Splintering skylines in a fractured city: High-Rise geographies in jerusalem

Igal Charney*, Gillad Rosen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This paper examines the production of contested and mundane spaces in Jerusalem. So far, scholarship has focused primarily on the turbulent ethnonational relations in Jerusalem, while paying less attention to struggles over issues of growth and development that do not touch directly upon Israeli–Palestinian controversies. In this paper we consider late entrants to the Jerusalem scene, tall buildings, to investigate how planning policies and practices have shaped some contested and mundane spaces in the city. Through the examination of planning documents and in-depth interviews, we outline the high-rise geographies of ‘Three Jerusalems’: the Old City, Israeli Jerusalem, and Arab Jerusalem. In each of these cities diverse planning approaches, values, and motivations contribute to the transforming cityscape. The Old City remains a protected space of immense significance in the long-lasting visual image of a Holy City. In Israeli Jerusalem, exceptional tall buildings have become more acceptable, as entrepreneurialism gains power; in Arab Jerusalem, enduring exclusion and discrimination against the Palestinian population makes taller buildings possible, provided that they are built within the informal development path. Overall, high-rise geographies demonstrate the different dimensions of Jerusalem relating to ethnonational rifts, capitalistic ambitions, and to formal and informal processes of reproduction and transformation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1088-1101
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014

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  • Jerusalem
  • Planning policies
  • Tall buildings


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