• Proximity of Care Design Guide

Bar Elias Public Space

Images by Catalytic Action

This series of interventions on public space and streets was aimed at creating a more child- and family-friendly, and culturally inclusive environment in Bar Elias, Lebanon a town that is home to nearly half million Syrian and Palestinian refugees.

The intervention creates a visible, accessible and inclusive public space to reduce refugee vulnerability in the public realm, and enhance connections and integration between the broader population.


Location Bar Elias, Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

Organisation Catalytic Action

Partner organisations University College of London (UCL) – The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Refugee population; Children aged 0-5 & Caregivers

Scale of catchment Neighbourhood

Built environment component Public space; Street




Existing public spaces are enhanced to enable their use by children and caregivers. Sidewalks and road crossing are fitted with appropriate slopes to improve accessibility for buggies and wheelchairs.


Street painting contributes to the idea of a playful environment for children.


Building material and construction crew are sourced locally to generate connections between the broader population and the project.


(1) Early community engagement in the design process contributes to understanding the needs and priorities of the local population.

(2) Training local actors, parents, teachers and local institutions were engaged in the design phase and trained to use and maintain the new space.


The intervention site was selected for being the most fitted to guarantee neutrality across the diverse populations living in the area. Site selection can enable or disable the potential of the design.



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