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Jerusalem 2050: Vision for a Place of Peace seeks to open new windows of understanding - from within the region and around the world - about the shared hopes, dreams, and desires of citizens from Jerusalem who want to make their city peaceful, but who have been prevented from doing so because the aims of competing national states to control this particular territory have pushed urban livability concerns off the agenda. Jerusalem 2050 was conceived in response to the deteriorating situation in the city (from the occupation of East Jerusalem to the building of the wall to the accelerating and ongoing violence) and the failures of Track I and Track II diplomacy, the latter of which may partly owe to the great inequality in power balances among the negotiating parties. As a strategy for generating peace and understanding, this project differs from conventional approaches in several ways.

By focusing on the city, not nations, it emphasized the uniquely tolerant and cosmopolitan character of the urban experience. It encouraged imagination and vision, not the real politics of negotiation and political trade-offs. It proceeded under the premise that when given an opportunity to voice their desires and dreams about the city, that most citizens - be they Muslims, Christians, or Jews, Palestinians or Israelis, residents or not - are likely to find common ground and share similar sentiments about what might make the city of Jerusalem a vibrant, peaceful, tolerant and democratic place. This project does not aim to be a ‘solution' for the city, but rather, to provide imaginative tools which open alternative, innovative ways for discussing and eventually dealing with urban and political conflict.

It is our hope that the production and critical examination of “non-negotiated” visions for the city can generate new forms of awareness and open alternative avenues for dialogue that may help to break the impasse over the issue of the status of Jerusalem which has for years stalled conventional paths of diplomacy.

Diane E. Davis
Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
January 2005