Throughout its history, the historic district of Saida’s identity, economy, and socio-cultural character have always been influenced by its relationship to the sea. Since the Israeli bombardment of the city in 1982 and the development of the coastal highway in 1996, the historic district has lost its direct connection to the seafront. Recent developments and rehabilitation projects on the eastern edge of the district have reactivated a number of important socio-economic nodes that accentuate this lost connection. These include the Sheikh Zayed Public Garden, the Bahr El Eid Revival project, Tawlet Souk El Tayyeb restaurant, Khan El Franj, the Fishermen’s port, and the cluster of popular coffee shops. However, these interventions remain scattered and disconnected from one another, preventing them from reaching their full potential. They need a strategy linking them together and unifying the historic seafront of the city.
Students participating in the GSAPP Columbia workshop proposed an integrated urban strategy that considers the city as an interconnected entity, and not necessarily as different separate competing sectors. If the city as a whole, including its people and environment, is resilient and healthy, then its tourism and economy will thrive.
1 - Sheikh Zayed Public Garden
2 - Tawlet Saida Restaurant
3 - Bahr El Eid Revival Site
4 - Khan El Franj
5 - Strip of Coffee Shops
6 - Fisherman’s Port
Sheikh Zayed Public Garden
Students’ recommendations were policy-based, programmatic or architectural, and were intentionally localized, aiming to organize and bolster local (formal and informal) economies, diffuse heavy vehicular traffic, hatch a strategy to restore and preserve the dilapidating the seafront historic urban fabric, and create a sense of stewardship of public and common spaces: a series of micro-interventions for a macro-impact. The micro-intervention, which requires only a small financial investment on the part of the city, is meant to produce a tangible impact that is immediately felt on the ground; Simultaneously, the cumulative micro-interventions would incrementally build a long term macro impact on the old city, re-integrating it with its urban environment and the sea.
Design and developed by Columbia Students - Rendered image developed by SNONO
The initiative is founded on a collaboration between Saida Observatory for Social Impact (SOSI), GSAPP, Municipality Of Saida and Touch