From Publishers Weekly
"When such powerful markers of an urban landscape-the ones that root a people to a place and a land-absorb this facile brand of hopelessness and inevitability, they have the power to make corrosive myths become concrete.... How do you heal a city rent by myth?" So asks one of the 25 contributors to this visionary collection, dedicated to reimagining the physical and ideational space of Jerusalem, or (in Arabic) Al Quds. Responding to a 1997 Jerusalem architectural conference that excluded Palestinian participation, New York architect Sorkin organized a second conference on the fate of the city that took place in Bellagio, Italy, in 1999, with 25 Palestinians, Israelis and "others" (mostly Americans) participating in equal numbers. Taking an eventual two-state solution as a given, the participants came up with some ingenious plans for mutual cooperation and healing via architecture-everything from "displacing" contested sites in Jerusalem and relocating them elsewhere (such as moving the Western Wall to Safed and the Dome of the Rock to Nablus) to taking the informal sites of Arab and Jewish same-sex encounters as starting points for imagining interfaith relations. While the conference took place before the second intifada began, and thus also before September 11th, Sorkin finds that even looking at the book through those lenses, "nothing in its feeling or analysis shifts. A just and equitable peace remains the only hope."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
Jerusalem is in a unique position to bend modernity and tradition to create a global model of cooperation, economic innovation, and sustainable environmental practice. As a paradign of the kind of social mosaic that will increasingly charactize the world's cities, Jerusalem migh well become a laboratory for spatial practices that mediate the autonomy of individuals and of groups and for the cooperation of cities and nations. As a purely physical matter, this presents very little difficulty.
Perhaps architecture can help.