Feature of Urban Planning in Palestine

EMAD DAWWAS's picture
Course Code: 
Course Outline: 


The main objective of this class is to introduce the urban planning features in Palestine since the late 19th century to the present time. The class will track the evolution of the planning profession including the planning practices and their driving policies and regulations since the Ottoman period (before 1917), passing through the British Mandate (1917-1948), Jordanian Rule 1948-1967), Israeli Occupation periods (1967-1993), and ending with Palestinian Authority period (1993-the present time).

Each planning period will be studied by investigating three features:

1.      Geopolitical Changes

2.      Planning Regulations and Laws

3.      Challenges for the planning practice:

·         Political challenges;

·         Technical challenges;

·         Socioeconomic and cultural challenges;

All topics will be discussed in a broader context of colonial and post-colonial planning and planning contested space under high geopolitical instability.


By the end of the class, students will be able:

  1. To demonstrate an understanding of planning laws that have been adopted from different governments in Palestine for the last century; 25%
  2. To demonstrate an understanding of the dialectic relation between geopolitics and urban and regional planning; 25%
  3. To understand the challenges of the urban planning profession and practices within Palestinian context: political challenges, technical challenges, socioeconomic and cultural challenges; 35%
  4. To understand the physical planning prospects in historical Palestine (occupied Palestine in 1948, West Bank and Gaza) 15%






3 to 5 short-term assignments


Midterm Exam

Covers materials up to 8th or 10th week


Final Exam

Project and presentation: 30%


Written exam: 30%





Part I: Ottoman Planning System

Before 1917

Pensler, 1991

Stein, 1985

Week 2 – Week 4

18/08 – 07/09/2013

Part II: British Mandate Planning System 1917 – 1948

Coon, 1992

McTague, 1982

El-Eini, 2006 (ch1)

El-Eini, 2006 (ch4)

Week 5 – Week 7

08/09 – 28/09/2013

Midterm Exam


Week 8

29/09 – 05/10/2013

Part III: Jordanian Planning System

1948 – 1967

Coon, 1992

Rishmawi, 1986

Week 9 – Week 10

06/10 – 26/10/2013

Part IV: Israeli Occupation Planning System 1967 – 1993

Abdulhadi, 1991

B'TSELEM, 2002

Coon, 1992

Khamaise, 1997

Lustick, 1981

Rishmawi, 1986

Week 11 – Week 13

27/10 – 16/11/2013

Part V: Palestinian Authority Planning System 1993 – present

Abdelhamid, 2006

BIMKOM, 2008

B'TSELEM, 2004

Khamaise, 1998

MOPIC, 2006

Nakhleh, 2004

Week 14 – End of Sem.

17/11 – 30/11/2013

Final Exam


Last Week

01/12 - 07/12/2013


In all assignments students are required to handle a two-page document to the instructor and to their colleagues. For each assignment, they will do a 10-minute presentation and open a discussion about their topic during the class.

Paper Review (at least one assignment)

Students are to do at least one paper review in which they summarize and highlight the planning aspects and their interaction with the geopolitical aspects. The papers will mainly focus on the planning practices in the historical Palestine (occupied in 1948).

Paper Critique (at least two assignments):

Students are to do at least two paper critique assignments. Both papers should be peer reviewed journal articles and MUST be relevant to the class topics. It is also highly recommended that students select papers that are in close relevance to their final project topics. Therefore, students should define their project topics by the due date of these assignments.

Keep in mind that the main purpose of this exercise is to enable you to become more familiar with the research in your field of interest, and to recognize the range of different approaches that are being followed to answer research questions similar (but not identical) to yours.

Hints on Paper Critique Assignments:

In these assignments students are expected to answer the following questions:

  1. Find a peer reviewed journal that focuses on some aspects of your field of interest.
  2. Select an article from the selected journal. Read through the abstract, and skim read the article. Write down the title of the article and the journal from which it came. Then, based upon your understanding of the abstract, write down the research question that you think the researchers were interested in answering. If you cannot determine the question from the title or by reading the abstract, examine the last paragraph of the introduction, just preceding the methods section, to see if the authors state the purpose of the investigation.
  3. Your critique should be focused on:
    • The connection between the research question and the hypotheses;
    • The methodology and its appropriateness to test the hypotheses;
    • To what extent do the results answer the research question?
    • How do you evaluate the objectivity of the author/s?


