2020 Beirut

IGU Urban Geography Commission annual meeting 2020- Due to COVID-19 The Beirut meeting is postpone for 1 year: NEW DATES: 22nd -28th August 2021 | Online meeting | ORGANIZERS | YOUNG SCHOLAR GRANT - 2020 | KEYNOTE SPEAKERS | SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE | ORGANIZATION COMMITTEE - CONTACT - INFORMATION

IGU Urban Geography Commission annual meeting 2020- Due to COVID-19 The Beirut meeting is postpone for 1 year: NEW DATES: 22nd -28th August 2021

Online meeting

An online meeting will be organized

from 24th to 26th of August 2020

It will include the keynote speakers and the accepted contributions who can participate


ONLINE access will be free of charge

Program and connection will be communicated in due time.


C16-37 - Urban Commission: Urban Challenges in a global world, IGU

Geography Department, Saint-Joseph University of Beirut, Lebanon

Institute of Geography and Sustainability, Geoscience and Environment Faculty, Univ. Lausanne, Switzerland

Faculty of Architecture, Design and Built Environment, Beirut Arab University, Lebanon


Due to the postponement of the event, Young scholars who were evaluated as deserving to be supported will receive 150$ each and a certificate for the award.

This year, 8 young scholars will be rewarded.


Prof. Anna Krasteva, New Bulgarian University, Dept. of Political Sciences and CERMES

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Contrasting Flows & Pulsating Cities: Balkan Migrations Between Refugee Flows And Successful Integration

The migration champion of Europe – the Balkans suddenly gained this reputation in the beginning of the 90s by creating the largest flows of forced migrations in post-war Europe, a serious outset of security risks. The analytical peculiarity of this period of multiplication and diversification of migration flows was the “flight” of the Western and Eastern Balkans towards two opposing migration poles. The Eastern Balkans were undergoing a transition from politicization to the economization of migration; the WđÁstern – just the opposite, from economization to politicization. The objective of this paper is to analyze the dynamic Balkan migration phenomenon through the double perspective of contrasting flows and pulsating cities. 
The presentation includes three parts. The first part examines three refugee waves: IDPs and refugees from/to former Yugoslavia during the mid-90s wars; the Balkan humanitarian corridor during the peak of the Syrian refugee crisis; the recent wave of refugees in Sarajevo and other Western Balkan cities. The second part analyzes Balkan cities in the double perspective of de-territorialization & re-territorialization through three phenomena: mass emigration; return from both forced and voluntary migrations; and immigration. The third part is a case study of the Lebanese community in Sofia as an emblematic example of successful labor and cultural integration in an ‘open city’.

ANNA KRASTEVA is professor at the Department of Political Sciences, New Bulgarian University, doctor honoris causa of University Lille 3, France, founder, and director of CERMES (Centre for Refugees, Migration and Ethnic Studies), editor-in-chief of Southeastern Europe (Brill), guest professor at numerous European Universities; president and member of numerous international scientific councils. Her main fields of research are migration and asylum politics, citizenship; far-right populism; post-democratic crisis. Her last projects are “Securitization and its impact on human rights and human security” of the Global Campus of Human Rights (leader), “Maximizing the development impact of labor migration in Western Balkans” (leader), “Representations of the crisis and crisis of representation”(Horizon 2020);  “Evaluation of the common European asylum system under pressure and recommendations for further development” (Horizon 2020), Migration Impactt Assesment towards integration and local development (Horizon 2020); She has publications in about twenty countries. Her last book (co-ed) is Citizens’ activism and solidarity movements. Contending with populism. Palgrave, 2019.

Prof. Hany M. Ayad, Alexandria University, Department of Architecture

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Advancing UHWB research and co-production of knowledge in the Middle East: past, current and future collaboration with ISC-UHWB program

Today the importance of health as a cross-cutting and integrating determinant for sustainable development is increasingly recognized, not only for cities but at a global scale. Witness to that are, for example, efforts by WHO and UN-HABITAT to exhibit that health should be perceived as the “pulse” of the New Urban Agenda, and to demonstrate why a ‘Health-In-All-Policies’ approach could be a cost-effective and equitable strategy for urban sustainability.

In this respect, the “Urban Health and Wellbeing: A systems approach (UHWB)” is a global science program and an interdisciplinary body of the International Science Council (ISC). This program is established in 2014 and plays an important role in promoting policy-relevant knowledge based on a systems approach that will improve health status, reduce health inequalities and enhance the wellbeing of global urban populations.

This presentation documents the ISC-UHWB work and activities in bringing societal urban agenda and multi-disciplinary research in the academic community in both Lebanon and Egypt. It reviews past and current collaborative endeavors to apply a systems approach to urban health research and community engagement in both countries. It also assesses this ongoing collaboration and defines future actions that could ensure wider regional collaborations and could promote synergies between science and policy in the field of urban health and wellbeing.

