Welcome to the second edition of ISOCARP's magazine Plan, with each edition focused on a place seen through the lens of visiting architects, designers and urban planners. The first three editions of the magazine explain the experiences and ideas of an Urban Planning Advisory Team who visited Gaza and the West Bank in June 2015, and who tried to envision the types of urban environments that might exist in a future State of Palestine.
Not many people are able to visit Gaza, so on page 8 we begin with some facts and photographs before talking to the United Nations Development Programme about their work with the Palestinian people. One recent project of UNDP was to work with UN Habitat and the International Society of City and Regional Planners to assemble our Urban Planning Advisory Team to undertake a spatial visioning exercise for a future State of Palestine, and in the case of Gaza, hold a conversation on how to build back better after the devastation of last year's war.
The team enjoyed talking with Gazan planners and policy makers, to learn more about the challenges of planning for a young and growing population with heavily constrained resources. In this edition we interview the dynamic Dr Nihad Almughany to get his views on planning for Gaza City and Dr Jeremy Dawkins reflects on the team's design workshops and community engagement sessions to set out a possible future spatial vision for Gaza.
The current blockade of Gaza not only supresses socio-economic development, but also fuels a cycle of violence and suffering. For Gaza to realise its full potential, not only does the blockade need to be lifted, productive places need to be created. On page 37, The Portland Trust gives an overview of the economic climate in Gaza. One sector particularly disadvantaged by the blockade is Gaza's agricultural industry, and given the worrying rates of malnutrition, it is particularly important to consider the role of farming in Gaza then, now, and next (page 41).
On page 44, Stefan Netsch interviews young Gazans on their hopes for the future and we take a look at the Gaza Sky Geeks, an incubator for talented entrepreneurs aiming to leap the blockade and create local jobs through technology.
For the economy of Gaza to recover, critical environmental constraints also need to be addressed. On page 48, Martina van Lierop introduces Wadi Gaza, flowing from the Negev Mountains to the Mediterranean, the Wadi is an important stopover for migratory birds, yet suffers from severe environmental degradation. Ghada Zeiada then shows how a lack of building and energy resources need not prove a barrier to creating beautiful, sustainable buildings (page 51). On page 46, we give Gaza the High Line treatment and picture how a former rail line might be reinvented as a sustainable transport link.
The enforced, physical separation of Gaza is a rare but not unprecedented situation, and on page 54 Gizem Caner talks about the division of the city Nicosia, Cyprus. On page 59, Julien Giquel explains the special relationships between Gaza and its twin cities, focusing on how it came to be tied with the French city of Dunkirk. In the final part of our magazine we also look at the other side of Gaza, one not often shared with the world, but sparkling with creativity, humour and a zest for life. From delicious local delicacies (page 62), urban surfers (page 53), contemporary art and a red carpet premier with a difference. On page 56, Muneer Elbaz and Salem Al Qudwa also take us on a tour of the last souk in Gaza and share some of the incredible built heritage that remains in a place with a 4,000 year old history of human settlement.
This magazine has been created thanks to the goodwill (and sleepless nights) of a great team of urbanists brought together by ISOCARP for UNDP and UN Habitat - we hope that you enjoy the magazine and, one day, also get the chance to walk the streets of Gaza.
Elizabeth Reynolds, editor.