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Divided Cities

Belfast, Beirut, Jerusalem, Mostar, and Nicosia

By Jon Calame and Esther Charlesworth. Foreword by Lebbeus Woods

Publication Year: 2011

In Jerusalem, Israeli and Jordanian militias patrolled a fortified, impassable Green Line from 1948 until 1967. In Nicosia, two walls and a buffer zone have segregated Turkish and Greek Cypriots since 1963. In Belfast, "peaceline" barricades have separated working-class Catholics and Protestants since 1969. In Beirut, civil war from 1974 until 1990 turned a cosmopolitan city into a lethal patchwork of ethnic enclaves. In Mostar, the Croatian and Bosniak communities have occupied two autonomous sectors since 1993. These cities were not destined for partition by their social or political histories. They were partitioned by politicians, citizens, and engineers according to limited information, short-range plans, and often dubious motives. How did it happen? How can it be avoided?

Divided Cities explores the logic of violent urban partition along ethnic lines—when it occurs, who supports it, what it costs, and why seemingly healthy cities succumb to it. Planning and conservation experts Jon Calame and Esther Charlesworth offer a warning beacon to a growing class of cities torn apart by ethnic rivals. Field-based investigations in Beirut, Belfast, Jerusalem, Mostar, and Nicosia are coupled with scholarly research to illuminate the history of urban dividing lines, the social impacts of physical partition, and the assorted professional responses to "self-imposed apartheid." Through interviews with people on both sides of a divide—residents, politicians, taxi drivers, built-environment professionals, cultural critics, and journalists—they compare the evolution of each urban partition along with its social impacts. The patterns that emerge support an assertion that division is a gradual, predictable, and avoidable occurrence that ultimately impedes intercommunal cooperation. With the voices of divided-city residents, updated partition maps, and previously unpublished photographs, Divided Cities illuminates the enormous costs of physical segregation.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Series: The City in the Twenty-First Century

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. v

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pp. vii-viii

The five cities under study in this book are vitally important to an understanding of the contemporary world. Each is different, in that each emerges from a unique historical background, belonging to a quite particular and localized set of cultural conditions. Yet, each shares with the others a common set of existential factors, belonging to what we might call an ...

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pp. ix-xi

This book is the result of research conducted between 1998 and 2003 in five ethnically partitioned cities: Belfast, Beirut, Jerusalem, Nicosia, and Mostar. As it went to press in 2008, Beirut still smoldered in the wake of new clashes between Hezbollah and Israel, Baghdad neighborhoods were partitioned according to religious sect, and racial divisions in New Orleans ...

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Chapter 1: Warning Beacons

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pp. 1-18

This book compares five internally partitioned cities: Belfast, where ‘‘peacelines’’ have separated working-class Catholic and Protestant residents since ‘‘the Troubles’’ began in 1968; Beirut, where seventeen years of civil war and a volatile ‘‘Ligne de demarcation’’ made the city into a sectarian labyrinth; Jerusalem, where Israeli and Jordanian militias patroled ...

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Chapter 2: Cities and Physical Segregation

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pp. 19-36

Cities and walls have a long, intertwined history. Physical barricades have historically provided a functional separation between civilized and uncivilized domains for resident communities. Following the disintegration of the Roman Empire in medieval Europe, for instance, it was generally better for the traveler to be inside the city walls when the sun set and, as a rule ‘‘one ...

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Chapter 3: Beirut

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pp. 37-60

A Shi‘ite sniper named Taha spent fourteen years on the top floor of the high-rise Shmona Building in West Beirut, firing Russian B107 artillery shells at nearby targets as part of an ongoing campaign to kill Phalangist militiamen. During the Israeli invasion of Beirut, Taha suffered severe injuries to his hands—the most vulnerable part of a sniper nested in a heavily ...

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Chapter 4: Belfast

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pp. 61-82

Paul M. lives with his family on Madrid Street in the isolated Catholic enclave of Short Strand. Madrid Street runs perpendicular to the local interface separating Catholic and Protestant communities in the neighborhood, and due to its proximity to both it has become an informal battleground, like those straddling many similar thresholds in Belfast. Though he admits ...

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Chapter 5: Jerusalem

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pp. 83-102

In 2002 an Israeli scholar named Yehezkel Lein was on his way from his office in West Jerusalem to an appointment at the United Nations headquarters in East Jerusalem. The building is a ten-minute drive north from Damascus Gate along Nablus road, a major artery in that part of the city. But Mr. Lein had a problem: his taxi driver had never been there. The ...

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Chapter 6: Mostar

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pp. 103-120

Lejla was fourteen when the first phase of interethnic conflict began in Mostar. Her family had been in the city for generations, and her relatives in Mostar resided on both the old and new sides of the town. When Serbian extremists took control of the Yugoslav national army in 1992 and used it to punish Mostar for following the secession of Bosnia-Herzegovina from ...

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Chapter 7: Nicosia

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pp. 121-142

In the 1980s a Turkish-speaking Cypriot civil engineer named Nevzat Öznel was sent to Canada for training, together with Greek-speaking Cypriot colleagues. Because it was assumed that Greek- and Turkish-speaking Cypriots would prefer to remain separate when abroad, as they were at home, expense accounts for the trip provided each traveler with a hotel room for the ...

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Chapter 8: Breaching the Urban Contract

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pp. 143-166

Urban walls have long constituted an outward sign and guarantee of the social contract binding city managers to citizens. Historically, perimeter walls promised a stable, passive security infrastructure as a prerequisite for sustained economic and cultural development. Citizens of such hemmed in cities offered their services in a dense, diversified, relatively expensive ...

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Chapter 9: Professional Responses to Partition

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pp. 167-204

Effective and equitable professional responses to urban partition are rare. For experts trained to solve problems in the built environment—urban planners, architects, and conservators—the divided city presents a nightmare scenario for which surefire remedies do not exist. Split, suffocating cities do not frequently appear in textbooks, and the complications of ethnic violence are generally assumed to be the concern ...

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Chapter 10: Patterns

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pp. 205-236

These five cities are linked by similar episodes of development in similar sequences. The patterns are easily discerned and characterize a class of cities violently impacted, and ultimately reshaped, by involuntary ethnic partition. Recognition of the patterns may require concurrent recognition of a moral obligation to confront the problem of urban apartheid in ...

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Epilogue: Jerusalem Redivided

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pp. 237-242

Immediately following the conquest of East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War, senior commander Moshe Dayan issued two controversial orders to the Israeli army: relinquish direct control over the Temple Mount and dismantle the Green Line. The social and political utility of the partition, which Dayan coauthored in 1948, had long since expired in the eyes ...

Works Cited

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pp. 243-254


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pp. 255-260

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pp. 261

Research in support of this book took place gradually over the years 1998–2003. We called upon dozens of strangers in each of the cities we studied—politicians, planners, residents, journalists—and were met with generosity in every instance. These sources addressed our questions with candor and a shared interest in the riddle of partition. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780812206852
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812221954

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: The City in the Twenty-First Century