The architecture of ethnic logic: Exploring the meaning of the built environment in the 'mixed' city of lop - Israel

Haim Yacobi

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40 Scopus citations


This article analyses the evolution of the built environment in Israel's 'mixed cities' in Israel; sites shaped by the logic of ethno-nationalism, and characterized by patterns of segregation between the Jewish dominant majority and the Arab subordinate minority. The paper investigates the changes and dynamics of the urban landscape from the British Mandate period to recent times, focusing on the interrelations between ideology and architecture in its wider sense, i.e. referring to the practices of urban design and planning. The production of urban landscapes in Israeli 'mixed cities', I will argue, is a result of the social construction of an ethnic logic, and thus cannot be seen as autonomous from the existing socio-political context. Rather, I would propose, the architecture of the 'mixed city' reflects on one hand, and shapes on the other the struggle over identity, memory and belonging, rooted in urban colonialism discourse. Empirically, this paper focuses on the city of Lod/Lydda where as in other previously Palestinian cities, a strategy of colonization had been implemented, forming the city's central planning policy since the Mandate period. The paper analyzes in detail various aspects and sites of this process, and explores the role of planners and architects in the construction of a sense of place in tangible as well as discursive levels, which are often neglected in the body of knowledge that deals with urban-ethnic conflicts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-187
Number of pages17
JournalGeografiska Annaler, Series B: Human Geography
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002


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