Urban & Spatial Development in Glocal Palestine: The Case of Rawabi
Alessandra Terenzi

The different settlement strategies of the late century and the violence of the ongoing conflicts are reflected on urban and rural landscapes, leading to situations where any previous identity of place seems to have been lost. This covers only the surface of territorial conformations: underneath the current urban sprawl lye ancient structures of the deeprooted history of Palestine, lines of force for the present landscape. Even today the urban pattern mostly follows the ancient corridors of connection, today fragmented by several cuts. While, in about one century, no new towns were founded, during the last decades, with the significant population growth, more than five hundred small villages have spread spontaneously, but often without any primary services, while hundreds of new Israeli settlements, favouring the emergence of new global practices, further worsened the conditions of urban services and infrastructure networks. Since 1967 the absence of any Palestinian local plan highlighted the unbalanced planning with the Israeli side, a globalized context with a long urbanization process. Some existing crowded cities underwent uncontrolled expansion and urban sprawl, compromising the cultural heritage sites and the agricultural sector, strategic not only economically, but even for the identity and the cultural roots of the country. Over the last years, under the PNA government, housing and infrastructure projects witnessed major developments, focusing both on existing cities - for increasing the functional vocation of each one and the density within built-up areas - as well as on new towns. Rawabi, the first city planned under the Palestinian Authority, is an example where to investigate the hybrid character of “glocal” in today’s Palestine, where the traditional relations of the village of origin, the strongest element of identity, merge together with a new sense of urban identity.By considering some cases of spatial and urban transformations, this paper would try to investigate the cultural impact of social and economic globalization on the Palestinian landscape, as well as the relation between local culture and a modern character that, framed in global urban dimensions and related to the Israeli occupation, is sometimes unable to meet the real local needs.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jea.v2n2a15