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200706 Meeting Minutes


Minutes of meeting - 20200706

Bloc’s Name: Public Spaces

Coordinator’s Name: Yasmine Dagher

Date: 6 of July 2020

Guest Speaker: None

Attending Members:

  • Mohammad Serhan

  • Jad Esseily

  • Krystel Medawar

  • Yasmine El-Majzoub

  • Yasmine Dagher

  • Marie Michele Hayek (Online)

Summary of Meeting Minutes:

The bloc discussed the idea of doing a barter system in a public space, in different communities. In order to do so, we need to know if it’s legal. Marie Michele then contacted a friend of hers that works in the municipality of Beirut (Pierre Feghali – in charge of Beirut’s gardens).

We will start sharing between each other articles that connect revolutions with public places.

We also talked about the Beirut Madinati project, on the Corniche waterfront. The project was proposed to the municipality a few years ago, and it is awaiting further development (https://www.lecommercedulevant.com/article/29115-rendre-la-mer-aux-beyrouthins-le-reve-de-quelques-urbanistes?fbclid=IwAR1gfib_Ung29cVKPMn8HBZrGlo1qNSgtv0YMIRfMUMkeNo7nMSW3FscccE)

We moved on to another idea talked about during the last meeting: Gardening (“Plant against Hunger”). We could start with places (not always gardens, could be an empty plot that belongs to the municipality), that are in between neighborhoods (like the Cola roundabout). We would just provide the know-how, as well as the spaces (after getting the municipality’s ok), and the community could come and plant fruits and vegetables that have a long life-span (cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, etc…). The Beirut Bloc is developing a project around the Cola area, we could use their research to define the place and different communities surrounding the roundabout.

Finally, we will set up a meeting with lawyer Nayla Geagea, in order to do a public talk, or webinar, and invite outsiders to the bloc to come and participate, and give idea. The webinar will also feature other guests.

Marie Michele’s call with Pierre Feghali:

We realized that there are no committee for the public places in Beirut. There is however, a committee in charge of Beirut’s gardens, presided by Gaby Ferneini (رئيس لجنة الحدائق العامة). Marie Michele’s contact, Pierre Feghali, is responsible of the public gardens (مسؤول عن الحدائق). Unfortunately, the situation of the gardens is getting worse. There used to be 300 employees in charge of the gardens (maintenance, security, landscape), until July 2019. They have been working with part-timers ever since.

Pierre Feghali would gladly meet at his office, with the Public Spaces bloc, in order to discuss the subject of gardens and how we could revive them.

Yasmine Dagher’s conclusion after the call:

In our economic situation, we could start by creating jobs in each community. Mr. Feghali is not against hiring new people (full-time or part-time). We need to see if there’s a budget in order to create new jobs, for those gardens. We can start by hiring locals, from each community, to look after each garden. We can also launch the gardening or barter projects once we have a contact within the communities.

Decisions and To Do Lists with Timeframe:

  • Recruit more members

  • Have a meeting with Nayla Geagea to know our rights regarding Public Places

  • Jad & Krystel will go to Nahr El Kaleb, as well as the municipality, to see if there are any available spaces we could use

  • Prepare a list of partners, for further collaborations (Public Works, Beirut Madinati, NAHNOO, Beirut Municipality, Habib Debs, AFD…)

  • Prepare a list of places we could start working on

  • Have a meeting with Pierre Feghali or Gaby Ferneini