People attend the Think Housing competition in Beirut last month. (The Daily Star/Mohamad Azakir)
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With luxury apartments driving up prices and the dissolution of rent-controlled housing one of the last protections for low-income tenants in the city activists and academics are trying to reframe the conversation on affordable housing in Beirut.Public Works Studio, a research and design studio focused on urban issues, last year launched the "Think Housing" competition, inviting professional architects, engineers and students to come up with creative solutions to the chronic lack of affordable housing in the city.The teams responded to a brief to design inclusive solutions for one of five case studies buildings across the capital that presented issues related to the affordable housing crisis.A team of students from the American University of Beirut placed third with a proposal to turn a building in Tariq al-Jadideh comprised of multiple apartments and diverse occupants into a cooperative.According to the team, the total cost of purchasing the 28 apartments would be $1.23 million.However, Feghali said this could still see tenants paying over 10 times as much annual rent, just three years after the law's implementation in 2017 .
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