Plan d’aménagement de Saïda et de sa région
Saida, Lebanon

Sidon is the third city of Lebanon, located to the south of Beirut. This coastal town backed by a mountain range occupies the position of capital of the southern region of Lebanon. The planning work that Michel Écochard puts to work in his proposals for the city of Sidon is characteristic of the approach and the solutions applied to post-war planning. Before putting into effect a development plan for the city of Sidon, the team put together by Écochard tackled the overall problem of the extent of the city’s territorial influence in relation to the surrounding countryside. The layout of Sidon is coordinated with a broader regional development, taking into account mountain villages. The proposals are part of what he describes as major capital projects involving the whole territory, such as the electrical power project or that of irrigation.

Three big elements encapsulate the plan: planning and highways on a regional scale; the “remodelling” of the old town; and new extensions, notably the creation of a “new city”. The new layout of the old town is summed up by the clearing and improvement of historic monuments, notably through attributing new administrative or commercial functions to them, in order to confirm the cultural, administrative and economic role of the old town. The destruction of particular neighborhoods on the seafront allowed for a lowering of population densities and a cleaning-up of the area. The development of the port and its boundaries, which are extended to the north by the demolition of the warehouse area, which represented a difficult to organize mess, in favour of a warehouse and commercial district “logically organised” around Khan el-Rouz.

 A large highway for heavy north-south traffic is included as part of a regional study. Another route connects the city to the mountains. Écochard, who put forward the hypothesis of a coastal highway project for Lebanon – for which a study would be entrusted to him three years later – also proposed the idea of an international highway through the Bekaa. Large routes of communication to the docks, which “will be given a new life”, connecting them to the road from Beirut-Tyre, via a new road for 17 miles along the north part of the French Khan. Secondly, through the creation of a new road by the sea, extending from Aïn-Heloué and leading to the southern part of the docks, after skirting, in the west, the walls of the great mosque, the objective is to establish a closure of the large roads coming from Beirut and the the central square in front of the docks.

The new extensions accommodated the displaced residents of the old town and represented future growth areas. The location was chosen so as not to affect fruit crops, making the case for the “the old tradition” of a maritime town and a town above: the new town of Aïn Héloué, with its green areas, public buildings, and its placement of apartment blocks, villas and organised habitations.


A zoning plan foresaw an industrial area located at the edge fo the sea to the south of the city, particularly for the processing of agricultural products. A zone is also reserved for the clearance of areas around archaeological sites, one for exhibitions and fairs, and finally one for sports and leisure. Planted zones are conserved and protected. These developments were meant to allow the city to play a leading role in planning for southern Lebanon and to support rural areas as well.

Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture

Saida, Lebanon
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Development Plan for Sidon and its Regions
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urban design and development