Syrian (In)formal Displacement in Lebanon: Displacement as Urbanism, Informality as Architecture


Analyzing the humanistic, socioeconomic, administrative, and governing aspects of the architectural and urban features of the Syrian displacement across Lebanon, this paper argues that Syrian displacement patterns in Lebanon have rendered displacement a compound and complex system of urbanism, and informality an integral form of architecture. The paper shifts discussions on the formal and informal settlement to a perceived integrated formal and informal displacement of the Syrian communities in Lebanon. By using an approach that integrates cross-disciplinary architectural humanities and social sciences, this “diversity research” adopts a qualitative methodology based on a literature review of academic research and technical reports. It highlights a number of significant theoretical concepts of formal and informal displacement and reflects on the case studies and interviews conducted by researchers as part of the project The Lay of the Land: A Social Mapping of Daily Practices in Informality amongst Syrian Displaced Communities in Lebanon, implemented by the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at the American University of Beirut, and funded by the Ford Foundation.

Authors: Dr. Ahmad Sukkar, Hani Fakhani, & Sawsan Abou Zainedin

Publication Date: 2020

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