Chair, Landscape Architecture Without Borders


Title: Humanitarian design in the face of forced displacement **

A new network of displaced people has formed between the areas north and south of the Mediterranean Sea. New political, social and physical geographies are built everyday before the eyes of powerless governments who are unable to handle this influx. This paper examines the condition of displaced Syrian people in Lebanon, focusing on their spatial marginalization and segregation in the urban, peri-urban and rural context. It explores the coping mechanisms used to develop sustainable livelihood strategies. This study is part of an ongoing research on the topic of landscape and migratory conditions with a focus on the displaced Syrian population in Lebanon and bordering countries. The objective is to define liminal paths between humanitarian design, the right to shared landscapes and the wellbeing of communities.
Maria Gabriella Trovato is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management at the American University of Beirut.


Maria Gabriella’s most recent research has focused on the role of landscape in emergencies; her projects include MEDSCAPES, the Landscape Atlas for Lebanon, and the Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism.

She is currently the chair of Landscape Architects Without Borders, a subgroup of IFLA (International Federation of Landscape Architects). Together with a group of international landscape architecture professors she is researching ‘landscapes in emergency’ with a special focus on Syrian informal settlements in Lebanon, exploring how landscape methodologies could allow for a flexible, relational and creative strategy that is capable of managing continuously changing conditions.

Maria Gabriella’s has worked in a number of countries, including Italy, Morocco, Tunisia and Canada, and she has been lead partner in various EU research programs.