Michel Ecochard in Lebanon and Syria (1956–1968). The spread of Modernism, the building of the independent states and the rise of local professionals of planning

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The architect and planner Michel Ecochard has had a long career in developing countries, from its first works in Syria under the French rule, until the 1970s. He represented the modernist and functionalist approach to planning in a time of modernization. In this article, we concentrate on his work in Lebanon and Syria between the end of the 1950s and the 1960s. He prepared the master plans of Beirut and of Damascus. Those works represented the end of an era rooted in colonial planning. It was also the beginning of a new time, with the local planners taking on, sometimes sharing, sometimes contesting Ecochard's visions. Building on recent scholarship on the circulation of planning ideas, we focus on the reception of Ecochard's proposals. Though most political elites and planning professionals shared most of Ecochard's views, the political circumstances and the changing social conditions led to adjustments and reorientations. The new planning framework was also a major factor of change.

Keywords: Beirut; Damascus; Lebanon; Michel Ecochard; Syria; local professionals; master plans; modernism; planning

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02665433.2012.646774

Affiliations: Université de Lyon, CNRS – UMR Environnement Ville Société, 18, rue Chevreul69007,Lyon, France

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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