توصيات مؤتمر الخطة الشاملة لترتيب الاراضي اللبنانية
الخميس 2 تشرين الثاني 2017
تهدف هذه الوثيقة القصيرة إلى تحديد الخطوط العريضة للتوصيات التي وضعت بعد الندوة التي عقدت في 25 ايلول 2017 متناولة موضوع الخطة الشاملة لترتيب الأراضي اللبنانية (مرسوم 2366/2009). ستعقبها ثلاثة مؤتمرات يُناقَش فيها بالتفصيل توصيات بشأن المواضيع التالية: النقل، الشاطئ اللبناني، والتطوّر العمراني.
الخطة الشاملة لترتيب الأراضي: انجازات ومكامن نقص:
إن الخطة الشاملة هي أول وثيقة معتمدة لتنظيم الأراضي واستعمالاتها على الصعيد الوطني وتوفّر فرصة مميّزة لتصوّر، تنظيم وتخطيط الأراضي اللبنانية خارج الاطار الضيق للتقسيمات الادارية او الطائفية للمناطق، اوغيرها من الحدود. تُظهّر الخطة الشاملة المميّزات والاستعمالات المفترضة للمناطق على صعيد اقليمي وتسعى الى ربط كافة المناطق ببعضها بناءً على عناصر التكامل فيما بينها. من ابرز تحدّيات الخطة الشاملة هو تظهير ودعم المزايا التنافسية للمناطق نحو الازدهار، تحقيق التوازن بين الانماء الساحلي والداخلي، وتأمين الأبعاد الثقافية والاجتماعية والاقتصادية للمدن الكبرى، فتصبح قادرةً بذلك أن تتخطّى منطق أن "الانماء المتوازن هو الصرف المتساوي" الذي ربط خُطط الانفاق بانماء المناطق حسب الحدود الطائفية لعقود عدّة.
نجحت الخطة الشاملة في حماية الثروة البيئية الوطنية والموارد الطبيعية التي لها قيمة عالية في الأمان الغذائي، التطور الاقتصادي والتنمية الوطنية بشكل عام. وهي تؤمّن الأرضية القانونية للمخططات التفصيلية المستقبلية لكي يُفرض من خلالها ضوابط أشدّ على التطوّر العمراني، الامر الذي يُعتبر اولوية وطنية في السياق الحالي للانتشار العمراني غير الملجم والواسع النطاق.
من خلال تجميع التحدّيات الهامة من سكن الى نقل وصحة وفرص عمل وترفيه وثقافة ضمن اطار واحد يُعنى بتنظيم المجال، تؤمن الخطة رابطاً بين مسؤوليات تُوزّع عادةً بين ادارات عامة متعدّدة محلية او وطنية. بالتالي، تفسح الخطة الشاملة المجال لقراءة مترابطة لهذه القضايا مع امكانية طرح حلول متكاملة في وقت هناك فصل حاد بين ادارة الأراضي والسكان والموارد المالية في الوزارات والمؤسسات العامة المعنية مع صعوبة في التنسيق.
ثلاثة تحدّيات مباشرة تهدّد شرعية وفعالية الخطة الشاملة كأداة تخطيط: الحاجة إلى تحديث عاجل للخطة في ضوء التحولات الكبيرة غير المتوقعة التي اجتاحت البلد في العقد الماضي، الحاجة الى استراتيجية تخطيط اوسع تتضمن ادوات اضافية للتنظيم، والحاجة إلى توضيح توزيع المسؤوليات في تنفيذ الخطة.
تدابير مؤسسية وإدارية وضريبية
1- تبنّي وترويج الخطة الشاملة على انها الاطار المتماسك لتنظيم المجال لكل المشاريع الانمائية عبر كل الوزارات وتحديد من سينفّذها.
2- تنظيم ادارة الأراضي اللبنانية من خلال هيئات تنسيق ادارية جديدة تدير المجال بمقاربة متعدّدة القطاعات.
