Beyond Enclaves in Palestine (Part 4)

In this series about planning in Palestine we’ve looked at three alternative ‘plans’. The first, thankfully, will never be built (although, chillingly, it’s really just a vision of present segregated reality). The second may well be built (though it would take a dramatic turnaround in political will). The third offers a glimpse of a progress-free future where nothing gets built (which is wholly unrealistic, given large population increases in the next 20 years).

These three visions of a future Palestine raise some important political questions and they show how spatial planning can focus the political process on actually getting things done. Here are some of the issues: Continue reading

Beyond Enclaves in Palestine (Part 3)

What future can be planned for Palestine?

So far in this series we’ve looked at a nightmare sci-fi segregationalism generated merely from revealing the implications of the Oslo Accords as architectural impressions. We’ve also looked at a much more positive  spatial plan to develop a central north-south transit corridor, linking most of the main settlements and directing future urban growth without sprawl. The architectural student, the leading planner, what, thirdly,  would an artist have to offer in terms of a vision for Palestine? Continue reading

Beyond enclaves in Palestine: Constructing the physical reality of territorial integrity (Part 1)

I’ve been struck recently by three somewhat contrasting visions of physical development for a future Palestine.

Palestine. Perhaps nowhere else on earth has the philosophy of space been so consistently conceived as a weapon.

The sophistication of the manipulation of space for military and political purposes in the West Bank and Gaza has made the Berlin Wall and the DMZ look dumb by comparison, and the East/West Belfast sectarian divide seem distinctly amateur. Israel has pursued a policy of redefining its own spatial limitations by ‘walking through walls’ at the same time as constraining the movement of others by establishing new spatial limits ‘seam-line obstacles’ and ‘depth barriers’, contesting both below and above in what architect Eyal Weizman has called a ‘Hollow Land’. Continue reading