We live and work in a city that is plagued by a myriad of problems: traffic congestion, air pollution, lack of affordable housing, and absence of public spaces among many other things. Although these issues can be easily resolved; corruption, an unreliable government, a missing President, and years of unfulfilled promises tend to stand in the way.

There is hope, however. Beirut Madinati (translating to: Beirut is my city), a new grassroots group is running for the municipal elections this May, and unlike their recent forerunners, the candidates will be made up of activists, professionals, and technocrats, most of whom have political experience, none of whom are politically affiliated and all of whom live in Beirut and have experienced and understand its problems and needs.

Image via Beirutmadinati.com

Their announced platform includes a detailed plan to improve the living conditions in our city, and addresses problems of affordability, mobility, waste management, air quality, public spaces, basic services and municipal governance.

They have 10 promises:

1. Improve urban mobility
2. Improve greenery and public spaces
3. Make housing more affordable
4. Implement an integrated solid waste management strategy
5. Protect and develop Beirut’s built and natural heritage
6. Build community spaces and services
7. Integrate social justice, poverty alleviation and socio-economic development
8. Integrate principles of environmental sustainability
9. Prioritize the health and safety of all city dwellers
10. Improve the organizational structure of the Municipality

Image via Beirutmadinati.com

Since forming earlier in the year, the group has swelled to more than 250 members and has more than 800 volunteers, all of whom have come together with a desire to improve Beirut. Even those who are not from the city can contribute to the campaign by volunteering and getting voters to commit, as the program not only affects those who live in Beirut but those who work and study there too.

Perhaps most importantly, Beirut Madinati is all about transparency, and will be posting all public documentation related to the elections and their funding online. You can even visit their offices in Badaro at 7 PM every Monday for an Open House and bring your questions, solutions, and any ideas you have for them to address.

Image via Dailystar.com.lb

Beirut Madinati has a chance at winning, and the power to make a change is in our hands and through our voices. It’s time to stop being passive, and to be active; it’s time to reclaim our Beirut.

You can keep up with Beirut Madinati’s activities through their Facebook Page and website.

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