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INTERVIEW

Dima Boulad - “It is necessary for our society to have open spaces where individuals can interact”

Fellow discusses need for The Beirut Green Project and creating alliances with other countries

Dima Boulad, co-founder of the Beirut Green Project, speaking during The Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play

Andrea Abellan | 22.03.2017

During the Salzburg Global Session, The Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play, participants have learned how valuable the role of open space can be in post-conflict countries. Dima Boulad, co-founder of the Beirut Green Project, is one of the reasons behind that.

The Beirut Green Project is a social initiative, born with the aim to assemble the concerns of citizens seeking to develop a more liveable city. With 0.8m2 of green space per person, Beirut remains below the Wealth Health Organisation’s standards which recommend every citizen should have at least nine square meters of green space. Boulad says, “Some citizens do not recognize the access to public spaces as a right they can claim, and this is what we aim to change.” To counter this, the Beirut Green Project has run awareness campaigns and organized many social events.

The consequences years of war have had on Lebanon remain visible. In some areas, the country lacks basic facilities such as electricity or access to water. Outages of these services remain frequent. Complicated circumstances such as those above make it harder to place the development of green spaces as a priority in the minds of politicians.

The goal of non-profit organizations such as the Beirut Green Project is to make clear that in spite of the urgency of meeting basic needs, citizens should not have to waive other civil rights such as the opportunity to enjoy public spaces.

Boulad highlights the significance public spaces have in post-conflict areas. Boulad says, “In Lebanon, we grow up in a culture of fear. It is necessary for our society to have open spaces where individuals can interact with others. Accessible public areas might help to change our habits, break the bubbles where we live and therefore, improve our relationships.”

Boulad says the work of advocates such as herself is not easy in Lebanon. She says, “It is very hard to have the attention of the government and to manage to get things done. Taking part in a Seminar like this can facilitate our jobs as it allows to create alliances with other countries from which we can learn and get aid.”


The Salzburg Global program The Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play is part of the multi-year Parks for the Planet Forum, a series held in partnership with the IUCN and Huffington Foundation. The session is being supported by Parks Canada and Korea National Park. It is being sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/574 - You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSparks

22.03.2017 Category: SALZBURG IN THE WORLD, SALZBURG UPDATES, SUSTAINABILITY, HEALTH
Andrea Abellan