Nabaa: resilient community?

As part of our strategy on Bringing Beirut River Back to Life and improving the living conditions of the communities, theOtherDada and UN-Habitat joined ACTED on a site visit in Nabaa, located at the edge of Bourj Hammoud neighborhood.


Nabaa’s deteriorated buildings and urban fabric

The area is densely populated and lacks the adequate infrastructure such as sewage, drainage system, proper domestic water distribution, proper streets and sidewalks. The broken pipes dump polluted waste water (grey and black water) directly on the sidewalk and the streets and the buildings have deteriorated with time to the point that they might collapse at any minute.

In spite of these poor living conditions, the community seems resilient capable of using any available resource to overcome their daily challenges.

  1. In one instance the shade of one tree is seen as an opportunity for the creation of a café. The people gather around a coffee van and the shade of a Ficus tree to catch up on some news and hide from the burning heat of the afternoon. The created informal space is acting as a social breathing space, enabling a diverse range of people to meet amidst the absence of proper public parks.
  2. Another example is the transformation of the space of a rooftop into an urban farm. The supposedly wasted area is turned into a productive growing space where the resident is growing his own vegetables, which makes him less dependent on external food supply. He is also involved in poultry farming where he invests his time breeding domestic pigeons and chickens for the purpose of farming meat or eggs for food. The space created adds greenery to the dull surrounding, increases shading and counters the unpleasant effect of urban heat island.

Trees create spaces for social cohesion



Urban Farming

If you are interested in this project, or want to get involved, do not hesitate in getting in touch! You can send us an email on


#theOtherDada #tOD #tODresearch #BeirutRiverLess #BringBeirutRiverBackToLife

#beirutRiver #sociallyengagedart #nabaa #communityEngagement #tODdisfiguredLandscapes


About tOD

Active since 2010, the architecture lab theOtherDada defends an alternative position towards the current practice of sustainability through exploration of the context and medium, invoking new relationships between climate, landscape, and inhabitants. Informed by our research into biomimicry, we aim to connect to the natural ecosystems of sites to understand and consequently devise new potential living habitats. theOtherDada works within a collaborative process between architects, scientists, botanists, artists, economists and craftsmen.

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