جعل الخطة الشاملة قابلة للتطبيق من خلال ادوات تنظيمية وقانونية
أولا- تطوير وتحسين التصاميم التوجيهية المحلية
1- تمكين المديرية العامة للتنظيم المدني ان تتّخذ دورا استباقيا لضمان اعادة النظر بالتصاميم التوجيهية المحلية الموجودة حاليا وتطوير تصاميم جديدة مع تخصيص الموارد المالية اللازمة. ضمن المناطق التي هي بحاجة ماسة الى مخططات، ينبغي ان تُعطى الاولوية للمناطق التالية:
أ- المدن الثانوية ("مدن التوازن" مثل زحله-شتورا، النبطية، صيدا وجبيل)
ب- المناطق التي لها تصاميم لا تتطابق مع الخطة الشاملة.
ج- المناطق غير المنظمة ذات القيمة البيئية.
د- المناطق البيئية الحساسة بدرجة عالية (مثلا شاطئ انفه وشاطئ شكا)
ه- المناطق التي تحتاج بديل عن الانتشار العمراني الطولي على الطرقات الرئيسية (مثل طريق زحله- بعلبك)
2- تصديق كل التصاميم التوجيهية من خلال مراسيم وزارية كما هو مفروض قانوناً ووضع حد ّللضغوطات المستمرّة على المجلس الاعلى للتنظيم المدني بهدف تمرير الاستثناءات وزيادة عوامل الاستثمار...
3- فرض دراسة للاثر البيئي ودراسة للجدوى الاقتصادية قبل الموافقة على التصاميم التوجيهية المحلية او على مشاريع القطاع العام الكبرى كما هو اصلاُ وارد في القانون، وضمان توافقها مع الخطة الشاملة من خلال دراسة الأثر البيئي وتأمين تمويل تنفيذ هذه الدراسات.
4- ضبط الانتشار العمراني وتحديد مناطق مخصصة لتوجيه العمران والمشاريع. تساهم التوصيات التالية جدّيا في تأمين بيئة حضرية اكثر تناسقا.
أ- يجب على التصاميم التوجيهية المحلية ان تضع مبادئ لتطوير شبكات التنقّل وخاصة الطرقات الرئيسية ضمن رؤية تسمح بتوجيه وضبط انتشار المباني في مناطق محددة.
ب- الادارات العامة يجب ان تتدخل بشكل استباقي في توجيه أنشطة البناء من خلال مشاريع الضم والفرز تُجرى بعد فهم شامل ومتكامل للمنطقة.
ج- يجب دراسة وتصميم وضبط مشاريع الطرق بدقة كونها المحرّك الرئيسي للنشاط العمراني.
ثانيا - تطوير تصاميم توجيهية على نطاق المدن الكبرى
وفّرت الخطة الشاملة المبادئ التوجيهية للتطور العمراني للمدن الكبرى التالية: بيروت، صيدا، بعلبك، ، صور وزحلة.
ثالثاً - أطر قانونية للحركة العمرانية في مناطق محدّدة
الى جانب التصاميم التوجيهية المحلية والاقليمية، من الضروري تطبيق الخطة الشاملة لوضع احكام تنفيذية تحمي مناطق مخصّصة لها طابع موحّد وتمرير قانون المناطق المحمية. المناطق الخاصة ذات الطابع الموحّد يمكن ان تأخذ عدّة اشكال، الحالات الابدى والاوضح هي: الشاطئ والمجاري المائية، الجبال، الاحياء التاريخية ومناطق الطرق السريعة والطرق الرئيسية.
تحديث البيانات وتحسين الوصول الى المعلومات التي تم جمعها للخطة الشاملة
1- استكمال جمع البيانات وتحديث المعلومات
2- جعل البيانات متاحة
Conference on the National Strategic Plan of Lebanon
The National Master Plan: Achievements and Shortcomings
The NMP is the first adopted planning document and offers a unique opportunity to conceptualize, organize, and plan the Lebanese territories outside of the confines of narrow administrative districts, sectarian territorial divisions, and other boundaries. This integrated spatial plan emphasizes instead regional comparative advantages, vocations, and assets and looks to connect them through establishing complementary relations across areas. Stepping hence from the practice of a so-called “balanced growth as balanced spending” paradigm that has pegged the development of sectarian territories to parallel spending schemes for several decades, the NMP’s challenge was to allow for competitive regional advantages to thrive, for balancing between coastal and internal development, and for providing each of the large urban agglomerations with a cultural, social and economic edge
The NMP has also succeeded in the protection of national ecological wealth and natural resources pointing out the value of these resources for food security, economic growth and more generally national development. Its zoning nonetheless provides the legal grounds for future detailed master plans to impose more severe control on building development, a national priority in the current context of widespread sprawl and unbridled construction.
