For a while now, ISIS had been spreading the news and the fear of invasion of Lebanon. This unstable situation, and the turmoil of all the countries surrounding us, are affecting Lebanon in a negative way.
But as usual, the Phoenix of country has the will stronger than hell, and again it is rising from the ashes to fly high.
One more time, while most of the world is gambling on another war, numbers and predictions are showing a very optimistic future to our beloved country.
After the article about Beirut being number one city in the world to invest, the English Telegraph magazine just posted an article about Beirut and Lebanon and how it is the next global hotspot.
Something that makes us more proud and confident about the future of this tiny spot of the world map.
For the more details and the full article. Please check the link below.
Beirut, a battleground in the 1980s, is in the midst of a new uprising. Rather than the violence that residents became accustomed to over the past half century, the city’s foundations are being shaken by a groundswell of regeneration that is starting at street level.
The coastal Lebanese city, once the epicentre of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is now being described as a “phoenix from the ashes” by property experts and global investors.
As well as the presence of large multinational companies such as the drinks giant Diageo, or tobacco distribution firm Sarkis, a younger crowd is setting up in the city centre accompanied by digital start-ups and a developing creative industry.
Once a war-torn shell of a city, Beirut is among a handful of places around the world that have rebounded quickly from devastation and destruction to become flourishing 21st-century cities.
“Beirut is becoming a centre of alternative trade in the Middle East and enjoying a new position in the region,” said Yolande Barnes, head of international research at Savills.
Property prices are starting to rise, albeit from a very low base, driven up by a lack of supply to meet the new demand.
“In the upmarket quarter [in the city centre, now regarded to be safe] a two-bedroom apartment can cost around $500,000 (£331,774).
It also possesses a historical legacy that has defied the civil war that raged from 1976 to 1990 – and has led to an underlying movement of urbanism.
“It’s a rising star on the world stage and although it is not widely or heavily invested in yet it has the potential to be,” said Ms Barnes.
Damac Properties, real estate investors in Dubai, have spotted the potential and built the Damac Tower (pictured below) in the centre of Beirut, a 28-floor luxury building with interiors designed by Versace, demonstrating the old wealth in the city.
“There is a lot of money in Beirut but also an attitude that there is no point rebuilding as it will only get knocked down again, hence much of the wealth has traditionally been channelled into partying and fast cars,” said a former British army intelligence officer.
“However, there is a growing concern about the Syria overspill,” he said, referring to ongoing unrest in the neighbouring country. There have also been examples of violence in recent years, such as a car bomb that killed 22 people in November 2013 (pictured below).
Ms Barnes sees Beirut as the new Berlin, which is far further down the line in terms of post-conflict regeneration. “Both these cities have a character that belies their past,” she said.
Berlin is now a leading tech city, despite having been caught in the Cold War from 1961 to 1989, and divided by a wall (pictured below by children reinacting the wall.)
Out of its deriliction has emerged a vibrant tech, music and art scene, creative settlements and thriving tourism industry.
The residential and commercial property market is also flourishing with investors piling in to take advantage of cheap, devalued land, typical of a post-conflict city.
A recent Savills report has identified the German capital as one of the top 12 tech cities in the world, ranked ninth for attracting the digital companies that are now a vital component to a growing city.
“All the old location drivers such as proximity to raw materials, and proximity to markets, are of no importance in a world where the internet is everywhere and anyone with a laptop has the capability to create businesses worth multi-millions,” the report read.
For both Berlin and Beirut, people and talent are driving the modernisation of the physical city.
“Start-ups, scale-ups and established corporations in the tech space are competing for talent not buildings. In a market place where millenials matter and access to coding, creative classes is essential, your city matters more than your office space.”
Berlin’s cafe culture is also responsible for the city’s paphable buzz – it has the highest number of cafes per heads of population.
For such cities that have undergone years of conflict, the climb out of dereliction can be long and organic.
But for leading global cities such as New York, which was hit by two catastrophic events in just over a decade, there is a much greater time pressure to get buildings back up.
