Housing in jerusalem: from a flourishing hope to slow “urbicide”
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Urbicide, domicide and memoricide are terms associated with destruction, whether of the tangible or intangible human and spatial capital. This paper discusses how, as a result of the Israeli imposed geopolitical map in Jerusalem, another face of these three “cides” is experienced. The Dahiyat al-Bareed neighbourhood, built in 1958, demarcated outside the municipal boundaries after 1967 and outside the Separation Wall boundaries after 2002, is used as a case study. The study illustrates how both the political conflict and the produced geopolitical map have indirectly forced the inhabitants of Dahiyat al-Bareed to abandon their homes. They need to reside in apartments within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem to maintain their legal status in the city. This produced a gradual process of domicide, memoricide and eventually, slow urbicide in the Dahiyat al-Bareed neighbourhood. The three “-cide” attack is tackled by the owners as a survival dynamic. This is done by deliberately accentuating neglect and decay of the built structures to camouflage the owners’ sporadic presence and to affirm the abandonment dynamic. The study discusses the dynamics of the urban battle-ground in three ways: By reading trails through architecture and the measures Palestinians use to hold on to their homes, by observing and analysing the deliberate changes on the buildings and gardens designed to expose abandonment and withering, and through interviews with the owners of the houses. The purposeful withering and decay of spaces within the neighbourhood produces a state-of-being torn between the past place of dwelling and the new place of residence. This perpetuates a continuous dual conflict which inflicts a chronic trauma within the experience and memories of their homes as they tackle the memoricide dynamic. The study shows that the tensious choice of practicing a sense of dwelling beholds lengthy suffering inflicted by political injustice.