diverseLevant: A Diachronic and Iconographic Atlas of Coexistence | Beirut
diverseLevant is an online mapping platform that illustrates the urban evolution of Beirut, over its entire history as well as across its social, cultural, and religious diversity. Primary sources, such as views of the city, historical maps, archeological surveys, and architectural projects are located in time and space while their associated visual and geographic data are integrated across multiple databases (including an open-access digital library of images, a geographic information system, an open source relational database, and a content delivery web service). The relationship between the various project elements produce a web environment where qualitative and quantitative data are simultaneously loaded from an API, rendered across platforms, customized in many views, and probed by users in a system that supports multiple and interconnected expressions of diverse data sources. In light of ongoing sectarian pressures, such a map will underscore the Levant's extraordinary history of coexistence and will allow historians to visualize, temporally and spatially, specific sites of inquiry, be they neighborhoods, parks, buildings, streets, and/or geographic features. Scaled down into a mobile app, tourists and residents can walk about town while visualizing the city as it once was as well as it was once projected. Beirut's urban history is particularly well suited to being captured in such a diachronic web map environment considering how often both its urban fabric and self-representation have changed.