The Continuous Enclave: Strategies in Bypass Urbanism


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This is at once frightening, dystopian but also plausible within the talk of two states, land-swaps, and the various segments of the peace process. Clinton proposed a bizarre system of separate (read: Palestinian) access points and passageways for the Temple Mount/al Haram al Sharif in 2000. Yet these bypass roads and elevated spaces are talked about in the vaguest and most removed architectural sense in the always vague talk of peace in Palestine. How to preserve the settler-only roads while allowing for contiguous national space on the West Bank? How to connect Gaza and the West Bank? By elevated urban passages — no, enclaves! Of course!

To quote BLDGBLOG:

“This thesis takes a formal approach to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by studying mechanisms of control within the West Bank. The occupation of the West Bank has had tremendous effects on the urban fabric of the region because it operates spatially. Through the conflict, new ways of imagining territory have been needed to multiply a single sovereign territory into many. It is only through the overlapping of two separate political geographies that they are able to inhabit the same landscape.

“The Oslo Accords have been integral to this process of division. By defining various control regimes, the Accords have created a fragmented landscape of isolated Palestinian enclaves and Israeli settlements. The intertwined nature of these fragments makes it impossible to divide the two states easily. By connecting the fragments through a series of under- and overpasses, the border between the two states has shifted vertically.

“One feature of the Oslo Accords is the bypass road which links Israeli settlements to Israel, bypassing Palestinian areas in the process. These are essential to the freedom of movement for the settlers within the Occupied Territories. Extrapolating on the bypass, this thesis explores the ramifications of a continuous infrastructural network linking the fragmented landscape of Palestinian enclaves. In the process, a continuous form of urbanization has been developed to allow for the growth and expansion of the Palestinian state. Ultimately, this thesis questions the potential absurdity of partition strategies within the West Bank and Gaza Strip by attempting to realize them.”
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Two excellent books on the subject of architecture within the occupation of Palestine are Hollow Land by Eyal Weizman and An Aesthetic Occupation by Daniel Bertrand Monk.

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