Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Urbanism and Geographic Crises: A Micro-Simulation Lens on Beirut

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Abstract:  At a geographical and strategic confluence, the ancient city of Beirut, Lebanon, has witnessed crises from natural and human causes over the centuries. The modern urban and peri-urban development is a result of neo-classical economics, laissez-faire regulations, and complex socio-political structures. This article considers the contemporary housing situation and asks about its resilience to crises. The methodological approach is speculative simulation. We capture the urban status quo through agent-based simulation, and simulate a range of independent shocks. Although the goal of the article is exploratory and not historical replay, the shocks considered are historical exemplars, such as the explosion on August 4th, 2020. Looking across peri-urban Beirut, we measure qualitative effects on housing economics and dynamics. The research question thus addressed is to determine the optimal amount of capital needed for regeneration without triggering a price increase in the housing market. The contribution of the article is a data-and-modelling approach to humane questions of interest to urban scholars. The simulation model is available open source to provoke further enquiry.

Keywords:  agent-based simulation; Beirut; econometrics; exogenous shocks; housing dynamics; urban form


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© Ali Termos, Neil Yorke-Smith. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.