UCL Urban Laboratory


Archaeology and the memories of a city: the urban development of post-conflict Beirut

23 November 2016, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

Archaeology and the memories of a city: the urban development of post-conflict Beirut

Event Information

Open to



Room 106, UCL Roberts Building, Malet Place, London WC1E 7JE

Dominic Perring will give a Co-Curating the City evening lecture hosted by the joint UCL-University of Gothenburg Centre for Critical Heritage Studies.


Following the conclusion of 17 years of urban and civil war an ambitious plan to rebuild Beirut was set at the forefront of Lebanon's national rehabilitation. The Solidere project side-stepped public regulation through the creation of a private real-estate company intended as a vehicle for profitable redevelopment. From the outset discussions about purpose of the project were framed with reference to past, drawing on the idea of an endlessly resilient ancient city destined to be reborn. Although sometimes little more than a marketing concept, a disputed archaeological past was placed at the forefront of arguments over ownership, control and legitimacy.

The fabric and ideology of the urban heritage contributed directly to the reshaping of the city, but also encouraged the socially exclusive gentrification of landscapes that were supposed to give coherence to a divided city. For twelve years Dominic led one of the archaeological teams employed on this project. Here he will reflect on the lessons of a personal experience of the opportunities, conflicts and contradictions involved in the reinvention of Beirut's past.

All welcome - no booking required.

This event is hosted by the Curating the City research cluster within the Centre for Critical Heritage Studies. For further information please contact Clare Melhuish or Dean Sully.

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