Divided Cities

Divided Cities: Belfast, Beirut, Jerusalem, Mostar, and Nicosia

Jon Calame
Esther Charlesworth
Foreword by Lebbeus Woods
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    Divided Cities
    Book Description:

    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 With the voices of divided-city residents, updated partition maps, and previously unpublished photographs, Divided Cities illuminates the enormous costs of physical segregation.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0685-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Lebbeus Woods

    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 emerging global condition. Prominent among these is sectarianism—a confrontation of differing, though not necessarily opposed, religious beliefs, leading to widespread violence—and a stopgap solution focused on the physical separation of conflicting parties and communities. The other feature shared...

  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xi)
  5. [Illustration]
    (pp. xii-xii)
  6. Chapter 1 Warning Beacons
    (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 the Green Line for nineteen years; Mostar, where Croatian and Bosniak communities split the city along an Austro-Hungarian boulevard into autonomous halves beginning in 1992, and Nicosia, where two walls and a wide buffer zone have segregated Turkish and Greek Cypriots since 1974.

    In each city, urban managers under-estimated growing...

  7. Chapter 2 Cities and Physical Segregation
    (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 was either in or out of the city . . . one belonged or one did not belong” (Mumford 1960: 54). Walls ensured collective security: this was a fundamental part of the early urban contract. The city was a social fortress filled...

  8. Chapter 3 Beirut
    (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 fortified position. Though his brother was killed during the seventeen-year civil war, Taha seems to bear no grudge against his former rivals in Lebanon. He assigns blame for the violence to the unwelcome intervention of outside forces like...

  9. Chapter 4 Belfast
    (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 that life in the Short Strand is difficult and he is anxious to the point of appearing “pathetic,” he expresses no desire to leave since his life, relatives, and lifelong associations are there.

    He believes that the peaceline is the only reliable form...

  10. Chapter 5 Jerusalem
    (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 driver said that for fifteen years he had not visited “their place” (East Jerusalem), though no barricades or restrictions had existed during that time. He was hesitant to make the journey, but finally agreed when...

  11. Chapter 6 Mostar
    (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 the rump of Yugoslavia, Leila and her family were forced to move. They abandoned their apartment in East Mostar when Serbian forces occupied that side of the Neretva River, which formed a natural border between those massed...

  12. Chapter 7 Nicosia
    (pp. 121-142)

    In the 1980 s 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 duration of the program. Each room had two beds and cost $50 per night. Nevzat thought of a more efficient scheme:

    I said to my friend, “This is foolish to stay in different rooms! Why not share the same room, since there...

  13. Chapter 8 Breaching the Urban Contract
    (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 environment in return for the provision of reliable public services, social opportunities and sanctuary. In its most basic form, this exchange might be understood as the “urban contract.”

    In exchange for a livelihood within the walls, urban residents made-substantial concessions: they submitted to taxation, they gave their allegiance...

  14. Chapter 9 Professional Responses to Partition
    (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 of other disciplines. Academic training for planners and architects usually serves these polarized circumstances poorly, since segregation is typically lumped together with other forms of urban blight without considering the specific economic pressures and social weaknesses that divided cities...

  15. Chapter 10 Patterns
    (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 increasingly effective, creative ways. The careful observer is compelled to wonder about the conditions under which partition typically occurs, and the extent to which those conditions might appear in divergent cultural environments. Some citizens of divided cities do not consider themselves special, as noted in a Beirut...

  16. Epilogue: Jerusalem Redivided
    (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 of many Jerusalemites on both sides of the city. It had become an emblem of shame; it offered a bitter reminder of Jerusalem’s failure to achieve the social integration envisioned by Israel’s early intellectual leadership and idealistic kibbutzim.

    The barricades came down according to plan...

  17. Works Cited
    (pp. 243-254)
  18. Index
    (pp. 255-260)
  19. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 261-261)