The main drivers of master planning Beirut’s city center:
- Involves the recovery of the public domain, with the installation of a complete modern infrastructure.
- Provides an urban design framework for new construction and for the restoration of preserved and historic buildings with a good integration between old and new, tradition and innovation, control and creativity in architectural expression.
- Creates public spaces including gardens, squares, belvederes, promenades and trails.
- Unearths layers of the city center's history.
- Reestablishes the fabric and neighborhood structures accommodating a broad mix of land uses ranging from business and institutional to residential, cultural and recreational facilities.
- Offers a flexible, market-oriented development framework, encouraging the emergence of a sustainable environment.
- Creates poles of attraction for city center renewal.
- Creates a vibrant, 24-hour active downtown.
The master plan is conceived not as a single, homogeneous central district but as a cluster of city quarters or sectors. It capitalizes on the inherent values of the site. Reflecting the site topography and natural features, street patterns, past neighborhood structure, and concentrations of preserved fabrics it maximizes views of the sea and surrounding landscapes including bays, hills and mountains. t aims at preservation of townscape features and subdivides Beirut city center into ten planning sectors – eight in the Traditional City Center and two in the Waterfront District, each with its own detailed plan and regulations, as well as its own unique character:
- Sector A, Park and Waterside, comprising leisure facilities, two marinas, a city waterside park and a landscaped seaside promenade.
- Sector B, Hotel District, high-density mixed-use area with a number of prominent hotels.
- Sector C, Serail Corridor, mixed-use area of medium density with controls on building height and tiled roofscape preserving a visual corridor to the sea.
- Sector D, New Waterfront District, high-density mixed-use area on reclaimed land, with carefully located high-rise buildings.
- Sector E, Souks, named after the former late Ottoman markets, with the new Beirut Souks as the focus of commercial and shopping activities.
- Sector F, Wadi Abou Jamil, medium-density residential area with new clusters added to a number of retained Levantine houses and buildings.
- Sector G, Conservation Area, forming the political, financial, religious and cultural focus of the city center, with late Ottoman and French Mandate heritage and a zone of high archeological opportunities.
- Sector H, Martyrs’ Square Axis, mixed-use district extending along the highly symbolic civic space, aims to reconnect the city and enhance its relation with the New Waterfront.
- Sector I, Saifi Village, with medium-density residential development among a concentration of retained residential buildings recreating a traditional urban neighborhood.
- Sector J, Ghalghoul and Beirut Trade Center, with gateway buildings planned along its edges to mark key entries to the city center.
Beirut city center sectors are articulated around visual axes.
- Serail corridor axis, opening the view from the Serail hill to the waterside park.
- Martyrs’ Square axis, opening the view from the ring road through the square towards the sea.
- Maarad-Allenby and Foch axes, linking the historic core to the New Waterfront district.
- A new, fifth axis linking the Hotel District to Beirut Marina.
- Two axes opening the view to Mount Sannine: Old Seashore line / Ottoman Wall axis and a parallel axis in the Waterfront District (sector D).
- An axis along Professor Wafic Sinno Avenue.
- An axis from the Grand Serail towards Nejmeh Square, opening the view towards Beirut’s mountain backdrop.