Integrating the critical challenges of housing, transport, health, work, leisure, and cultural protection within the same spatial frame, the NMP allows for a holistic reading of national development challenges and their solutions at a time when the management of land, people and financial resources is severely dissected across ministries and public authorities with limited coordination capabilities
Three immediate challenges threaten the validity and effectiveness of the NMP: the need of an urgent update in light of the unexpected major transformations that struck the country in the past decade, the need of a larger planning strategy that includes additional planning tools and the need of a further clarification of responsibilities’ distribution in the implementation of the NMP
INSTITUTIONAL, ADMINISTRATIVE AND TAX MEASURES
1. Adopt and promote the NMP as the spatial coherency framework for all developmental projects across ministerial agencies and agree on a champion for its implementation
2. Organize the national management of territories with new administrative and coordinative bodies that manage spaces with an inter-sectoral approach
MAKING THE NMP APPLICABLE THROUGH LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY MEASURES
A – Develop and improve local land-use plans
1. Enable the DGU to adopt a proactive role to secure the revision of existing local land-use plans and the development of new ones. Among the areas where land-use plans are urgently needed, priority should be given to:
a. Satellite cities (e.g. Zahleh-Chtaura, Nabatieh, Saida and Jbeil).
b. Areas where local master plans are not in conformity with the NMP.
c. Zones of ecological value where development is not currently regulated by a land-use plan.
d. Highly sensitive biosphere areas (e.g. Chekka-Enfeh seashores)
e. Areas where an alternative to linear urbanization along primary roads must be organized (e.g. Zahleh-Baalbek road)
2. Validate all land use plans through a decree from the Council of Ministers as legally mandated to put a halt to the continuous pressures exerted on the DGU’s Higher Council to pass exemptions.
3. Require a mandatorily strategic environmental assessment study (SEA) and an economic feasibility study prior to approving any local land-use plan or large-scale public project, as legally mandated, secure compliance to the NMP through the SEA, and allocate funding for the implementation of these studies.
4. Control building sprawl and allocate areas to channel construction activities and development. The following recommendations can substantially help to provide more coherent urban environments:
a. Local land-use plan should develop guidelines for the development of mobility networks within a vision of orienting and containing the expansion of construction activities in earmarked areas.
b. Public agencies should intervene pro-actively in orienting construction activities through land pooling and subdivision projects (Dammwa Farz) to be conducted within a holistic and integrative understanding of the area.
c. Introduce policies and guidelines for municipalities and/or other authorities guiding their investments, particularly in relation to roads development.
B – Develop Master-Plans at the Scale of Larger agglomerations
The NMP has already provided guiding principles for orienting the development of the large urban agglomerations of Beirut, Tripoli, Saida, Baalbeck, Nabatieh, Sour and Zahle.
C – “Loi-Cadre” or Framework lawsfor construction activities in Special Zones
Aside from local and regional land-use plans, it is imperative for a successful implementation of the NMP to articulate regulatory provisions targeting special zones of common character and pass a Protected Areas Act defining categories of protected zones. Special Zones of Common Character can take many forms. The most obvious and urgent cases are coast and watercourses, mountains, historic neighborhoods and highway zones.
