Proposal to the Municipality of Beirut.
“In a city of concrete, a city stranger to green spaces, a city where sidewalks like roads have been carjacked, a city where a dark smog looms over daily, youʼd figure, thereʼs more to rooftops than rooftop bars” . Quoting Sir Mark Sykes, on his last visit to Beirut.
Beirut is a concrete and pollution mayhem. Ironically, the high pollution levels are not caused by the industries that we do not have, by the crippled political system, by armed militias or by foreign interferences, but instead, it is a problem from within the populace itself, which has proven throughout the years to be uncooperative and inconsiderate towards its surrounding, to the extent of rejecting the mere idea of replacing the Humvee with a smaller car, or the “blasphemy” of riding a bike to work. Therefore, given the circumstances, the most pragmatic solution will be to have a municipal decree that requires each building to grow itʼs simple rooftop garden (by require we mean harshly implement, by force if necessary). Nothing fancy, just a couple of trees in a large fixed pot on each rooftop. As incentives to the urban population, the municipality can offer tax reductions or benefits to the buildings that have a well maintained rooftop garden, and the gardening/plant companies could offer discounts and sponsorship, and later claim that they turned Beirut green (we can already predict their campaigns). There are many types of tree that can grow in the beirut climate to 3-4 meters high in a simple 1 meter pot, such as the olive tree, the Schinum Molle, Morus Alba, Melia azaderachh, Punica Granatum, Etc...
In order to prevent these trees from falling in case of high winds, they could be connected by three steel wires to the roof slab. The advantages of having this done on a large scale are many. Better oxygen levels and a healthy environment is the first that comes to mind, but also a layer of trees will provide shade and accordingly soften the increasingly hot and arid climate, which in turn would lead to a lower level of energy consumption. Moreover, semi public green spaces will be created for the respective residents of each building, increasing even further the quality of living within the city itself. On the other hand, depending on the choice of trees and plants, these gardens can evolve into a sort of urban farming, yielding a small but valuable agricultural output.
Ultimately, If the plan works out, Beirut could become a rooftop wonder forest, the whole city as a Landmark.