Urban Planning In Its Most Primitive Form

The emerging and controversial Israeli barrier wall is in some ways a model of planning reduced to its most primitive goal: separation.

"...[T]he proposed 725-kilometer, or 450-mile, barrier is a model of planning reduced to its most primitive -- the desire to divide black from white, us from them. Conceived in 2002 to protect Israel from terrorists, it has been extolled as a necessary tool for self-preservation. It has also been assailed as a formula for ghettoization and a symbol of colonialism.

But on a fundamental level, it is also a piece of architecture. And its construction has generated an architectural debate as charged as any in the political realm.

That debate has pitted strategists who mine the leftist architectural theories of the 1960s for ideas on contemporary urban warfare against architects who see the barrier as a perversion of those ideas, along with the utopian visions of Modernists who believed society's problems could be solved with concrete, glass and steel. It is not only unfolding in the halls of academia but in Israeli and American military circles. And it presents a vision of the wall as a system of complex, interweaving spaces - some concrete, some invisible - that is far from our normal perception of an international border."

Full Story: As Israeli barrier goes up, views harden on all sides


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