The Bartlett School of Planning


Abir Eltayeb

Research subject

Rethinking Wellbeing in Practice: The Role of the Lebanese Building and Urban Planning Laws in Times of Austerity

Primary supervisor: Dr Michael Short
Secondary supervisor: Dr Nikolay Mintchev
Starting date: September 2019
Projected completion date: September 2023 
Sponsor: IJURR (International Journal of Urban and Regional Research) Foundation, the UCL Overseas Research Scholarship and Graduate Research Scholarship

Regulations remain an understudied area of research in most fields, including in architecture and urban planning. And this is particularly the case in countries like Lebanon that are rarely the subject of scholarship on the global scene. However, most countries follow some forms of building and urban planning regulations that a few scholars explored in countries like France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. These scholars noted in their studies that building and urban planning regulations incorporate a variety of spatial criteria and volumetric controls that determine the characteristics of built form. This PhD stemmed from an interest in contributing to these studies by investigating the types of spatial criteria and volumetric controls that were incorporated in building and urban planning regulations in Lebanon.

Accordingly, the PhD asked: What are the different types of spatial criteria and volumetric controls that are incorporated in building and urban planning regulations, how are these spatial criteria translated into design proposals for high-rise buildings, and through the agency of which actors? It followed the research principles of phronetic social science that favour the analysis of case studies to uncover the details of how events and phenomenon unfold in real life situations. The PhD had a qualitative focus and used a combination of extensive and intensive research strategies. The extensive research strategy analysed a comprehensive list of building and urban planning regulations in Lebanon since 1940 and the one hundred and eight high-rise buildings that were proposed or implemented in Beirut since 1974. The intensive research strategy analysed the Building Law No. 646/2004 as a case study of building and urban planning regulations in Lebanon and the twenty-seven case studies of high-rise buildings in Beirut that resulted from negotiations between architects and urban planners in the Higher Council of Urban Planning.


Abir Eltayeb is currently a PhD candidate in Planning Studies at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, and was a researcher at the American University of Beirut between 2012 and 2019. She completed a Master of Research in 2016, in Interdisciplinary Urban Design at the Bartlett School of Planning, and a Master of Urban Design in 2012 at the American University of Beirut. Her research interest focuses on planning tools that govern the ownership, development, and management of real estate properties in post-war countries like Lebanon.


Al-Harithy, H., Eltayeb, A, and Khodr, A. (forthcoming). Hosting Syrian Refugees in Saida (Lebanon) under Protracted Displacement: Unfolding Spatial and Social Exclusion. International Journal of Islamic Architecture (IJIA) Special Issue: dis-placed.

Eltayeb, A. and Jundi, M. (eds.) (2018). Exhibition 1968-2018: Fifty Years of Graduates and Selected Works. Beirut: AUB Press.

Eltayeb, A. and Yeretzian, A. (eds.) (2018). Yearbook 1968-2018: Fifty Years of People, Events, and Department Life. Beirut: AUB Press.

Saliba, R. and Eltayeb, A. (2014). Re-Envisioning Infrastructural Breaks: Urban and Landscape Strategies for the Southern Edge of Beirut’s Central District, inNew Urban Configurations, edited book by R. Cavallo, S. Komossa, N. Marzot, M. Berghauser Pont, and J. Kuijper. Amsterdam: IOS Press, pp. 418-422.