UPDATING INFORMATION / IMPROVING ACCESS TO THE DATA COLLECTED IN THE NMP
1- Completing Data Gathering, Updating information
2- Making data accessible
In an effort to strengthen the role of the Order of Engineers and Architects (OEA) as a platform where issues of national importance at the intersection of the public good and the various professions of engineering are regarded, and in recognition of the responsibilities that architects and engineers carry towards the organization of the national territory at multiple scales and circumstances, the Scientific Committee at the OEA is organizing this Fall/Winter 2017-18 a series of conferences that take up the timely topic of the National Master Plan (NMP) (decree 2366/2009). This short document aims to outline the recommendations developed after the first conference (held on Sept. 25, 2017). It will be followed by three additional conferences that will articulate in depth further recommendations about mobility, the national coast, and urbanization processes.
The National Master Plan: Achievements and Shortcomings
Three main reasons motivated conference organizers and participants (including elected officials, appointed public sector agents, and members of the audience) to consider the development and adoption of the NMP as a critical achievement for the planning of national territories, and, more generally, Lebanon’s development and the wellbeing of its populations.
First, several participants identified the NMP as being the first adopted planning document to ever organize land use and planning at the national scale. While efforts havebeen conducted during the Chehab era to reach this goal, most notably through Mission IRFED, the actual adoption of a national development scheme was never successful. As a result, the NMP offers a unique opportunity to conceptualize, organize, and plan the Lebanese territoriesoutside of the confines of narrow administrative districts, sectarian territorial divisions, and other boundaries. This integrated spatial plan emphasizes instead regional comparative advantages, vocations, and assets and looks to connect them through establishing complementary relations across areas. Stepping hence from the practice of a so-called “balanced growth as balanced spending” paradigm that has pegged the development of sectarian territories to parallel spending schemes for several decades, the NMP’s challenge was to allow for competitive regional advantages to thrive, for balancing between coastal and internal development, and for providing each of the large urban agglomerations with a cultural, social and economic edge.
Second, advocates for the implementation of the NMP highlighted its critical achievements in the protection of national ecological wealth and natural resources (e.g. natural water reservoirs, forests, agricultural lands), pointing out the value of these resources for food security, economic growth (including the critical sector of tourism but also the agricultural; sector), and more generally national development. The NMP further highlighted the importance of distinguishing among protected areas, paving hence the way for a more nuanced zoning of the national territory. It also sought toreduce construction ratios in areas that are outside regulated zones, without succeeding in fully eliminating them. Its zoning nonetheless provides the legal grounds for future detailed master plans to impose more severe control onbuilding development, a national priority in the current context of widespread sprawl and unbridled construction.
Third, speakers pointed outthe valuable inputs of the NMP in integrating national development challenges and their solutions at a time when the management of land, people and financial resourcesis severely dissected across ministries and public authorities with limitedcoordination capabilities. Assemblingthe critical challenges of housing, transport, health, work, leisure, and cultural protection within the same spatial frame, the NMP connectsresponsibilities typically distributed to multiple administrations and public agencies of local and national elected authorities. It hence allows for a holisticreading of these issues and opens the way for possible integrated solutions.
Yet, the OEA presentations recognized three immediate challenges that threaten the validity of this planning tool and the effectiveness of its deployment.
First, speakers argued for an urgent update of the NMP in light of the unexpected major transformations that struck the country in the past decade. The most critical among these challenges are concerns about population spikes in light of the outbreak of the Syrian refugee crisis and its impacts on demographic projections and construction activities. To note but a few of these challenges, speakers described the emergence of new agglomerations in zones considered “rural” and “low density” along the Lebanese-Syrian borders and showed that population projects for 2030 were already surpassed.
Second, speakers insisted that the NMP is only effective if framedwithin a larger planning strategy that includes additional planning tools. As such, it is imperative to place the NMP in the context of the larger planning framework in which it needs to be implemented and understand it as being one of many planning tools that need to be deployed in sync in order to reach the desired goals. For example, property taxation and the revision of the national financial policies that hijack the role of land to become a currency stabilizer are imperative prerequisites to the possibility of territorial management in order to restore to land its value as a natural, social and economic resource that provides the ground for a national developmental strategy.
Third, speakers insisted that further clarification of the responsibilities’ distribution in the implementation of the NMP isneeded, particularly in identifying the champions to lead the development and implementation of the plan, the articulation of its application steps, and the analysis of the hurdles that hindered its application.
