© 2019 by Abbas Sbeity


Role: Curtor

Year: 2019

Location: Beirut, Lebanon

While the world is facing the challenge of rapid urbanization, cities, like Beirut, that are the main hubs for culture, economy, and innovation are turning into complex systems of social, ecological and economic challenges. With these changes emerging, we notice a rise of creative actors engaging in the process of urban change on both local and global levels, providing innovative solutions in a collaborative, participatory, and inclusive way. 

/Ideas for the City/ is the closing forum of a year-long Fellowship Program of Architects for Change. The forum aims to provide an opportunity for knowledge exchange and discussions on the processes and tools of Urban Change to encourage young people to take action in their cities. We will explore Urban Change beyond the formal practice of urban planning and development, by focusing on community-driven and human-centered interventions in the city.

Through an exhibition, presentations, panel discussions, and roundtables, the forum explores three main areas: 

  • Defining the challenges — how do we understand current challenges and turn them into opportunities for interventions?  

  • Defining the actors — who play a role in the urban change process? and how?

  • Defining the process — can we establish a framework for local urban change?


The forum invites architects, researchers, students, city officials, activists, and city-makers to engage in its interactive format and contribute to this exchange opportunity. ​


Architects for Change Fellowship Program is a year-long program designed for young architects and designers. Through experiential and collaborative learning experiences, the fellows develop personal and professional skills focusing on ethical leadershipproject management, social entrepreneurship, and human-centered design. 
The learning takes place through co-creation workshops, sessions with experts, one-on-one mentoring, peer-to-peer learning, and reflection.



The exhibition and the presentations will feature six shortlisted ideas developed by the fellows as part of the programfollowing a human-centered design process, each tackling a specific urban challenge. 
Fellows Presenting: 
Ghada Cheikh, Ramy Sabek, Nadine Eid, Cedric Akl, Karim Rifai, and Perla el Dehni 


Following four different themes that emerged from the ideas presented, the roundtables will offer an exploration opportunity for specific urban challenges, presented by a question, through an interactive format–based on the pro-action cafe method. The audience will engage, in four rounds of twenty minutes, with an expert moderator and one
or two fellows, to explore the challenge based on each round’s objective.

Roundtable 1 — How might we promote better civic education and engagement for young people? 
Roundtable 2 — How might we better design public spaces 
to be inclusive and accessible? 
Roundtable 3 — How might we design cities that promote the welfare of humans and animals? 
Roundtable 4 — How might we develop a framework 
for local community development and engagement in vulnerable communities? 

Round 1 — Understanding the challenge 
Round 2 - Framing the challenge 
Round 3 - Looking for opportunities for interventions 
Round 4 - Harvesting and action steps 

Each roundtable will have a fixed expert moderator, one or two fellows, and a rapporteur.
Each round will last for twenty minutes. Participants are encouraged to move to a different table at the end of each round. 


Panel Discussion 1
Co-Making the City — Local Stories of Urban Change

In the last few years, Beirut has witnessed a rise of a generation of architects, designers, and planners who are actively engaged in public and urban affairs through grassroots movements, neighborhood initiatives, international organizations, advocacy campaigns, or cultural initiatives. Themes such as access to public space, waste management, community engagement, and sustainable development emerged to re-establish a new format of local urban development. 
This panel offers a practical approach to the process of Urban Change by introducing different local examples, at different scales, to explore current practices and models of intervention in the city.

Panel Discussion 2

Who Owns the City? — The Process of Urban Change 

To encourage more participatory and community-led interventions in the city, a clear engagement methodology and framework is needed. If we want to put people at the center of the process, we need to understand the role of all actors - academic institutions, civil society organizations, researchers, and local authorities.
This panel explores a theoretical approach to Urban Change to understand its actors and its processes by engaging experts from academia, research, and civil society.