“Building Visions for the Future of Jerusalem: A Bottom-Up Approach” is a Leonard Davis Institute (Hebrew University) and Israel-Palestine: Creative Regional Initiatives (IPCRI) collaboration funded by the European Union. The project allowed Israeli and Palestinians residents of Jerusalem—including urban planners, local leaders, students, women, and youths—whose voices are often absents in debates about planning and geopolitical solutions for the city, to learn about their neighbourhoods and envision a future for them and the city as a whole.
The project spanned over a period of three years. In its first stage, we engaged residents of different Jerusalem neighbourhoods—Zur Baher, Armon Hanatziv, Issawiya, A-Turi, Abu-Tor, Sheikh Jarrah and Mount Scopus—to generate equitable solutions to local problems. Through capacity building and participatory techniques we empowered local communities and worked with their residents to create small interventions that can? improve reality on the ground. Community projects envisioned and implemented by the residents included creation of green spaces, public gardens, and libraries, beautifying neighbourhoods and more.
In the final stage of the project, city residents engaged with a wider set of issues going beyond their immediate physical surroundings. Israeli, Palestinian, and mixed groups gathered to talk about four main themes 1) Youth and Education, 2) Public Spaces, 3) Local Political Leadership and 4) Safety and Protection. A photovoice process empowered and inspired participants. Photovoice is a process through which people, typically from disempowered groups, use video and/or photo images to capture aspects and experiences of their environment and share them with others. In addition to generating representations of current realities on each of the four themes, participants were asked to create a new vision images of how reality in their neighbourhoods/city should look like—in other words, their recommendation for change.
The Group outcomes that are presented in this exhibition will be complemented with policy papers designed to contribute to the discussion of short and long-term visions for Jerusalem’s future.
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