The global housing crisis seen from Palestine/Israel: Producing the colonial present, one new city at a time

Authors: Oded Haas*, York University
Topics: Urban Geography, Global Change, Middle East
Keywords: Housing, New cities, Palestine, Israel,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Balcony A, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Comparing new cities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel, this paper examines how global processes of urbanisation and particular struggles of Palestinian nationalism are mutually defined. Looking at solutions to a ‘housing crisis’ in the Palestinian middle-class reveals deep similarities in housing policy and design, urban form and dispossession from lands, suggesting an overarching process of neoliberal (sub)urbanisation. At the same time, these cases imply a continuous state project, explicable by the spatial legacies of Zionist settlement in Palestine that are now re-produced through privatised urban development. The stories of Rawabi in the West Bank and Tantour in the Galilee region in Israel recount the production of space in substantially different contexts, yet emerge as interconnected spatialities of the colonial present rather than mere instances of a universal process that advances globally. Significantly, relying on the perspectives of Palestinian citizens of Israel (PCI) on land and housing and their role in anti-colonial resistance enables to address how the housing crisis itself is produced by the particular political regime. The very universality of neoliberal solutions to a global housing crisis is manipulated by the state, to rationalise present tactics of colonial domination. Such comparison further engenders a postcolonial perspective that is set in local struggle, which, in turn, reveals how current Israeli and Palestinian urbanisations – rather than the former determining the latter – are mutually produced by, and re-producing the colonised space of Palestine/Israel as a whole.

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