Bottom-up approach to sustainable urban development in Lebanon: The case of Zouk Mosbeh




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Peer reviewed



In contrast with the “top-down” approach to development, the dominant methodology in Lebanon, Iemphasize rather the “bottom-up” approach where all stakeholders have equal opportunities to participate in policy formulation and implementation. The bottom-up or participatory approach to sustainable development has hardly been tested for urban development and management in Lebanon. This research concerns the sustainable rehabilitation of the built environment in the area of Zouk Mosbeh (ZM) in Lebanon. This area of Lebanon as with most other parts of the country suffered extensive infrastructure damage and displacement of people during the civil war. Since the seizure of hostilities, ZM has witnessed unprecedented physical growth, inviting huge problems of unplanned urban growth, traffic congestion, solid wastes, and pollution. A triangulation method has been employed, which combines both semi-structured interviews and subjective surveys to enhance understanding of the sustainable urban planning and management of ZM. The results showed that top-down command and control measures, useful as these are, may not produce an effective sustainable urban ZM, but a bottom-up approach to urban management is needed. The participatory process where all stakeholders are involved in the policy and implementation process, would allow them to take ownership of the sustainable development process. The study is expected to yield some policy recommendations to promote sustainable rehabilitation of ZM in Lebanon, encouraging a collaborative approach to sustainable urban development. The research is likely to be of significance to the government of Lebanon, the Zouk Mosbeh local authority, and policy makers in developing countries.



Top-down approach, Participatory approach, Sustainability


EL-Asmar, J.P., Ebohon, J.and Taki, A.H. (2012) Bottom-up approach to sustainable urban development in Lebanon: The case of Zouk Mosbeh. Journal of Sustainable Cities and Society, 2 (1), pp. 37-44


Research Institute

Institute of Architecture