of Palestinians in Lebanon, I have been able to observe the various social and infrastructural difficulties that the residents of Shatila Camp encounter on a daily basis. Nearly 12,000 people are crammed into a rectangular few blocks. Because the space is limited, there is upward construction, although the infrastructure is so poorly designed that buildings would easily crumble during earthquakes or bombings. Alleyways are narrow and there is barely any natural light because of the closely built housing. Electrical wires hang very low, tangled in knots, some split open and torn. There are several wells, but the water is not safe to drink. There is power for only three hours per day. Despite these less than adequate living conditions, it was interesting to discover a very close-knit community. Shatila Camp is one of the most diverse camps in Lebanon. Because housing is affordable, Indian and Syrian immigrants and even Lebanese, all of different religions, backgrounds and ethnicities, fill the camps. A community exists that ironically remains to be seen in the rest of Beirut, where there continues to be religious and racial divides. Together they struggle to survive and to coexist in the camps. The economic situation for the refugees only adds insult to injury. Lebanese law forbids Palestinians to work in 72 different occupations. Despite this, I was surprised to learn that Palestinians still find jobs in the black market. Vocational programs will often train Palestinians in nursing, graphic design, administration, accounting, etc. Often the government will turn a blind eye to the illegal employment of Palestinians in fields like nursing, where there is currently a shortage in Lebanon. Despite this, discrimination is still evident, as owners and employers will often register Palestinian employees as janitors or maids to avoid being questioned by authorities. Furthermore, Palestinians are paid much less than the Lebanese for the same work. It is disheartening to see the conditions of the camps and the denial of basic human rights, but also eye-opening to the limitations of development, foreign aid, and the various agencies of the United Nations and other governmental organizations. Clearly their efforts do not provide sustainable solutions. The overarching problems stem from the fact that Palestinians do not have basic human rights, they are not permitted to work or to travel, or provide for themselves or their families. There is still hope that the youngest generation in Shatila and other camps will inspire others to fight for their rights and stand up for change.


5. BioData + Bios + Bibliography


BIOS PARTNERS Co-instructors Matthew Thomas and Adriana Young met in 2008 while riding the monorail of downtown Bangkok. Since then they conducted several urban design research and pedagogical collaborations around the themes of the suburbanization of the city, food, and how to retrofit a diamond mine. They choreographed a remote collaboration between their respetive studio courses at The New School in New York City and the American University of Beirut. Their complementary courses were the foundation for the inaugural cross-city, cross-disciplinary collaborative project, City as Lab. â&#x20AC;&#x153;City as Lab: Market Citiesâ&#x20AC;? was offered as an elective at The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs (GPIA) in the 2011 spring semester, and was a required preparatory course for participants of the International Field Program (IFP). The course and IFP were also open to students from Parsons The New School for Design and Milano The New School for Urban Policy. City as Lab was taught in collaboration with a vertical studio in the Department of Architecture and Design at the American University of Beirut.

The New School, New York City | newschool.edu

The New School, founded in 1919, is a legendary progressive university comprising eight schools bound by a common, unusual intent: to prepare and inspire its 10,510 undergraduate and graduate students to bring actual, positive change to the world.

The Graduate Program in International Affairs | gpia.info

The Graduate Program in International Affairs (GPIA) embodies the distinctive tradition of critical and engaged social thought of the New School. Faculty members combine practical experience in development work, the third sector, or in public advocacy with academic research that engages core problems of globalization and international affairs today.

The International Field Program | gpia.info/ifp

The International Field Program (IFP) provides practical field experiences through work with NGOs, international organizations, and government and local agencies, as well as a unique link between classroom curriculum and ongoing research in the world of practice. Students are placed in-country in an internship, where they also continue to explore specific questions and problems from a theoretical standpoint.

The American University of Beirut | aub.edu Department of Architecture and Design

Founded in 1866, the American University of Beirut bases its educational philosophy, standards, and practices on the American liberal arts model of higher education. The Department of Architecture and Design at the American University of Beirut has two undergraduate programs in Architecture and Graphic Design and two graduate programs in Urban Planning and Policy and Urban Design.


INTERNSHIP SITES For the summer IFP component, students are placed at eight-week internships with organizations working in the fields of local food and agriculture, environmental sustainability, arts and culture, urban development activism, and social entrepreneurship. 2011 internship sites included:

The Arab Image Foundation | fai.org.lb

The Arab Image Foundation is a non-profit organization established in Beirut in 1997. The Foundation’s mission is to collect, preserve and study photographs from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab diaspora. The Foundation’s expanding collection is generated through artist and scholar-led projects. The ongoing research and acquisition of photographs include so far Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Mexico, Argentina and Senegal. To date, the collection holds more than 300,000 photographs.

Collective for Research and Training on Development | crtda.org.lb

The Collective for Research and Training on Development-Action is a non-governmental organization that seeks to contribute to the social development of local communities and organizations through enhancing capacities particularly in gender analysis, gender and development, poverty and exclusion, for the purpose of contributing to creating a more just and equitable environment

IndyAct | indyact.org

IndyAct is about empowering individuals in their respective communities, making positive and effectual changes a way of life and the duty of every human. IndyAct searches the world for similar leading environmental, social and cultural activists to recruit as “League Members.” Then IndyAct provides these “Independent Activists” with any possible support they might require to achieve their objectives. In turn, League Members help strengthen the organization and push IndyAct further to be able to support more similar independent activists.

KARAJ Media Lab Beirut | karajbeirut.org

Karaj is Beirut’s first non-profit media lab for experimental arts, architecture and technology. As a unique transdisciplinary platform in the Middle East, Karaj will forge a community of DIY and opensource creators who will channel local frustrations into productive and creative experiences. Karaj will become an active node on an international network of labs, with a larger goal of advancing Lebanon and the Arab World as a region at the forefront of creativity, technological innovation, and democratic change.

