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Title: Ramallah, in a student encounter
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Authors: Anani, Yazid
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Ibraaz is an online publishing forum
Abstract: In Ramallah, in July, a four-day event entitled 'Designing Civic Encounter' took place. Initiated by online platform ArtTerritories, it was envisioned as a 'series of interventions engaging in existing and potential forms of urban development and public culture' and entailed a two-day symposium encouraging discussion and debate on the subject of Ramallah's urban planning, architecture and development; a bus tour through and around Ramallah; and a day-long workshop with social architect Teddy Cruz. Ramallah's architectural landscape has changed dramatically since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, in part due to a building boom bolstered by foreign investment. In this text for Ibraaz, Yazid Anani, from the Department of Architecture at Birzeit University, corrals the thoughts of some of his students on the many themes that emerged from 'Designing Civic Encounter': their dissatisfaction with Ramallah's neoliberal urban development, which is creating a series of gated and atomised communities; the investment in 'starchitecture' in the Gulf States; and other spatial issues relating to the present-day geography of the Palestinian territories
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