The below recommendations build on the immediate implementation priorities steps as they were defined in 2005. They nonetheless depart from these steps to account for transformations of the national territory and experiences accumulated since then, as they were relayed in the OEA conference. These recommendations seek to specifically highlight the responsibilities of the various public agencies involved in the implementation steps, including the CDR, DGU, local authorities, public agencies, ministries and others.
INSTITUTIONAL, ADMINISTRATIVE AND TAX MEASURES
1 –Adopt and promote the NMP as the spatial coherency framework for all developmental projects across ministerial agencies and agree on a champion forits implementation:
The spatial nature of the NMP makes it more solid to act as the integrative framework where all developmental decisions across ministries and public administrations are coordinated. This should lead to the alignment of environmental policies and projects, local and regional land-use plans, land pooling and subdivision projects, road development, locating industrial and tourism zones, landfills and/or waste management projects, as well as large scale energy and water infrastructure.
To this end, there is a need to re-define a champion for the NMP: The NMP has a clear scope and target, an implementation body, but no active champion. Furthermore, there is no timeline for its implementation, which is almost entirely allocated to an ad-hoc committee chaired by the Higher Council of the DGU. Conversely, the Higher Council has little implementation capabilities, no coordination mechanisms with ministries, and remains highly vulnerable to pressures from multiple private interests. Moreover, the CDR which first commissioned the NMP and championed its development is cornered in the difficult position of simultaneously having to develop the vision and fundraise and implementprojects. It hence runs the risk of allowing the availabilityof resources or lack thereof to dictate planning policies and projects.
An independent administration (Higher Council of Planning (HCP))can also be set up within or aside from the CDR. Its role would be to anticipate future challenges and transformations in the country and plan accordingly orchestrating a national dialogue to set policies and strategies.
This HCP could act as a champion, provided it addresses possible conflicts over jurisdictions and authority with the CDR, the Ministry of Public Works, and other public agencies. It is hence recommended that the HCPengages the CDR and the DGU in revising the protocol of implementation of the NMP and that it plays a proactive role in the setting of an implementation timeline. As such, the HCP could be the custodian of the vision and the champion that develops its implementation framework.
2 - Organize the national administration/management of territories with new administrative and coordinative bodiesthat manage spaces with aninter-sectoral approach
The territorial analysis of the NMP brings to the fore the urgency of developing new administrative and coordinating bodies designed to organize spaces along their natural boundaries as urban agglomerations and/or rural zones, protected areas, and more. Perhaps the most urgent of those is the establishment of an urban administrative authority for greater Beirut (Identified by the NMP from Maameltein to Damour) but also, and more generally, the establishment of urban authorities to manage the six identified urban agglomerations through integrated, inter-sectoral development agendas.
A regional authority will be able to develop viable strategic plans that bridge across sectors (e.g. housing, transport, development and/orpublic space) in ways that are impossible to manage at the scale of current municipal authorities. Such an authority would also be more effective in the management of building sprawl and the orientation of constructionactivities by coordinating and facilitating the provision of land for construction, containing and coordinating the development of roads along a clear urbanization plan, protecting natural resources and terrains, and maximizing efficiency and sustainability in the organization of land uses. These authorities will furthermore devise policies and manage services more effectively at the regional scale through integrated transport, housing policies, waste management, green areas, and more, all operating at the scale of larger urban agglomerations.
As noted in the introduction, these authorities will evidently need to complement the land-use regulations proposed by the NMP with other planning interventions and tools (e.g. facilities and incentives, taxation). Their role would be furthermore strengthened if they are supported to introduce appropriate taxes (particularly property taxes) that would finance their role in directly intervening on large scale agglomerations with projects such as land pooling and subdivision (damm wa farz) and/or finance infrastructure and shared facilities to support a coherent urban development.
