When contradicting public space regimes collide: The case of Palestinian Israeli towns

Maisa Totry-Fakhoury, Nurit Alfasi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The logic, meaning, and functioning of public spaces differ substantially between cultures and places. While Western public spaces are affected by democratic urban regimes and enhanced commercialisation, public spaces in traditional Muslim, Middle Eastern cities that were originally supervised by the community according to cultural norms are not easily adapted to contemporary changes. This paper thus analyses the unique case of Palestinian Israeli towns, reflecting the coexistence of these two sets of ruling public spaces, also affected by global economic changes and national political complexities. These towns consist of two different built environments: old neighbourhoods based on hierarchic, socially affiliated public spaces and new neighbourhoods created by the Israeli modern planning system, strictly dividing public spaces from private ones. The analysis provides a comparative framework discussing how this emerging urban condition affects the performance of public spaces. In addition, it enables a new perspective on Palestinian society, torn between tradition and Westernisation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)429-442
Number of pages14
JournalGeographical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
The information, practices and views in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). © 2018 Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).


  • Arab cities
  • Palestinian towns
  • public space
  • urban dynamics
  • urban order
  • Western versus traditional


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