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Title: Changing urban morphology, colonial and neoliberal footprints: a case from west bank, Palestine
Authors: Thawaba, Salem A. 
Hassoun, Hiba 
Keywords: Urban morphology - West Bank - Palestine;Urban geography - West Bank - Palestine;City and town life - West Bank - Palestine;Cultural property - Protection - West Bank - Palestine
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Journal of Urbanism
Abstract: The West Bank (W.B.) is a land of political conflict defined by its geopolitical constraints and diverse urban forms. Human settlements in the W.B. are diverse, as they include rural areas, urban centers, refugee camps, new pre-planned neighborhoods, and Israeli colonies. Rural areas are regions that have vernacular architecture with an organic layout. Cities are urban centers that expanded from their original historical cores. Refugee camps are permanent shelters that were established to host displaced Palestinians. New neighborhoods/suburbs are neoliberal and modern developments established by investors around major cities. Israeli colonies are areas established by Israeli occupation authorities since the 1970s designed to host Jewish immigrants. These different urban forms are apparent in the W.B landscape and can be easily seen in almost every sub-region. According to the Oslo interim agreement (The peace agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1994) the W.B. (5,500 Km2) land was divided into three jurisdiction zones: Areas A, B, and C. Area A consists of land under full civilian and security control by the Palestinians (18%). Area B is a land under Palestinian civil control and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control (22%). 60% is considered Area C, which is under full Israeli civilian and security control. Different land jurisdiction constraints force limitations and certain rules on urban development typologies and morphology on the varying Palestinian communities in the W.B. The different regimes that ruled the W.B. in the past century have heavily affected Palestinian communities. After the 1948 war, thousands of Palestinian refugees settled in the W.B. around major towns. In 1967, the W.B. was occupied by Israeli forces, who then started to build colonies for Jewish immigrants around Palestinian communities and in remote areas. After the signing of the Oslo agreement, Palestinians built new projects, mainly residential ones, in areas under their jurisdiction: villages, towns, and cities in areas A and B. New forms of development were established during the past two decades in and around Palestinian communities in the W.B. The aim of this paper is to shed light on the changes of built environments under the changing geopolitical context in the W.B. This paper examines the urban morphology of four settlements: Atara, an indigenous Palestinian village, Al-Jalazon, a refugee camp, Rawabi, a new Palestinian pre-planned suburb, and Beit El, a Jewish colony. Each of these cases represented a different setting and different urban form (indigenous community, refugee camp, neoliberal project and colonial settlement). All are located on the northeastern side of Ramallah, and can be considered a part of the Ramallah-Jerusalem Bethlehem conurbation. The morphological elements were analyzed to highlight the changes on the built form due to colonial and neoliberal interventions.
DOI: 10.1080/17549175.2022.2150269
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