MAKING THE NMP APPLICABLE THROUGH LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY MEASURES
A - Develop and improve local land-use plans:
It is crucial to develop and adopt new local land-use plans and to revise existing ones in order to translate the measures adopted in the NPM into effective and applicable regulations. Indeed, and as defined by the Urban Planning Law (Loi de l’Urbanisme), the NMP is a necessary but insufficient framework and its zoning regulations need to be translated into land use plans. To be effective, land-use plans need however to be immune to land speculation and speculators, in a context where the real estate value of land as financial property has fueled a substantial resistance to development controls. Consequently, administrative and social practices have been unable to resist development pressures, a situation that may be countered and perhaps substantially improved if some of the following measures are adopted to enhance the effectiveness of land-use controls.
Enable the DGU to adopt a proactive role to secure the revision of existing local land-use plans and the development of new ones by allocating the necessary financial means for that. Among the areas where land-use plans are urgently needed, priority should be given to:
Satellite cities (“Metropoles d’Equilibre”such as Zahleh-Chtaura, Nabatieh, Saida and Jbeil), all cities identified as capable ofbalancing the development of Greater Beirut agglomeration by providinga more structured alternative solution to the uniform urban sprawl of Greater Beirut suburbs.
Areas where local master plans are not in conformity with the NMP, in particular those where the gaps between the two documents are the most important.
Zones of ecological value where development is not currently regulated by a land-use plan, notably high mountains and the cedars’ corridor, proposed regional parks, remote seashore areas where the construction of one inappropriate building can ruin an entire landscape. Since real estate pressuresare typically limited in these areas, it is possible to impose protections with little resistance from land owners.
Highly sensitive biosphere areas (e.g. Chekka-Enfeh seashores)
Areas where an alternative to linear urbanization along primary roads must be organized (e.g.Zahleh-Baalbek road)
Validate all land use plans through a decree from the Council of Ministers as legally mandated to put a halt to the continuous pressures exerted on the DGU’s Higher Council to pass exemptions and allow density increases in protected forests, cultural heritage sites, natural sites, river banks, seashore, and other sensitive zones. This will counter the practice established in recent years for local land-use plans to be only approved by the DGU’s Higher Council, a practice that has facilitated ad-hoc revisions and individual changes outside a holistic understanding of the areas being regulated. Reverting to the text of the law and requiring the approval of the Council of Ministers is expected hence to reduce pressures on the DGU’s Higher Council and preserve the integrity and cohesion of land-use plans.
Require a mandatorily strategic environmental assessment study (SEA) prior to approving any local land-use plan, as legally mandated, secure compliance to the NMP through the SEA, and allocate funding for the implementation of these studies. As a reminder, the 2002 Environment law and the two decrees that resulted from it in 2012 applied the EIA to private sector projects and the SEA to public policies, programs and projects, including local land-use plans (TasamimTawjihiyyah) and (private and public) land pooling and subdivision projects (Damm wa Farz). The requirement of the SEA decree remains nonetheless at the discretion of public agencies that rarely apply it, perhaps due to the lack of funds. As such, the allocation of the corresponding financial means to the DGU or the MoE is critical.
Require a mandatory economicfeasibility study and strategic environmental assessment study (SEA) prior to approving any large-scale public project, particularly roads development, and secure their alignment with the goals of the NMP. Large scale infrastructure projects, particularly roads development, are the main drivers of construction activity in Lebanon. These large-scale projects are typically developed to respond to a donor’s agenda and to the demands of local actors’political ends and pressures (primary roads creation/enlargement is a profitable activity allowing the local redistribution of public financial resources to local contractors, expropriated land owners and quarry owners). These roads are often impossible to validate along economic or social rationales that would justify the allocation of funds or the destruction of natural landscapes where they are developed. As such, it is highly recommended that roads development is subjected to economic feasibility studies and to environmental impact studies (SEA) and that it aligns with the goals and regulations of the NMP.
