Planning a Palestinian urban core: The City of Ramallah

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In 1995, in the wake of the Oslo agreements, the process of establishing a new Palestinian Authority on the road to statehood and a capital city took root. Notwithstanding Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem as its core and capital of the emerging Palestinian state, the city of Ramallah began to transform itself from a district city to national core, gradually developing as the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority. This article describes and discusses the geopolitical forces and the structural and socio-economic factors that drive and shape the urbanization process and urban growth and that spurred and guided Ramallah's transformation. It also analyzes the planning process for the city, including a number of the planning problems faced in its further development. The article has four main sections. It begins by describing the development of Ramallah area, now apart of metropolitan Jerusalem. The second section discusses and analyzes the implications and consequences of various internal and external factors and their direct impact on the crystallization of the urban fabric of Ramallah. The third section examines the dilemmas and the obstacles faced in the spatial urban planning of Ramallah, a city that developed under circumstances of occupation, amid the dichotomous influences of traditional and modern forces, and in the context of outsider intervention. A final section summarizes the process of developing a master plan for the city of Ramallah.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-261
Number of pages20
JournalArab World Geographer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • New core
  • Palestine
  • Planning
  • Ramallah

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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