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Project in Detail

The Arc

Future Projects - Masterplanning
Palestinian Territory, Occupied
Suisman Urban Design, Santa Monica, United States of America
2010
World Architecture Festival 2010 - Future Project of the Year

The Arc-A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State 


The Arc project offers a sweeping infrastructure plan for a Palestinian state; it could begin immediately and provide tangible incentives for political resolution by demonstrating the benefits of achieving peace. Following the natural terrain of the West Bank, the Arc corridor provides transportation, water, and power to the main Palestinian towns and cities, allowing them to absorb a fast-expanding population and grow in a sustainable manner. The plan absorbs population growth in the West Bank, while encouraging economic growth in both the West Bank and Gaza. The Arc is part of a rigorous, comprehensive assessment of the Palestinian environment, including governance, internal security, the economy, demography, water, health, housing, transportation, and education.
The Arc envisions the West Bank as an integrated urban region of independent but connected cities, with Gaza as the southernmost urbanized area. The Arc’s fundamental feature is an interurban rail line linking the main cities of Gaza and the West Bank — including a stop at the international airport — in a journey of just over 90 minutes. Each rail station, located several miles from existing historic urban centers, would create a focal point for new development and would be connected to these historic centers via a new transit boulevard and an advanced form of bus rapid transit.

Along each boulevard, new commercial and residential neighborhoods would be developed — largely by private-sector investment — to accommodate population growth. Housing and jobs would be created within walking distance of the transit system. New building design would incorporate sustainable systems using solar energy and recaptured water. Development along each boulevard would pump economic activity into the historic centers of Palestinian cities and assure their preservation and revitalization — an essential strategy for creating a much-needed tourism industry.

Although the most visible feature is interurban rail, the Arc is actually multiple infrastructures. Construction of the transportation line invites concurrent, cost efficient, parallel construction of other needed lines for electricity, natural gas, telecommunications, and water. A national park following the line of the Arc would provide needed recreation space within each city, and a path for hiking and biking between municipal areas. A parallel toll road would provide access for trucks and other vehicles for people and freight, linking the country to its economic gateways at a possible airport and seaport in Gaza.

Work could begin now with planning and construction in phases, beginning in invidividual cities and then expanding to the national scale. The Arc would not only create stimulate economic development and sustainable urban growth. By improving the quality of daily life for average Palestinians, it would also engender a common sense of purpose and demonstrate to all parties the tangible benefits of reaching resolution and achieving peace.

The cost of constructing the Arc’s core elements — the rail and road infrastructure plus 100,000 units of housing — is estimated at $8 billion.

Lead Architect »

Suisman Urban Design
Santa Monica
United States of America
 

Professional Credits »

Client / Developer
RAND Corporation
United States of America

Environmental Engineer
Suisman/RAND
United States of America

Structural Engineer
Suisman/RAND
United States of America