Control building sprawl and allocate areas to channel constructionactivities and development. In Lebanon, construction activities are typically led by private development initiatives without coordination across land subdivision plans, development activities, zoning, land use, and more. In the absence of a coherent vision at the urban scale, the role of public planning agencies and local authorities in guiding construction activities is limited to securing compliance of landsubdivision requests (ifrazat)to zoning laws and building regulations. In most cases, road and street networksare a result of the sum of individual decisions without any integration, road hierarchy schemes, or vision for urban mobility. The following recommendations can substantially help to provide more coherent urban environments:
Local land-use plan should develop guidelinesfor the development of mobility networks, particularly main roads, within a vision of orienting and containing the expansion of construction activities in earmarked areas. The road network extension should be defined at the local master plan level as it was common before (“Al marhala al thalissah” of the DGU master plan study). Planning regulations can also be revised towards Transit Oriented development (TOD) within a framework of integrating land use and transport plans(providing higher densities where public transport systems are available or planned) and advocating a multimodal approach.
Public agencies should intervene pro-actively in orienting construction activities through land pooling and subdivision projects (Dammwa Farz). Following the examples of the municipalities of Tripoli and Saida that succeeded in orienting growth and better organizing their urban extension through the use of land subdivision projects that channeled construction activities towards specific zones, it is imperative that municipal authorities act proactively in channeling building activities. This could be achieved by initiating land pooling and subdivision projects, financing hence the cost of land for road development through this procedure. It is also possible to place restrictions on development and making such land reorganization schemes a pre-requisite to building. To be effective and realistic, these recommendations will however require the introduction of financing mechanisms, particularly when smaller municipalities are low on resources and unable to secure the means to finance the necessary roads and infrastructure needed to channel building development. It is consequently advised to introduce property taxes that can benefit municipalities and palliate the lack of financial resources.An effective instrument to controlsprawl is to introduce a tax on un-built property within urban agglomerations which would also reduce land speculation land.
Land subdivision procedures should be conducted within a holistic and integrative understanding of the areas where such developments are proposed. To this end, it is imperative to revise current procedures of delivering private parcels subdivision permits, making the submission of an updated cadastral and road map reconstituting all neighboring licensed subdivisions and their relation to the proposed design a requirement for any application.
As the main driver for construction activities in Lebanon, roads development need to be carefully studied, designed, and controlled. Local and regional road development is however frequently designed outside a proper understanding of its repercussions on constructionactivities, particularly in rural areas. Too often, municipal authorities develop road networks with the unwanted consequence of encouraging construction in this area. In rural areas, the widening and asphalting of agricultural roads has proved to precipitate construction activities in ways that undermine agrarian practices. To prevent that, it is imperative that policies and guidelines are introduced for municipalities and/or other authorities guiding their investments, particularly in relation to roads development.
Orient roads development withtheir role as de-facto drivers of construction by initiating land pooling and subdivision projects (e.g. Tripoli/ Saida).
Integrate road development projects and organize road hierarchies to secure continuity across private and public developments, orient urbanization towards larger roads, etc.
Accompany regulative tools with interventions to create roads and drive urbanization towards the proper areas, etc.
B – Develop Master-Plans at the Scale of Larger agglomerations:
The NMP has already provided guiding principles for orienting the development of the large urban agglomerations of Beirut, Tripoli, Saida, Baalbeck, Nabatieh, Sour and Zahle. These frameworks dictated specific constraints to these seven agglomerations and provided solid grounds for translating these recommendations into regional land-use plans through which they can be implemented. These frameworks require nonetheless updating, detailing, and translation into master plans/ land use plans at the metropolitan level. In the absence of metropolitan authorities, recommendations made above for the development of regional urban authorities and/or the establishment of coherent unions of municipalities are pre-requisites to this step.
