Snakes and ladders game on Mar Mikhael stairway

Gentrification saved two neighborhoods in Beirut: Gemmayzeh and Mar Mikhael. Artists rebranded these areas which now have a unique identity.

Recently, a group of students from the Masters in Urban Planning and Policy program at the American University of Beirut (AUB) painted the snakes and ladders game on one of the signature stairways of Mar Mikhael. The snakes represent the real estate developments in the neighborhood while the ladders symbolize the socio-spatial specificity of Mar Mikhael. Mar Mikhael, which is a low-income residential neighborhood, recently became a hip region and the main destination for people who appreciate art and good vibes.

However, gentrification is taking over Mar Mikhael, and these students fear that new buildings and

commercial centers

will erase this neighborhood’s authenticity.