Beyond Cement: Towards an Alternative Vision for Chekka and Surrounding Towns

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Beyond Cement: Towards an Alternative Vision for Chekka and Surrounding Towns

October 15, 2019 @ 8:00 am - January 14, 2020 @ 5:00 pm EDT


Public Works Studio + Order of Engineers and Architects in Beirut and Tripoli (Lebanon) + The Union of Municipalities of Koura.

Many challenges underline the urgency of reconsidering dominant approaches to development, land use, and the institutional framework that governs them, in addition to the political context, which requires a novel and creative counter-approach in Chekka and Surrounding Towns in North Lebanon.
As such, this competition is an open call for planners, designers, environmental scientists, agricultural engineers, economists and other professionals to draft an intervention framework, which simultaneously answers the concept of sustainable development and the immediate needs of the people, including job opportunities and a local economy, without compromising their health, the environment and local economic resources.
This competition proposes to address three strategic sites, which we found were open to complementary interventions within a wider developmental vision. These cases call upon us all, professionals and concerned citizens interested in the intersections between sustainable environment and social justice, to address the following questions:

1) Koura’s Middle Plain: The agricultural plain was subjected to excavation for clay extraction by the cement companies between 1967 and 1984. The pits have not been rehabilitated since, and continue to damage the soil and olive groves today. How can we rehabilitate the agricultural middle plain and the neglected clay extraction pits and redefine this site’s role in the area, its productivity, and its (economic) relevance to current and upcoming generations of Koura residents?

2) The Chekka and el-Heri Seashore: The coast and seafront of Chekka and el-Heri have been negatively affected by pollution, expanding industries and continuous encroachments. How can we build on the seafront’s competitive advantages to provide a sustainable economic and development alternative to the current industrial model (and particularly cement) and those dependent on it, while limiting its negative environmental impacts?

3) The Quarry along Chekka, Badbhoun and Kfarhazir: Two illegal quarries have expanded in the area with total disregard to environmental, health, and landscape considerations. By taking the quarry related to the al-Sabeh factory as a pilot, what intervention scenarios can reduce its spread/impact and propose tracks for its rehabilitation on the basis of social equity, environmental justice and economic sustainability?

Participants must address one of these sites and suggest alternative visions that present innovative, inclusive, and environmentally-sustainable solutions that operate across three levels:
● Set a strategic vision for the region as a whole governed by the principles of sustainable development, social justice, instead of limited economic interests.
● Develop a design, project or concept for one of the sites to limit the damages sustained and enhance its potential.
● Devise a media based campaign for the proposal which can become an advocacy tool with the potential to effect change on the short run.

– Go to
– Register as an individual or a team by filling the Online Registration form before 15 October 2019.
– Download the Brief.
– Any questions? Write to
– Download the information (appendices) related to this competition.
– Submit your proposal before 14 January 2020 (Languages: Arabic or English).

The competition is a starting point for visioning exercises that can build broader coalitions based on an advocacy strategy for inclusive, sustainable, and livable environments The jury panel will select a number of projects to be included in a publication and an exhibition. The exhibition and publication aim at raising awareness and encouraging a public debate promoting alternative visions and solutions which have implications at the national level beyond the competition area. The competition will also include a monetary award (10 000$), certificates of achievement, and honorable mentions.The distribution of the amount among the winners will be decided by the jury.


October 15, 2019 @ 8:00 am EDT
January 14, 2020 @ 5:00 pm EDT
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