During the span of the recorded history, there has been always a continual eagerness to reach what is seen as a perfect place, this perfection has been later called utopia or the ‘non-existent place’ in Greek. Eventually, the perception of utopia differs between people, groups, eras, and many other factors, it’s a simultaneous desire of improving the current conditions. One of these perceived utopias was Neo-liberalism, which is an economic philosophy with ideas linked with free-market, economic liberalism, and capitalism. Indeed, this utopia has turned into a dystopia in which this philosophy became a prevalent mode of producing cities that is designed to keep the production flow and reproduction of labour. Unfortunately, this model of producing cities faced several failures, but this has not changed the truth that this model was superimposed over any other existing model. Moreover, this model has become a hegemonic model, and the latest demonic phase of it is the financialisation of the city, which transformed the city to a place to park capital and observe its surplus, and more a place that provides a ground of revenues and interest rather promoting social life for its habitants and provoked more exclusion, precarity, and temporariness. Therefore, this research aims to design social batteries that will act as initiators of utopian socio-spatial reconstruction in the neoliberal city, to achieve this aim the study will start by presenting a literature review of previous readings, opinions, and proposals. Considering the case study, this paper will be studying the communal sovereignty in the Dalieh, Beirut. One of the last remaining public outlets in Beirut and a significant part of the cultural and environmental heritage of the city. This analysis will include surveying, interviews, focus group discussion, and generation of mapped and statistical data of the city. The paper will conclude with a vision of socio-spatial instruments that will be injected and dissolved within the city, those instruments called social batteries are precise interventions with intended overlapping of programs that allow reconstruction of social spaces that resemble the city and its citizens' needs.
Architecture, Utopia, Social Battery, Neoliberalism, Social Space, Financialization
Architecture | Arts and Humanities | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Taha, Al Hadi; Halabi, Marwan; Mohsen, Hiba; and Abou El Khoudoud, Bahaa El Dine
"ARCHITECTURE OF UTOPIAN SOCIAL BATTERY IN THE NEOLIBERAL CITIES,"
Architecture and Planning Journal (APJ): Vol. 27:
1, Article 6.