There is evidence that regulatory plans developed at the scale of regions can have positive impacts. For example, in cities such as Saida where urban development in/outside the city’s administrative borders is intimately connected, making the city’s planningimpossible independently from the surrounding municipalities that host a major part of Saida’spopulation. Similarly, services, mobility, waste management, and construction activities in the Greater Beirut agglomeration require an administrative institution spanning across numerous municipalities. It is possible to note here the successful example of the three neighboring cities of Tripoli, Mina and Beddaoui where a union of municipalities (“Al-Fayhaa”) was founded, setting the grounds for a Sustainable Urban Development Strategy and a concerted revision of their local land use plans. Similarly, the Union of Municipalities of the Caza of Sour, under the impulse of the CDR and foreign donors, joined efforts to produce a strategic plan for guiding and prioritizing public investment projects on their territory.It is still too soon to judge the tangible results of these experiences, but these are undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
C- “Loi-Cadre” or Framework lawsfor construction activities in Special Zones:
Aside from local and regional land-use plans, it is imperative for a successful implementation of the NMP to articulate regulatory provisions targeting special zones of common character. Known as “Loi Cadre” or“framework laws”, these regulations target ecological or cultural continuities (e.g. the national coast, historical village cores) in ways that reconcile the fragile man-made and/or natural ecosystems withthe development of their tourism potential. It also empowers planning authorities to capture and expand the economic and social development potential of these areas. Furthermore, and as recommended in the priority actions of the NMP, it is imperative to pass a Protected Areas Act defining categories of protected zones (e.g. punctual sites, natural reserves, regional parks) and translating these classifications with protection measures of varying intensities that provide clear guidelines for the articulation of these regulatory frameworks and of the local land use plans.
Special Zones of Common Character can take many forms. Below, we identify some of the most obvious and urgent cases:
Coastand Watercourses Law to protect the Public Domain and optimize the shared use of these resources (Ministry of Tourism/Ministry of Environment): A coastal plan and the regulatory framework that supports it should be developed urgently. This imperative move responds to the ongoing illegal occupation of the coast as well as undesirable private development. The demand was echoed by numerous attendees and seconded by the Minister of Public Work who affirmed his commitment to the development of a regulatory framework for the Lebanese coast that would protect it from undesirable building activities. (It is worth noting that the management of the Coast will be the subject of the third session of the NMP Conference series at the OEA where additional, detailed recommendations will be issued.)
Mountain law for a better balance between the human activities and the fundamental natural functions of thesezones (Ministry of Tourism/Ministry of Environment): Several regulatory frameworks should be developed to support the urgent protection of mountainous areas, water reserves, and other ecological regions. These regulatory frameworks can introduce the necessary nuances across areas, distinguishing between protected/yet inhabited in areas, such as the National Park preservation model, and fully protected reserves where no building and/or permanent settlement is possible.
Historic neighborhoods and/or zones as well as clusters of heritage buildings within urban and/or rural areas need to be subjected to the same regulatory, protective frameworks that secure their protection in an economically viable form. This identification should be pegged to a Cultural Heritage Act that introduces compensatory tax measures applicable to buildings in these perimeters. (This measure should be developed in partnership with the Ministry of Culture).
Highway Zones and Primary Roads: Develop, adopt, and implement a national regulatory framework that identifies and organizes land uses and development around main highways and road networks in ways that prevent any building development and/or direct access along their trajectories.
Highway zones are currently regulated through the highway law but no regulations are imposed on the development of primary road networks. In practice, both are main drivers forurbanization and create urbanizedcorridors immediately adjacent to their trajectories, undermining their efficiency as transport networks and nullifying hence the financial investments that supported their development. Solutions could be developed through planning side lanes prior to the execution of national roads or providing and enforcing restrictions on land useson the parcels adjoining mainroads (e.g. Chouf region).
UPDATING INFORMATION / IMPROVING ACCESS TO THE DATA COLLECTED IN THE NMP
Completing Data Gathering, Updating information
The direct recommendations of the NMP team upon its achievement involved the completion of the data necessary to support the regulatory role of the NMP. This included the completion of cadastral coverage, an inventory of water resources, remarkable natural and cultural sites and clusters, and a regular mapping of land uses. Since then, numerous changes have happened withinthe national territory, some of which triggered by the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, others by the poor management of waste, poor development controls along the coast, and more.
Making data accessible
The NMP data is currently available in a selective number of public locations but is hardly accessible to planners, engineers, or researchers. Knowledge about its guidelines and prerogatives is hence curtailed by poor dissemination. It is imperative that the OEA partners with the CDR and allocates a small budget and space for disseminating the database supporting the NMP development and sharing its database, making it possible for those developingland-use plans and/or regional projects as well as local authorities and researchers to find data related to territorial management more readily.