Final synthetic report of the National Physical Master Plan for Lebanon (SDATL)

Main report of the study commissioned by the CDR (Council for Development and Reconstruction) from a consortium including IAURIF, Dar Al Handasah and a group of Lebanese experts including the author who was in charge of the coordination of public policies and of the economy.

relief du Liban

During its preparation, this report was at the centre of a wide debate and the European Union allocated a budget for its diffusion. It has been mentioned in the programs of two Cabinets but has not yet been formally approved.

The report can be accessed on the official site of the CDR


Table of contents

Introduction: Basics of the land use master plan

1. Uncontested physical features

2. Challenges of the future

3. Basic choices

4. The perspectives of the national physical master plan

5. Principles of land use

6. The first implementation phase of the NPMPLT

Acknowledgements and Project team

The final synthesis report of the National Physical Master Plan for Lebanon relies on a large number of sectoral reports some of which have been written by the author and are available on the site:

  1. Macroeconomic framework (in French): presentation of the major equilibria of the Lebanese economy, its weaknesses and potentials from a regional and long term perspective.
  2. Reconstruction in Lebanon (in French): assessment of the policies of post-war reconstruction and determination of the responsibilities and potential roles of public intervention.
  3. Balanced development and the role of Beirut (in French): analysis of the socio-economic structure in Lebanon in spatial terms and in a regional perspective leading to the revision of the notion (that became constitutional) of “balanced development”.
  4. Actors and procedures of urban development in Lebanon (in French): presentation and analysis of the institutional and regulatory framework of urban development in Lebanon, its real practice as well as of their economic and spatial effects and stakes.

At the request of the CDR, a document was annexed to the synthesis report in order to reassess the practice of public investment programming in the light of the NPMPL.

This document is entitled: Plan Programme (in French)

 Link : on the official site of the Conuncil for Development and Reconstruction (CDR)


published 1 July 2007

Reconstruction of the Beirut Central District (1984-1986)


Synthesis document produced in the frame of the firm Oger-Liban in the beginning of 1986 on the reconstruction of Beirut Central District and kept confidential until now.

At that time, continuing the detailed studies and the field works had become impossible because of the deterioration of the security situation and the crumbling down of the state structure.

The document was produced to summarize and to preserve the amount of work produced by several teams of urban planners, architects, engineers and economists over more than three years so as to avoid their loss and the blurring of its main orientations.

The report presents the functional programming options for the Central District in relation with the idea of “recentering and reuniting the city”, it explicitly envisages for the first time the different legal structures available for the realization of designed objective and presents a detailed quantification and programming of the first phase as well as several scenarios for the further development.

Its reading is especially relevant in the perspective of comparing its programmatic and structuring proposals with what has become “Solidere”.

In French

Stakeholder Analysis and Social Assessment for the Proposed Cultural Heritage and Tourism Development Project

November 2001

Framing document prepared in collaboration with the urban planner Ms Maha Yahya and “Information International” for the CDR and the World bank, in view of implementing a loan from the WB to promote the cultural heritage of five cities in Lebanon (Tripoli, Jbeil, Saïda, Sour and Baalbeck).

The report assesses the socioeconomic situation in the concerned cities as well as their assets in terms of cultural tourism and related activities, giving special attention to the distribution of interests at stake and to the consequences of the different possible forms of intervention.

The document became the reference for the later stages of the project that is presently being implemented.

  1. Index (277 Ko)
  2. Executive Summary (195 Ko)
  3. Conceptual methodology (151 Ko)
  4. Tripoli (2.2 Mo)
  5. Sour (Tyre) (1.5 Mo)
  6. Baalbek (1.4 Mo)
  7. Jbeil (Byblos) (1.6 Mo)
  8. Saïda (Sidon) (1.8 Mo)
  9. Appendices (200 Ko)
published 3 November 2007

Programming and Assessment of the economic impact of the Cultural heritage Project in Jbeil-Byblos

April 2002

  1. Programming of intervention (140 Ko – in english)
  2. Economic impact assessment (100 Ko – in english)

Report written during the second phase of the Cultural Heritage Project, in association with AAA (Atelier d’Architectes Associés) for the CDR and the World Bank.