HANY M. AYAD is a Professor of regional and urban planning. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the Faculty of Engineering, Alexandria University, Egypt, and his PhD from the same University as a joint venture with the Illinois Institute of Technology, USA. He has been on Alexandria University in the Department of Architecture since 1987. Prof. Ayad research focuses on the dynamics of urban growth in developing countries as well as the study of cities’ morphologies and evolution. He was involved in several projects with the UN-Habitat and UNDP in Egypt and Syria, and participated in the preparation of urban strategic and participatory guidelines and plans for several Egyptian cities and villages. In 2006, He received the Egyptian National Incentive Award for his work in the renovation of the Pharos area, one of the most important historical parts of Alexandria city. Prof. Ayad was also involved with the ISDF (Informal Settlements Development Facility) in delineating and preparing intervention action plans for several unsafe areas in Egypt. He was a member of the ISC Science Committee for Health and Wellbeing in the Changing Urban Environment: a Systems Analysis Approach (2014-2019).

Prof. Franz W. Gatzweiler, Executive Director of the International Council of Science, Committee "Urban Health and Well Being: A system approach", Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences


Health and Wellbeing in Low Entropy, Complex Living Urban Systems

In order to understand urban health and wellbeing, I look at cities as complex, living urban systems and how they have emerged, not just since the early agrarian civilizations some 10,000 years BCE ago, but since life itself has emerged around 3.7 billion years ago. Given that a majority (around 4.3 billion) of people on earth live in urban systems today, that some 7 million people die prematurely from air pollution alone, and the number of urban slum dwellers is increasing, it seems relevant to provide a comprehensive understanding of current risks to urban population’s health and wellbeing from an interdisciplinary and big history perspective. I aim at doing so by seeking answers to the questions of how and why life and cities have emerged as complex systems, what constitutes the health and wellbeing of complex urban systems and how current urban sustainability challenges could be addressed albeit climate change and a continuously growing urban populations, which is projected to reach 7 billion by 2050. 

FRANZ W. GATZWEILER is a professor at the Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences and executive director of the International Council for Science’s global interdisciplinary program on “Urban Health and Wellbeing: a Systems Approach”. He studied Agricultural Economics at the University of Bonn and the Humboldt University of Berlin in Germany. His doctorate research (summa cum laude) was on the ‘Nature of Economic Value and the Value of Nature’. He received stipends and research grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH), the Volkswagen Foundation, the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the Käthe-Hamburger Kolleg and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He was a research fellow at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University, USA established by the late Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom and currently is external affiliated faculty to the Ostrom Workshop. 2015 he earned a habilitation (fakultas docendi) for independent teaching and research in the field of resource economics from the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany. He was a senior researcher at the Center of Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany from 2004-2014. 

Dr. Ghaleb Faour, Director of the National Centre for Remote Sensing, CNRS

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Urban Expansion in a Fragile and Conflict-Affected Country: The Case of Lebanon between 1963 and 2017

Urban expansion and growth are usually a direct expression of social and economic development. In the last five decades, Lebanon was shaken by a series of large events that redirected its urban expansion, citing among others, the civil war between 1975 and 1990 and lately the Syrian crisis. With a lack of updated national census data, the usage of remote sensing techniques and high spatial resolutions satellite imageries is necessary to accurately estimate the urban expansion. Thus, in this research, urban areas will be estimated using different satellite sensors in four different major periods (i.e. 1975-1990, 1994-2005, 2005-2013, 2013-2017) in Lebanese history. Results show that in 1963, urban areas corresponded only to approximately 250 km2. This area was nearly tripled after the civil war and followed by the national reconstruction plans, with an area of 767 km2 in 1998. As lands suitable for urban development have largely decreased after 2004, coupled with the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006, urban areas have slightly increased (~40 km2) between 2005 and 2013. At the outbreak of the Syrian civil war and the huge influx of Syrian refugees towards the Lebanese cities, only 7 km2 was increased between 2013 and 2017. More precisely, out of 3875 buildings yearly constructed between 2005 and 2013, more than 71% were shown in urban zones. The other 1100 yearly constructed buildings corresponded to agricultural areas (i.e. 650 annual buildings), forest (i.e. 100 annual buildings) and others (i.e. 350 annual buildings). Such information would greatly help decision-makers and governance bodies to plan future development and expansion policies, particularly where only 58% of the urbanized areas are being covered by urban regulations, leading to chaos in urban growth that has had a negative impact on natural resources in the country. Investigations at the municipality or union-of-municipality level would also enable to highlight the best action plans to establish a sustainable development of urban areas.

