31 May – 2 June 2016
Beirut, Lebanon


Unfolding Middle Eastern Landscapes

Changing Forms, Evolving Tools, Transforming Meanings


Deadline for Registration to IFLA Beirut 2016 Conference is Monday 23rd of May 2016

Jointly organized by the newly established Lebanese Landscape Association (LELA), the American University of Beirut, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management and the Lebanese University, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Veterinary Medicine, Department of Landscape and Territory Planning, sponsored by the International Federation of Landscape Architecture (IFLA) and with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, Lebanon. This conference aims to bring together landscape academics and professionals to reflect on the discourse of landscape in the Middle East. The organizers hope that speakers, contributors and participants will contribute to the environmental and cultural specificities shaping the emerging profession of landscape architecture in the Middle East.


Landscape is a word with multiple meanings, an idea that is complex, in part nature and in part culture. The layered meanings and complexity was addressed by definition of landscape by the European Landscape Convention as “an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors”. Nevertheless, the visual meaning, landscape as scenery, dominates the common understanding of the word universally and in the Middle East. Introduced during colonial restructuring of traditional cities in the early twentieth century, the word landscape continues to be perceived in terms of city parks, green boulevards and spacious roundabouts. This narrow interpretation is problematic not only because it precludes the layered meaning of the English word and the overlap with nature, region and country, but also because it limits the professional scope. Nor is there a sufficient body of critical research into the regional landscape history, traditional landscape practices and indigenous management to complement the prevailing understanding of landscape in the Middle East.

A growing numbers of young landscape architects, is slowly changing the narrow understanding of the professional scope in the region. Landscape architects are increasingly contributing to postwar recovery and refugee camps, urban nature and sustainable greening, human rights and local community empowerment. Equally significant are formal and informal links with the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA). The Iranian Society of Landscape Professionals (ISLAP) was established in 2001, application by the Lebanese Landscape Association (LELA) was certified by IFLA on 31 of december 2015. The Jordanian Association for Landscape Architects (JALA) is in the process of being certified. International support is invaluable at this early juncture in the development of the profession to support and guide the development of landscape architecture and to accelerate local recognition of the professional potential.

The conference title, “Unfolding Middle Eastern Landscapes” alludes to the layered and complex idea of landscape as embracing physical, tangible space and intangible social and cultural values and perceptions. The conference bring together academics, professionals and researchers to dialogue ongoing transformations of the landscapes we inhabit, to expose different design, planning and management methodologies and approaches and to question shortcomings and obstacles to professional advancement in the region.


Timeline for all attendees and those submitting an abstract

15 February 2016
Call for papers

30 March 2016
Submission of abstracts

15 April 2016
Early Registration (reduced fees) starts

15 may 2016
Early Registration ends, Registration (full fees) starts

30 April 2016
Notification of Acceptance

The conference organizers are calling for abstracts that demonstrate a range of professional and academic approaches to landscape design and planning in the Middle East at the local and the regional scales.
Contributions can follow one of six broad themes (download Conference document for details)

Abstracts in English, 3000 characters including spaces, formatted in A4, single-space, Arial 11 font, Office Word.
Title (English, and in the participants native language, Arabic, or Farsi, or Turkish), name of author(s), affiliation/institution, address and email address.
Indicate in your email which of the six themes does your abstract fall under. Short Bio of author(s) 800 characters including spaces.
authors will be informed weather their papers would be accepted for oral or poster presentation