It includes the programming of the operation (that is presently being implemented) and the evaluation of its impact on the local community and economy.


published 3 November 2007

Comprehensive physical and socio-economic study of the region of upper Batroun

Tannourine and the neighbouring villages in the highlands of Mount-Lebanon


Because of the author’s implication in both projects and following the request of the General Directorate of Urban Planning, this work was the first local study that fits within the frame of the National Physical Master Plan for Lebanon (NPMPL) and constitutes therefore a typical example.

The concerned area has been proposed within the NPMPL as one major « Regional Natural Park » in the country.

Table of contents [68,5 Ko – in arabic]

1. Physical characteristics of the site [14,8 Mo – in arabic]

2. Land and buildings use [1,4 Mo – in arabic]

3. Situation of constructions and housing units [473 Ko – in arabic]

4. Demography, residency, emigration [293 Ko – in arabic]

5. Communications, public equipments and infrastructures [113 Ko – in arabic]

6. Economic situation [126 Ko – in arabic]

7. Institutional framework and social services [84 Ko – in arabic]

8. Archaeological, cultural and natural Sites, environment [100 Ko – in arabic]

9. Conclusions and planning alternatives [14,8 Mo – in arabic]

10. Annexes [213 Ko – in arabic]

In Arabic

The Socio-economic impact of replacing the commercial port in Sour by a fishing and touristic port

May 2005
The city of Sour, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, includes, since the civil war, an irregular commercial port. The study aims at assessing the benefits and costs of transforming this port so as to preserve and promote the cultural character of the city. The measures needed to mitigate the losses incurred by the affected categories are highlighted.

What future for the International fair and Tripoli ?

Reworking of a conference given at Safadi Foundation, in Tripoli, 15 December 2007, in commemoration of Oscar Niemeyer’s centenary
15 December 2007

The word « fair » refers to a heterogeneous array of commercial-political demonstrations, none of its still living forms seeming to fit with the present situation of the city of Tripoli. The urban site inherited from the fair and the need to develop and integrate the city for which the fair project has been designed are far more important than its merchant or symbolic functionality.

Tripoli is socially and urbanly in distress. It could not overcome the war traumas. It is internally dismembered and cut from its environment. The site of the fair is being manipulated to serve as a no-man’s-land in the territorial stakes and as a support for wheeler-dealer speculations.

By revisiting the initial concept of the project and by taking profit of the potentialities of the grandiose site, it is possible to find the support for a set of major structuring equipments that the NPMPL has planned for Tripoli, while keeping the door open for a wide range of activities that Niemeyer wished to welcome under the vast tent of the fair.


In French

Financing and Political Economy of Higher Education in Lebanon

Study sponsored by the Economic Research Forum
26 December 2009

The common approach to higher education in the MENA countries appears to be based on three assessments: 1) higher education provision is dominated by the public sector; 2) there is a major financing problem and 3) there is an increasing demand

On each of these points, the Lebanese case is different: 1) the private sector historically dominates the education sector; 2) financing of education in general and higher education in particular is exceptionally abundant and 3) no demographic increase is foreseeable: in 2025, the youth population is expected to decrease by -5 % . But the peculiarities of its history and present situation can be valuable in a comparative approach covering several Arab Countries since they shed light on specific factors, trends and options that might still be latent in other cases.

Lebanon is nevertheless facing severe challenges in the field of human capital formation and mobilization that go far beyond problems of financing:

  • In spite of the relative abundance of human and financial resources, growth outcomes are very poor;
  • Investment in human capital is probably excessive and is directly related in a circular causality to migration: the severe outflow of skilled migrants that prevents the domestic accumulation of human capital; and while skilled labor is attracted by emigration, unskilled Lebanese labour faces the competition of large numbers of temporary foreign workers;
  •  The Lebanese Government is unable to delineate a strategic vision for education in general and higher education in particular, resulting in the explosion of private higher education and diminishing means, quality and presence for the only public institution. This paper assesses the adequacy, efficiency and equity of higher education financing in Lebanon in both the public and private sector.

The conclusion discusses different approaches and strategies to remedy the challenges of higher education financing in Lebanon, acknowledging that higher education is far more a response to external stimuli than an exogenous lever or even an autonomous field of action.