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Popular housing and urban land tenure in the Middle East

  • Clerc, Valérie
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2012
Horizon / Pleins textes
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After the civil war (19751990), the Lebanese government adopted a new policy towards the informal settlements, which had sprawled in Beirut, especially in its southern suburbs, during the events. The Prime minister team entered in negotiations with the Shiite parties Amal and Hezbollah, who were dominating this part of the town. These negotiations resulted in a huge project of onsite resettlement of most of the 80,000 irregular inhabitants of this area. The elaboration of this project rest largely on legal practices, claims of rights and will of justice. Several representations of the irregular settlements and their inhabitants were present in minds and the project was conceived with different, indeed contradictory, conceptions and interpretations of law, justice and rights. Contradictions between these different conceptions led to a compromise project, difficult to be implemented and parts of which could be diversely interpreted. Eventually, the project hasn't be realised. Nevertheless, its existence had other effects. The agreement on the wording of a policy, in spite of its shadowy areas, created a common platform of ideas from which to cooperate, negotiate and manage deviations and contradictions from a point of agreement. It calmed tensions, confirmed the property rights, encouraging private investments in the southern suburbs, allowed the state to intervene in the area and, finally, defined rights for the inhabitants who cannot be anymore evicted without compensations or resettlement.

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