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|September 6th, 2005, 08:17 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hod HaSharon
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Tower + Cable Car: plans and opposition in Jerusalem.
Surroundings / While the city dies in the background
By Esther Zandberg
The public debate regarding the plan to build on the Armon Hanatziv ridge in East Jerusalem comes to a head today. The National Planning and Building Council has scheduled a meeting this morning to determine the fate of two enormous and hotly disputed initiatives in this area: the Ridge Hotels compound and the Sela observation towers. Both have roused intense opposition from urban planning bodies and green organizations in the capital. The council's approval or rejection of these plans will determine the fate of the area for generations.
The projects would be constructed on the ridge's northern slopes, which command a view of the Old City Basin in Jerusalem. This is one of the most sensitive sites in Jerusalem, and perhaps the world, because of its historic, political and visual characteristics. The Jerusalem Branch of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) calls the initiatives, "a blow to the landscape of the Old City Basin and the ridge that surrounds it, because of the nature of construction, its structure and its proportions."
The basin surrounds and outlines the boundaries of the Old City. Its boundaries were defined in the Jerusalem Municipal Building Plan 9, created after Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the Six-Day War to preserve the historic nature of the area and landscape which the plan defined as "biblical." Since the plan's approval in 1967, construction has more or less adhered to its principles by limiting building to the southern slopes of the Armon Hanatziv Ridge, which do not look out over the Old City.
Artist's rendering of the controversial project.
SPNI leads the opposition to the new Jerusalem master plan. The society claims the plan is vague and leaves the city open to broad departures from Municipal Building Plan 9. In the last decade, a variety of projects has appeared in or adjoining the Old City Basin, which threaten the historic nature of the area. According to SPNI, the initiatives to be debated today represent only a portion of accumulating damage to the Old City Basin in the form of one project or another.
The Armon Hanatziv Ridge area spreads out along the length of the Haas Promenade from Hebron Road to the East Talpiot neighborhood. This is the only remaining open ridge with a view of the Old City, according to SPNI. As a result, the ridge has been earmarked for tourism by the Jerusalem municipality and the Israel Lands Administration. According to the master plan, the area would be transformed into the largest and busiest hotel and tourism zone in the capital.
The plan calls for the construction of nine hotels with 3,500 rooms and a range of tourist attractions on an area, which encompasses 500,000 square meters. The first stage of the project (Municipal Building Plan 4711), to be debated in the National Planning and Building Council today, would include four hotels with 1,350 rooms. The complex would eventually have a unified visual front, extending 350 meters at a height of 7-10 floors along the promenade, backed by a 22-floor tower. The SPNI has agreed to the construction of hotels in the area, but absolutely opposes the nature of the "fortified wall of buildings on the ridge."
Cable car over the Old City
The National Planning and Building Council will also discuss construction of the Sela tower (Municipal Building Plan 6178) today. The tower, topped by observation decks, a synagogue and a restaurant, would reach a height of 160 meters, including its antenna. The sprawling complex would cover 20,000 square meters in parking lots, transportation infrastructure, a visitors' center, and a commercial center, in addition to the tower. The Sela tower was rejected after it roused intense public outcry, including about 4,000 letters of objection. However, the plan is once again exhibiting signs of life.
Other hotel and tourism initiatives in the area are in various stages of planning and approval. A building plan (number 5125) for a 1,700 meter cable car descending from the promenade leads the pack. According to its promoters, the cable car would provide a view of the Old City and the Western Wall Plaza. They apparently ignored the fact that the separation fence would be the most visible sight along the cable car's path. The cable car would connect the Abu Tor neighborhood, the Jewish settlement in Jabal Mukaber and the Nofei Tzion hotel and residential project slated to be established on the eastern end of the new Goldman Promenade. Three commercial stations are planned along the cable car's route.
SPNI objects to the cable car initiative. They claim the cable car would ironically harm the very sites it seeks to overlook. SPNI believes the cable car would privatize the landscape, "cheapen" it, and add an element of kitsch. Moreover, SPNI claims the cable car would undermine the Peace Forest and create noise and pollution, damaging the quality of life in adjoining neighborhoods, particularly the Jabal Mukaber neighborhood, where it would pass over residents' homes. Former mayor Ehud Olmert promised the donor of the Goldman Promenade the cable car would not be built and the project was shelved. However, it has recently reappeared in municipal debate.
Armon Hanatziv is a bottomless pit of fantasy initiatives. Jerusalem is apparently once again attempting to save itself by grabbing more and more disputed land, and erecting one megalomaniacal project after another while the city dies in the background. While opponents cite profiteering and commercialization of the landscape (while systematically destroying it) as motives behind these initiatives, there is also a thinly veiled intention to control the surrounding area and "Judaicize" the horizon as far as the eye can see.
American by birth, southern by the grace of God
|September 6th, 2005, 09:24 PM||#2|
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Tel Aviv
Likes (Received): 5
looks very interesting....
Happy birthday,my Tel Aviv!!!
Tel Aviv-Promised land for LGBT
I could never leave Tel Aviv(Tel Aviv house anthem)
Tel Aviv is a RAINBOW in the Middle East.
AMSTERDAM HERE I COME;)
|September 8th, 2005, 06:28 PM||#3|
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Hebron, Medinat Yehuda, Haifa, Medinat Israel
Likes (Received): 0
jerusalem is too special to ruin it with cablecars and towers!!!
Im against this ugly grotesque tower in armon hanatsiv!!
never never never should they let that stupid tower go up!!