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Saida USDS. Mediterranean Network for the Promotion of Urban Sustainable Development Strategies.

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Mediterranean Network for the Promotion of Urban Sustainable Development Strategies

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    1. Saida USDS Mediterranean Network for the Promotion of UrbanSustainableDevelopmentStrategies This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of USUDS Network and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union

    2. Saida’sHistory • Saida has always been a city of greatsignificance. The town’s relation with the Mediterranean Sea originates all the way back to its earlybeginnings. • It is one of the settlements on the Phoenician coast, founded by Sidun (Canaan’s son who is in turn Noah’s Son) is mentioned as far back as the book of Genesis in The Old Testament. • Its’ strategic geographic location on the east of the Mediterranean Sea contributed towards its development and trade relations with the world; making it an appealing target for a diverse string of occupiers. This historical legacy can still be seen to this day in Saida’s architecture and urban development.

    3. Saida’s History (Cont’d) • The 19th and 20th centuries marked the expansion of Saida’s urban growth outside the Old Medina (Old Saida) which remains homogenously separate from the modern city. • In the 20th century economic development and colonialism lead to the growth and establishment of a new city with large avenues and big buildings next to the Old Medina. Many moved out of Old Saida, making their homes in the new city and setting up new businesses that were difficult for the Old Medina to sustain. • The turbulent events of this period including wars, earthquakes, rural exodus and urban growth all contributed towards the Old Medina’s gradual degeneration and the creation of a gap between its ancient structure and modern necessities.

    4. MainChallengesFacing the City and its Strategic Planing • Demographic growth and socialchange today In 1900 it was a town of 10,000 inhabitants; in 2000 its population exceeded 200,000. The Metropolitan area of Saida consists of a union of 16 municipalities, officially recognized as the Union of Municipalities of Saida and Zahrani (UMSZ). In addition, UMSZ comprises also the three Palestinian camps of Saida: Ein el helweh (the biggest camp), Darb Essim and Mieh w Mieh (the smaller camps). The total Palestinian inhabitants in these camps is 105,000 persons versus 217,747 Lebanese inhabitants in the whole Union of Municipalities of Saida and Zahrani (UMSZ).

    5. MainChallengesFacing the City and the Strategic Plan (Cont’d) • Social Segregation and Poverty The majority of inhabitants in the old town are unskilled and have low–paid seasonal jobs (Household income range is $200-$666/month) indicating a monthly per capita of $33, accounting for around 62.50% of outstanding total. Women’s participation in labor force is minimal. Unemployment rate is at 15.20%. The areas of Taameer, Mieh w mieh and Darb el seem (Next to the Palestinian camps) draw a significant line of poverty and low standards of livelihood separating this area from the rest of the city

    6. Main Challenges Facing the City and the Strategic Plan (Cont’d) • Urban Degradation Saida and its suburbs suffer acutely from a constant deterioration of its urban fabric. The following observations apply to these areas: - Most buildings have structural problems - Lack of master plan to coordinate the overall development of the city • No single coordinating body supervising the execution of projects • The current renovated structures are like isolated islands within the urban fabric visually distinct • Absence of green areas, playgrounds, health clinics, schools and hotels is a major concern • The need of better and larger roads • Street lights remain practically non –existent in Saida old city core and the suburb Slums • Basic electrical, sewage and water network infrastructure is significantly poor in these Slums

    7. Main Challenges Facing the City and the Strategic Plan (Cont’d) • Marginalization & untapped facilities In the first half of the past century and until the beginnings of the Lebanese war, Saida assumed its role as the center for administrative, economic, cultural and health services activities. The civil war and its aftermath affected the Saida region dramatically, disrupting its role as a regional attraction pole and breaking down its organic interaction with the surrounding regions. In particular, where once Saida served as a major commercial, educational, manufacturing and communications hub in southern Lebanon, it has witnessed a decline in all of these activities, as surrounding areas have since established direct links towards the the country capital: Beirut.

    8. Main Challenges Facing the City and the Strategic Plan (Cont’d) • Environmental Degradation High density settlement, rapid growth, inadequate infrastructure services and high levels of industrial and transport emissions all contribute to a disastrous deterioration of the urban environment of Saida region. The major environmental problems can be grouped into three categories: • Ineffective management of resources • Improper planning and zoning • Lack of knowledge and awareness

    9. Main Challenges Facing the City and the Strategic Plan (Cont’d) • Environmental Degradation (Cont’d) Saida is facing serious environmental challenges with respect to: • Solid waste management • Water pollution • Air pollution • Lack of green areas and Parks • Climate change • Weak governance Mechanisms Governance in Saida faces several challenges, among which are: • Financial challenges ( Scarcity of financial resources) • Administrative challenges ( lack of specialized human resources)

    10. Objectives • The overall goal of Saida Sustainable Development Strategy (USDS) is to assist the UMSZ to develop a strategic development framework with the aim of achieving the following objectives: • Promote sustainable economic growth of Saida thru well structured projects acting as drivers for the USDS; hence encouraging further investments • Promote a consensus on city urban vision • Contribute to poverty alleviation and increase employment • Improve the city environment and climate change adaptation • Improve urban governance mechanism, management and technical capabilities • Preserving local heritage in the historical quarter • Provide natural spaces & activity parks • Building a comprehensive public transportation network

    11. Objectives (Cont’d) • Reduce air pollution and increase quality of air system through monitoring and evaluation • Creating an observatory for the UMSZ and disaster management system center • Implement a comprehensive risk reduction strategy and perform a risk assessment study • Develop a new tourism strategy thru regular annual festivals, renovation of historic sites, city museum, illumination of city landmarks, religious tourism, etc..) • Organize and improve the housing conditions of the slums in the suburbs • Develop the artisanal sector in the old town • Creating a significant vision of different urban variables and understanding their interrelations permitting identification of critical issues promoting the city identity