On October 29, 2012 superstorm Sandy swept through the US city, 61 people lost their lives, more than 300,000 homes were damaged and private landlords sustained more than $8.5bn in property damage.
According to an estimate from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office the city’s government sustained property damage of about $4.5bn.
By September 2014, the housebuilding industry had started work on 535 brand new homes and fully repaired 68 existing homes.
But the state leadership has faced criticism for the slow pace of residential rebuilding compared to the commercial property sector. “Superstorm Sandy created the tale of two cities,” said Peter Miscovich, a consultant with the property group JLL.
“There are many flood-hit areas still in distress and rebuilding homes and lives will take many years due to a lack of funding.”
However, the office market, with considerable financial clout behind it, has proved far more resilient. “Around 18m sq ft of office space was impacted but in less than two years it was all rebuilt and there was 73pc uplift in leasing,” he said.
This demonstrates the massive resourcing needed to rebuild a city after a natural disaster and prevent the next inevitable event.
Mr Miscovich, on a state board to devise the 2050 flood plan for New York, said that the city must be rebuilt in a more resilient way, with plans under way that include engineered flood walls and water permeable pavements.
The government is also restoring the natural wetlands around the city and trying to get people and businesses to retreat from the flood planes. “You need billions of pounds to rebuild at scale quickly whilst making the city more robust,” he said.
But despite the pot of emergency funding provided to New York after the 9/11 terrorist attack (pictured below), and support from the country’s leadership, there was a delay to construction caused by a fog of depression that enveloped the city, explained Mr Miscovich.
“9/11 was such a tragic and emotional event, it created anxiety and fear and caused a depression which didn’t lift for nine months to a year afterwards,” he said.
“People didn’t go out, businesses folded, and the physical impact spread far wider than the site of the twin towers.”
For Ronnie Gibson, an engineer with the insurance firm FM Global, resilience it about preparation, and most catastrophic events are forseeable.
“In the case of superstorm Sandy, the majority of loss was preventable,” he said. “While you can’t stop a hurricane you can stop the loss associated with it.”
The city had a week’s warning that the storm was coming up the coast with flood maps that showed, to the millimeter, how high the water would go. “The simple stuff” needed doing – such as moving data centres off the ground floor, moving valuable equipment, nailing down the roof and practising evacuation drills, he said.
In fact, when monsoon flooding hit Thailand in 2011, technology company Seagate had taken precautions and had already moved its data centre to high ground, and while other companies were mopping up they stole market share.
“It’s a ballpark number but around one in three businesses will go under following such an event in the aftermath because they lose custom,” said Mr Gibson.
However, whether it’s a top-down plan for regeneration or an organic urban uprising, there are some disasters that take far longer to move on from.
It took three and a half years for the then governor of Fukushima, in Japan, to approve a plan to build an interim storage facility to house radioactive soil and waste created by the clean-up work (pictured below) of the nuclear power plant explosion.
This January, the Japanese government allotted JPY 75.8bn (£415m) for the construction of such a unit.
Japan, a country trying to haul itself out of a two-decade deflation trap, will start deliveries for the radioactive soil and waste to the interim facility by March 11 and is in the process of moving people back into the area, having evacuated them in the immediate aftermath of the combined earthquake and tsnami that damaged the four reactors at the power station (pictured below).
For Leo Johnson, head of sustainability at PwC, there can be a glimpse of a silver lining after natural disaster or war.
“A sudden catastrophic shock can spur much needed revitalisation. Real city transformation must come reimaginaing, not just rebuilding,” he said.
“Out of a disaster you have a few things in your favour. Emergency capital [in the right countries], a sudden unity in the community and a chance to open the bonnet and make the city work better.”
And despite the constant threat of climate change, terrorism and civil unrest in big cities, people will continue to flock to the world’s urban centres.
“Why do people come to cities? They are expensive and polluted, but what they’ve got is other people,” said Mr Johnson. “The greatest city thrives because of the density of interchange of others.”