The impacts of income generating and socio-cultural self-organized activities on the physical environment in the historical center of Tripoli
This research is a case study of the impacts of income generating and socio-cultural self-organized activities on the physical environment in the historical center of Tripoli, the capital of North Lebanon district and the second largest city in Lebanon. The field of the study was chosen not only because of the significant value of the heritage in the city, but also because of the strong self-organization of income generating actors and the important emergence of socio-cultural initiatives that aim to protect and improve its buildings and public space. The objective of this research is to show the power of initially independent activities from the government in shaping the physical environments and the behaviour of different involved actors in old Tripoli. The main research question is: What are the impacts of income generating and socio-cultural self-organized activities on the physical environment in the historical center of Tripoli? The specific research questions are: What are the income generating activities and socio-cultural initiatives of self-organized groups that take place in historical buildings and public spaces of the historical center? Is there any collaboration between self-organized actors and the local government that aims to renovate the buildings and public space in the historical center? If yes, what kind of collaboration? What are the characteristics of dynamics created in the old center by the self-organized activities? How is the appropriation of the physical environment of the historical city happening by self-organized groups? How do those activities impact on the spatial configuration? And what are the generated social relations and behaviour created in the space of the historical city of Tripoli by the self-organized activities? The formulation of the conceptual framework was based on literatures on spatial complexity, self-organization and complex adaptive systems. Scholars focused on continuous interactions between self-organized activities and the physical environment within context of complex adaptive systems and they emphasized the role of space as an active urban agent and not only as the action container. The research investigated the impacts of these complex urban interactions taking place in the ancient heart of Tripoli. In order to measure them, this exploratory single holistic case study is based on the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data. The field work took place from 15 June to 11 July 2014 and the data was collected from primary sources including personal and participatory observations, surveys with residents, income generating actors and visitors, and semi-structured interviews with key-informants. The secondary data included documents provided by municipality and key-informants, policy documents, magazines, websites and social media. Triangulation was used to ensure the validity of the research. The results of the research showed that income-generating activities have positive impacts on the buildings and public space, but also negative impacts resulting from the adaptation of the actors to the absence of the local government and the lack of implementation of the laws. In The impacts of income generating and socio-cultural self-organized activities on the physical environment in the historical center of Tripoli ........................................................................................................................................................... iv the same time, they engender communication and social relations among the income generating actors, the income generating actors and the residents, and the income generating actors and the visitors. Moreover, these activities remain the main generator of physical dynamics in the historical center. On the other hand, the socio-cultural initiatives were able to improve the buildings and public spaces while creating new social behavior among the participants. However, the security situation and local conflicts affected the continuity of the self-organized activities and increased the complexity of the urban context. In conclusion, the appropriation of the space by self-organized activities renders non-linear and unpredictable changes in the physical environment along with a specific social behavior. The old center of Tripoli is an adaptive and complex system where self-organization generates continuous changes in the social and physical structure of the urban space.
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Alam, D. Al. (2014, September). The impacts of income generating and socio-cultural self-organized activities on the physical environment in the historical center of Tripoli. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/31029