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Loose ends: the role of architecture in constructing urban borders in Tel Aviv–Jaffa since the 1920s

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A border is an ideological socio‐cultural construct by which communities define and defend their territory. But what are its formal and spatial configurations? How is the border architecturally conceived and perceived? This paper investigates these questions through analysis of three border typologies – the door, the bridge and the gateway – fostering a new discussion of architecture as a border‐making practice. It also relates to how architects and planners contribute to conflict, and to ethnic and physical barrier‐making by not being fully aware of the cultural and political implications of their actions. These ideas are discussed in the context of Israel/Palestine and the dynamic of the demarcation and separation between Israelis and Palestinians since the early twentieth century. It focuses specifically on the border zone between Tel Aviv and Jaffa, the Menshiyeh quarter. By examining border‐making from architectural and urban perspectives, the paper expands the political‐historical discussion of Israeli boundaries and clarifies the relationships between conflict (destruction), architecture (construction) and the everyday life of groups and individuals in today's world of modern nationalism.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139‐7‐337, USA 2: Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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