Call for Ideas: "Takhayal [Imagine] Ramallah"


"Takhayal Ramallah" is a collaborative project between UR°BANA and Sakiya, with the support of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung - Palestine and Jordan

Takhayal Ramallah Call
This Call for Ideas seeks contributions that combine text and visual components that focus on collective, communal, and critical approaches towards a radical reconfiguration of, and relationship to, time and space. We encourage ideas that seek to work within existing realities and systems to forge different urban realities, as well as those that are futuristic, speculative, and wildly imaginative.
Taking Ramallah and other cities in the West Bank as a point of departure, understanding the current political stagnation, sharp economic inequalities, strangulation of productive sectors, and the building boom of the last fifteen years that challenges capacities of cities and natural sites to cope with expansion and pollution; from this perspective, we aim to highlight concepts that address one or more of the following questions through spatial re-imagination of a particular chosen site: 
- In what ways can community initiatives and visionary activists help reshape our Palestinian cities to be more ecologically sound and resilient? 
- What kind of city-spaces are needed to nurture a community capable of facing and forging solutions for ecological, political, social, and economic crises? 
- What is the role of architects, planners, artists, educators, and community activists in triggering collective imaginations and public momentum to shift to alternative modes of urbanisation that are equitable and ecological?
From Idaho to Brazil, and from Puerto Rico to India, persistent communities have been successful in facing and halting capitalist and state projects exploiting or destroying natural common resources. Inthe Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists, Naomi Klein highlights how community initiatives and preparedness with ideas and imaginaries have helped people not only stop further capitalist exploitation and destruction of resources, but also to timely respond and be able to push their agendas in creating better and more equitable and sustainable lives. This was the latest of her works that study geographies struck by shocks – from structural politico-economic change to natural disasters and wars – and through which she has coined the term “Shock Doctrine” to describe how disaster capitalism utilises moments of distress to push systemic changes that further capitalist exploitation.
One could say that in Palestine we live through scaled shocks, where the colonial reality and dominant economic sectors (real estate, extraction, consumption) are thriving through systematic destruction of cultural landscapes, natural resources, societal fabrics, and exacerbating uncertainties and precarious realities. Nonetheless, community campaigns havesucceeded. For example, the town of Anabta was able to halt the establishment of a cement factory on their agricultural lands. In Wadi Jaryout in Beitounia, the community was able to stop the transformation of the naturally rich valley into a sewer dumping site, among other examples.
That said, to create healthier and more resilient habitats that are able to counter disenfranchisement that utilises colonialism, disaster situations or scaled shocks, we need to develop communal cross-sectoral systems for risk reduction and early response mechanisms that benefit from the wealth of knowledge within our communities, ancestral heritage, and natural resources. This hinges on the ability to imagine alternative scenarios and open the discussion beyond niche-circles, which is what we are aiming at with this Call for Ideas.Current construction patterns in Ramallah and throughout Palestine, and the laws enabling them, are bringing forward questions of living quality and equality. What can be done to make life in and around existing structures healthy, in corporeal as well as mental and societal terms? What kind of public spaces of interaction, education, and production can be created within built-up areas or in natural areas threatened by expansion? How can we re-think urban food security and the ecology at large through eco-agricultural urbanism? How can increased women’s access to opportunities and rights improve our cities? What spatial re-organisation possibilities can be utilised to develop people-based disaster-response mechanisms, short- and long- term, in a fragmented and indebted society? 
Deadline for submission of ideas: 12 August 2019
Please submit your application using the form under this link (click here).
We invite scholars, artists, urbanists and interested persons regardless of background or discipline to submit an abstract of up to 250-words, and an image if needed, describing their idea for a contribution to this compendium, Takhayal. 
We encourage ideas that seek to work within existing realities and systems to forge different urban realities, as well as those that are futuristic, speculative and wildly imaginative towards a radical reconfiguration of space. It is up to you to hypothesise the conditions, events and components with which your scenario takes place.
We are particularly interested in contributions that combine text and visuals that would transmit the idea beyond literacy and professional barriers; be those sketches, images, cartoons, collages or any other form.
Selection decisions will be announced by 15 August 2019.
Selected ideas are requested to submit their full contribution of 1,200 – 2,000 word essays and the associated visuals by 15 September 2019. Within the following two weeks contributors will receive reviews, and in their turn, they will have two weeks to finalize their contributions for publication.
Contributors will be awarded a remuneration of ILS 1,600.
The selected works will be published in an online E-publication on 31 October 2019.
12.08.2019 Deadline for submission of Ideas
18.08.2019 Communication of selection decisions
15.09.2019 Submission of full contributions and associated visuals for review
25.09.2019 Communication of reviews to contributors to make necessary amendments
10.10.2019 End of Review period / submission of final version of contributions
31.10.2019 E-Publication released online
For inquiries and questions don’t hesitate to contact us on:      
Natasha Aruri
Sahar Qawasmi