Souk el Tayeb | soukeltayeb.com

Lebanon’s first farmers market of fresh, seasonal, traditional, natural and organic food products. A weekly market in Beirut, and other Lebanese regions, gathering small farmers and producers – true ‘earth and land lovers’ sharing a dream and concern of respect and responsibility towards earth and men, beyond any religion, confession, race and color.

UNDP Live Lebanon | livelebanon.net

LIVE LEBANON is about creating much-needed jobs, rebuilding destroyed markets, and allowing farms to develop and grow. It’s about providing safe drinking water, obtaining the best medical equipment, and making sure the elderly are well cared for. It’s about encouraging youngsters to fulfill their true potential, through sports, school and recreation.


BIBLIOGRAPHY Architecture for Humanity. 2006. Design Like You Give a Damn: architectural responses to humanitarian crises. New York: Metropolis Books. J.G. Ballard. 1990. War Fever. London: Collins. Bryan Bell and Katie Wakeford. 2008. Expanding Architecture Design as Activism. New York: Metropolis Books. Aaron Betsky, ed. 2008. Out There. Architecture Beyond Building. New York: Marsilio. Ole Bouman, ed. et. al. 2007. Volume / Al Manakh. Amsterdam: Archis. Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin. 2006. Chicago. Gottingen: SteidlMack. Jon Calame and Esther Ruth Charlesworth. 2009. Divided Cities: Belfast, Beirut, Jerusalem, Mostar and Nicosia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Michel de Certaeu. 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press. Annia Ciezadlo. 2011. Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love and War. New York: Free Press. Claire Cumberlidge and Lucy Musgrave. 2007. Design and Landscape for People. London: Thames and Hudson. Nan Ellin, ed. 1997. Architecture of Fear. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Christian Ernsten, et. al. 2010. Beyroutes: A Guide to Beirut. Amsterdam: Archis. Tory Foster, “Art is Change: Public Art as Means of Ecological Healing” in Projections: MIT Journal of Planning, Justice, Equity + Sustainability, Vol. 8, 2008. Anselm Franke eds. et. al. 2003. Territories Islands, Camps and Other States of Utopia. Cologne: Walter Koenig Publishing. David Harvey. “The Right to the City.” New Left Review. Vol. 53, October-September 2008.


Florian Hayden and Robert Temel eds. 2006. Temporary Urban Spaces: Concepts for the Use of City Spaces. Basel: Birkhauser. Paul Hirst. 2005. Space and power: politics, war and architecture. Cambridge: Polity. Rem Koolhaas etl. al. eds. 2007. The Architecture of Fear: Cities UnBuilt. VOLUME, Issue 11. Columbia University GSAPP: Archis. Kevin Lynch. 1960. The Image of the City. Cambridge: The MIT Press. Reinhold Martin and Kadambari Baxi. 2007. Multi-National City: architectural itineraries. Barcelona: Actar. Augustus Richard Norton. 2007. Hezbollah: A Short History. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Arjen Oosterman. 2011. The Architecture of Peace. VOLUME, Issue 26. Amsterdam: Archis. Rotor Manual for Air, Water and Land. 2009. Printed in Italy. www.rotorrr.org. Peter G. Rowe and Hashim Sarkis. 1998. Projecting Beirut: episodes in the construction and reconstruction of a modern city. Munich: Prestel. Hashim Sarkis, etl. al. 2006. Two squares: Martyrs Square, Beirut and Sirkeci Square, Istanbul. Cambridge: Harvard University, Graduate School of Design. Saskia Sassen. 2001. The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Rafi Segal and Eyal Weizman eds. 2003. A Civilian Occupation: The Politics of Israeli Architecture. London: Babel and Verso. Fadi Shayya. 2010. At the Edge of the City: Reinhabiting Public Space Toward the Recovery of Beirutâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Horsh Al-Sanawbar. Beirut: Discursive Formations. Carolyn Steel. 2009. Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives. London: Random House. Studio Beirut. 2006. Beyroutes: A Guide to Beirut. Amsterdam: Archis. J. Matthew Thomas. 2010. Yearbook: Lebanon; Current States of Sustainability 20092010. Taos: Studio Viga.


â&#x20AC;&#x153;A city is never in one place.â&#x20AC;? - Martin and Baxi (2007)


cityaslab..com


City as Lab ‘It was great to realize you can go out and do anything on your own . . . Just go to the street, do something in the middle of somewhere, see what happens and then try it again. It was really refreshing.’ - Adam Phillips, urban policy student

‘I learned to look at my research in a more interdisciplinary way, to network better and to learn from people from other backgrounds than the ones I’m normally exposed to. I also learned how to challenge systems and challenge myself.’ - Desiree LaVecchia, international affairs student

‘I probably learned the most of any course that I’ve taken just because it was the confluence of so many difference ideas, different explorations and different ways of viewing them all at the same time’ - Maniezheh Firouzi, fashion studies student

CITY AS LAB is part of the International Field Program of The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs. The course trains students from design and non-design backgrounds to explore how temporary interventions in the urban fabric can be a medium for effective civic participation, education and activism. CITY AS LAB 2011 engaged students, designers, artists, activists, and social entrepreneurs from Beirut and New York City to investigate the themes of food, housing and public space and how they shape the quality of our everyday lives. Many of their collaborative projects are in this book and many more live at cityaslab.com. CITY AS LAB was created in 2010-2011 by Adriana Valdez Young, Adjunct Professor at The New School’s Graduate Program in International Affairs in collaboration with Matthew Thomas, Visitng Professor at The Department of Architecture and Design at The American University of Beirut. Hurray!

cityaslab.com | 2011


City as Lab