Click on the image to start the Presentation of the West Bank and Gaza UPAT workshop
The West Bank and Gaza UPAT workshops, 7-14 June 2015
The Urban Planning Advisory Team (UPAT) workshop programme is a service that ISOCARP, the International Society of City and Regional Planners, provides to cities and regions worldwide. Since 1965, ISOCARP brings together individual and institutional members from more than 80 countries, who collectively seek to improve cities and territories through planning practice, training, education and research. ISOCARP is based in Den Hague and is formally recognised by the United Nations and the Council of Europe and has formal consultative status with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
Since 2004 ISOCARP has organised more than 22 UPAT workshops all over the world countries including China, Mexico, Russia, Spain, USA, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Singapore. Repeated requests from these countries show a strong demand for expertise and independent advice from international teams of planning and design professionals. These UPAT workshops are made up of between five and nine planning and design professionals who are brought together from around the world for an intensive week of devising creative solutions and strategic advice in response to specific urban challenges. The teams consists of a Team Leader and a Team Rapporteur, plus two to four senior planners and two young planning professionals – teams that offer a broad variety of complementary skills and experience.
The strength of ISOCARP’s approach lies in the diversity of each team, with a context and perspective that is entirely exclusive to a certain location and point in time. Bringing together ISOCARP members and local professionals creates a certain momentum resulting in creative and robust strategies and proposals. Over the course of their visit to the host city, the team will have undertaken field investigations, spoken to local counterparts and community stakeholders, hosted design sessions and presented their interim findings. Following the UPAT workshop a professional publication concludes the research and suggested urban response then presents the final results at a dedicated seminar at the ISOCARP annual congress.
West Bank and Gaza area are in need of new approaches to ensure the future liveability and prosperity of their communities, citizens and enterprises. First of all, this region must ensure that basic needs are met for food, housing, safety, utilities and amenities, education and culture, healthcare and mobility. Secondly, cities should make use of the potential, creativity and talent of their inhabitants. Thirdly, urban development must preserve and restore natural and cultural assets to ensure that modern, liveable communities still have a link with their historical past.
The UPAT held between 7th and 14th June 2015 on ‘Capacity Building and Test Planning Exercises for the West Bank and Gaza’, is perhaps the most ambitious UPAT organised by ISOCARP to date. The team, and all those they engaged with, were asked to look beyond the present situation of physical and institutional barriers that separate the territories of Israel and a future state of Palestine, and consider the 1967 borders (or Armistice Line) as fully open for travel and trade. From this starting point, the challenges to be addressed included how to enable future urban development in the West Bank and Gaza; enhance public transport and create urban linkages with Transit Oriented Development; protect vulnerable landscapes, natural resources, cultural and religious heritage; and to enhance industries, trade, tourism and the economy in the region.
The objective of both UPAT workshops was to develop simple, practical and original solutions to improve the quality of life in the region and that can be implemented in a National Spatial Plan for the West Bank and Gaza. The UPAT teams were invited to suggest practical visions, designs, implementation tools and steps for both the West Bank and Gaza. The UPAT workshop was regarded as a potential option to develop strategies and policies that are stimulating integrative activities, supporting regions and its communities to become more liveable and sustainable. Those considerations also include capacity building, raising awareness and focus attention of a wider group of people on Palestinian planning problems.
For this UPAT workshop UN Habitat, UNDP and ISOCARP selected two teams who worked in parallel in the West Bank and in Gaza. Local planning professionals supported each of the two teams and all team members gave their time voluntarily. Both international teams met in Jerusalem and after the first common work day, one team headed towards Gaza and the other one to Ramallah. During the two concluding days both teams worked together in Ramallah. The Gaza UPAT team is lead by Jeremy Dawkins (Australia). Other Gaza UPAT team members are Elizabeth Reynolds (UK), Stefan Netsch (Germany), Gizam Caner (Turkey & Cyprus) and Marjo van Lierop (The Netherlands). The West Bank UPAT team is lead by Jeffrey Featherstone (USA). Other Gaza UPAT team members are Katharina Gugerell (Austria), Ghulam Hassan Mir (India), Sébastien Goethals (Belgium) and Parul Agarwala (India). Vice President UPATs Martin Dubbeling divided his time between the two teams.
On the last day of the UPAT workshops, the two UPAT teams jointly presented their findings and experiences of the ISOCARP UPAT for the heartland of the West Bank and Gaza for UNDP, UN-Habitat and Palestinian planners and planning officials. The experiences and the results obtained from the ISOCARP Urban Planning Advisory Team (UPAT) will be published a series of three special editions of a newly launched Magazine. These Magazines also disseminate articles from local partners illustrating their viewpoints. While the first issue of PLAN focuses on the West Bank, the following two editions will cover Gaza Coast and strategies for future Palestine.
I welcome your interest, your remarks and your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Martin Dubbeling, Vice President UPATs.
ir. Martin Dubbeling
Vice President Urban Planning Advisory Teams (UPATs) Programme (2011-2017)
Vice Chair 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee (2013-2015)
ISOCARP, the International Society of City and Regional Planners