Students will be working on topics that will be selected from a list of topics during the second or the third week of the semester. Students, however, can work on their own project topics if they introduce good ideas that fit in the class topics, and if they make strong arguments about their suggested topics.

Project Description:

As part of the class, you are required to work on your own project.  The project aims in the first place to give you the kind of insight in a topic that is in relation to the class subjects but cannot be discussed in detail in the classroom lectures or short-term homework assignments. You are to pick a subject from the list of subjects that interests you, and to review the corresponding literature and to collect the required data, if needed.

The project should be designed such that students will gain the experience of how to collect, organize and analyze the literature and to think critically about the issues they deal with. More details will be discussed by the end of the semester.

Final Paper Contents and Organization:

•         Your report should be:

o   Typed in English;

o   Font type: Times New Romans;

o   Font size: 12 pnt;

o   Spacing: double;

o   Paper size: A4

•        Properly cited

•        Supplemented with descriptive graphs including:

o   If your project includes maps, they should be with suitable and clear colors, appropriate symbology, labels, title, legend, north arrow, scale bar………etc.

o   Diagrams, pie charts, bar charts, tables, …………………etc. with appropriate titles and clear description inside your document.

•        Organized as follows:

Ø  Title page

Ø  Table of contents

Ø  Introduction: problem definition, well-defined research question(s) and hypotheses

Ø  Literature review

Ø  Methodology

Ø  Analysis, Results and Discussion

Ø  Conclusions and Recommendations

Ø  References

Materials to be submitted:

1)      Final Report printed on A4 and should be colored and organized as mentioned above;

2)      A CD including the following items: the final report in PDF format, the mid-point presentation and the final presentation.



1)      Midpoint Presentation: in this presentation you should answer the following questions:

ð  What you want to do

ð  How you will  do it (flowchart)

ð  Where you are at this point

2)      Final Presentation


Abdelhamid, A. (2006). Urban Development and Planning in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Impacts on Urban Form. Presented in the Conference on Nordic and International Urban Morphology, September 2006, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden.

Abdulhadi, R. (1990). Land use planning in the occupied Palestinian territories. Journal of Palestine studies. 19 (4), 46-63.

BIMKOM, (2008). The Prohibited Zone Israeli planning policy in the Palestinian villages in Area C. Retrieved on June 13, 2010, from: http://www.bimkom.org/eng/wp-content/uploads/ProhibitedZoneAbstract.pdf

B'TSELEM -The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (2004). Forbidden Roads: Israel’s Discriminatory Road Regime in the West Bank. Retrieved on May 3, 2007, from http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/.

B'TSELEM-The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (2002). Land Grab. Jerusalem. Retrieved on October 17, 2008, from http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/.

Coon, A. (1992). Town planning under military occupation : an examination of the law and practice of town planning in the occupied West Bank. Aldershot Hants:England ;Brookfield VT: Dartmouth.

El-Eini, R. (2006). Ch 1 and Ch 4 in Mandated Landscape: British Imperial Rule in Palestine, 1929 – 1948. Routledge: London and New York.

Khamaisi, R. (1998). Planning During a Conditional Transitional Period-Palestine. Presented in Development Planning in the Occupied PalestinainTerretories: Present Problems and Future Challenges Conference held at An-Najah National University, Nablus-West Bank.

Khamaise, R. (1997). Israeli use of the British Mandate planning legacy as a tool for the control of Palestinians in the West Bank. Planning Perspectives, 12(3), 321-340.

McTague, J. (1982). Anglo-French Negotiations over the Boundaries of Palestine, 1919-1920. Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Winter, 1982), pp. 100-112

MOPIC (2006). Emergency Support Program to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Publications of MOPIC 2006.

Nakhleh, (2004). The Myth of Palestinian Development: Political Aid and Sustainable Deceit. PASSIA, Jerusalem.

Pensler, D. (1991). Zionism and Technocracy: The Engineering of Jewish Settlement in Palestine, 1870-1918. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data.

Rishmawi, M. (1986). Planning in Whose Interest?: Land Use Planning as a Strategy for Judaization. Journal of Palestine Studies, 16(2), 105-116.

Stein, K. (1985).  The Land Question in Palestine, 1917-1939. University of North Carolina Press.