Designing Civic Encounter

Documents and Discussions on Urban Transformation in the Arab World

ArtTerritories is pleased to announce Designing Civic Encounter, an online publication engaging in existing and potential forms of urban development and public culture in Arab cities, with a focus on Palestine.

The publication compiles video documentations generated from the Designing Civic Encounter events that took place in Ramallah between July 21-24, and also features art works and newly commissioned texts and photographs.

Designing Civic Encounter opened a forum in the real for the inquiry and discussion of the public urban experience under the current trends in planning, financing and building practices. Conceived as a vibrant multimedia laboratory of ideas and debates, the events unfolded through an urban bus tour traversing urban locations within and around Ramallah city enabling debates and conversations at different stations, a two-day Symposium on questions of urban transformations in Palestinian and Arab cities, and a full day workshop with visionary social architect Teddy Cruz.

Although Ramallah is a relatively small city, it has experienced radical urban expansions and population growth since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 and the consequent establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1996. Real Estate is the main target for foreign corporate investment today.

The distinctive urban landscapes under consideration are emblematic of wider political issues taking place in Palestine. In a close reading of contemporary urban restructuring in the region, the contributions bring to light that the Palestinian context is not as unique and isolated as it may appear but in fact shares many commonalities with rapid developments in Beirut, Amman and Dubai.

With contributions from an active local and international roster of architects, artists, educators, community activists and politicians now made available online through ArtTerritories’ platform, we hope that this can be a means of continuing the discussion and debates, but also a useful pedagogical tool and reference on a complex subject. To navigate through these contributions follow this link-Designing Civic Encounter.

We would like to thank Rosa Luxemburg Foundation for their generous support of this project, Sharek Youth Forum for hosting the events, and Riwaq-Centre For Architectural Conservation for sponsoring the Urban Bus Tour.