Dr. GHALEB FAOUR holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Science obtained in 1995 from the University of Marseille III - France. He held a Researcher position from 1996 at the Lebanese National Center for Remote Sensing (CNRS) until he got promoted to become a Director of Research and Director of the National Center for Remote Sensing in 2014. His main research interests focus on the development of applied remote sensing technology in the sector of environmental monitoring and natural resources management. He is a Lecturer in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System at the Lebanese University and the Higher School of Surveyors and Topographers in Lebanon. He had supervised and co-advised more than Ten Ph.D. students and Twenty Master Thesis. He conducted several specialized training courses and consultancies in GIS and Remote Sensing applied to urban planning, management of protected areas, agriculture, desertification, drought, climate change, and integrated water resources with the German International Cooperation (GIZ), UNDP, FAO and the Arab Institute of Forestry and Rangeland. He is the author of more than 50 articles published in peer-reviewed international journals as well as the co-author of “Atlas of Lebanon: Territory and Society” published in 2007 in French language and translated to Arabic in 2012, “Space Atlas of Lebanon” published in 2014 and “Atlas of Lebanon: New Challenges” published in 2016. He is a member of the National GIS Committee in 2002, the National Committee “Delimitation of the Maritime Exclusive Economic Zone” in 2009 and Chairman of the National Committee “Unification of Geospatial Coding” in 2015, created by the Prime Minister Office. Also, he is a member of the Governing Board of the Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Western Asia located in Jordan. He is a national reference and representative of Lebanon in the United Nations Institutes UN SPIDER and UN Outer Space since 2010 in the sector of space research and activities. 


  • Prof. Celine Rozenblat, Chair of the IGU Urban Commission, University of Lausanne, Switzerland 
  • Prof. Ayman Afify, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Built Environment, Beirut Arab University, Lebanon
  • Prof. Natacha Aveline, Research director CNRS-Paris, France 
  • Prof. Hany Ayad, Department of Architecture, Alexandria University, Egypt
  • Prof. Ibtihal Y. El-Bastawissi, Dean, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Built Environment, Beirut Arab University, Lebanon

  • Prof. Ludger Basten, Technical University of Dortmund, Germany 
  • Prof. Dani Broitman, Tel Aviv University,  Israel
  • Marcela Dametto, Sao Paulo University, Brazil
  • Dr. Aoife Delaney, Dublin University, Ireland
  • Prof. Liliane Buccianti-Barakat, University Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Lebanon 
  • Prof. Javier Delgado Campos, UNAM, Mexico 
  • Andrea Ferloni, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Prof. Franz  Gatzweiler, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Dr. Maria Gunko, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
  • Dr. Shenjing He, University of Hong-Kong, China 
  • Dr. Maedeh Hedayatifard, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran
  • Prof. Markus Hesse, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • Gustavo Nagib, Sao Paulo University, Brazil
  • Dr. Tomoko Kubo, Gifu University, Japan 
  • Dr. Xiande Li, Shanghai Normal University, China
  • Dr. Maria-Jose Pineira Mantinan, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain 
  • Dr. Keisuke Matsui, University of Tsukuba, Japan 
  • Dr. Lidia Mierzejewska, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland 
  • Dr Niamh Moore, University College Dublin, Ireland 
  • Dr. Natsumi Akimoto, Shizuoka University, Japan
  • Dr. Daniel O'Donoghue, Canterbury Christ Church University, United Kingdom
  • Dr. Julio Pedrassoli, University Federal Salvador de Bahia, Brazil 
  • Prof. Weibin Peng, Hangzhou Normal University, China
  • Prof. Reinaldo Paul Pérez Machado, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil 
  • Prof. Petros Petsimeris, University of Paris 1, France 
  • Mikhail Rogov, University of Lausanne, Switzerland 
  • Prof. Manuel Suarez, UNAM, Mexico 
  • Dr. Jun Tsutsumi, University of Tsukuba, Japan 
  • Dr. Iago lestegas Tizon, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain 
  • Prof. Ivan Townshend, University of Lethbridge, Canada 
  • Dr. Jun Yamashita, University of Kyushu, Japan 
  • Dr. Rita Zaarour, University Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Lebanon 
  • Prof. Suhong Zhou, Sun Yat Sen University, Guangzhou, China



Team of the University of Lausanne

Prof. Dr. Céline Rozenblatceline.rozenblat@unil.ch

Mikhail Rogovmikhail.rogov@unil.ch

Andrea Ferloniandrea.ferloni@unil.ch



Team of the Saint Joseph University

Prof. Dr. Liliane Buccianti Barakat: liliane.barakat@usj.edu.lb

Prof. Dr. Jocelyne Adjizian Gerardjgerard@usj.edu.lb

Dr. Rita Zaarourrita.zaarour@usj.edu.lb

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Institute of Geography - University of Lausanne - CH-1015 Lausanne
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