Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chan_Territory 2_Refuge

Site: Gaza Strip
Players: Israel and Palestine, United Nations Relief and Works Agency
Conflict: Recognition

Intro: As one of the long running conflicts of our time, unresolved Palestine-Israel disputes from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War have resulted in the spatial displacement of refugees. The most notable is the Gaza Strip, where development is constantly thwarted by political groups. The population exceeds 1.6 million people with a staggering percentage descendants of refugees. For a strip of land approximately 140 square miles, density has hit a peak. Israel refuses to acknowledge it's independence while Hamas attempts to establish it's own governance. It is not only perceived as a real territorial issue by both parties, but a matter of religious recognition. However, organizations such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency or Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, have negotiated the ability to go between the two sides on the periphery of this strip.

Case Studies/Discursive Material:
Brookings Institute (http://www.brookings.edu/topics/arab-israeli-relations.aspx)
Syrian Uprisings (http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/thousands-of-palestinians-flee-syria-refugee-camp-as-assad-forces-shell-latakia-1.378782)


  1. Gaza is an interesting place when discussing power structures and societies that exist outside of the structures of recognized nation states. I want to hear more about your ideas about what specific interventions at the architectural scale happen because of this situation. There's the tunnel to Egypt, rocket launches from high-rise apartment blocks, the wall of course, etc. Because the powers that control the strip are in a way acting in defiance of the world system, what has that caused to emerge that might be unique within that system?

  2. Huge political focus here, which is fine, but it can become a loud player in the project. And, it is a big territory to take on. I can see conflict resolution institutes, or a kind of shared occupied space based on some kind of program that unites people. Maybe that's nothing like what you were thinking but I'm just throwing things out there- things that come to mind. It's tricky because it's not a project that wants to solve a dispute- I think we'd both agree it would be naive to argue that an architecture will make the Israeli Palestine conflict go away, but there could be something there- making apparent the conflict- explicating histories... not sure what the goal is. What are the ways or architectural devices that function in this territory? Is it a fruitful area for investigation? Where do you see an architecture intervening/ creating leverage or equalizing? How? All questions I'm sure you can't answer right away but let them be framing device, a way to focus the study down to something tangible to make necessary diplomacy at an architectural scale.