Saturday, November 13, 2010

Blog Introduction

What I hope to accomplish via this blog:

On a practical level, I hope to promote an awareness of urban planning and design issues as they relate to Jerusalem. I am not seeking to address the professional planning community, to which I do not by any means belong. My target audience is, rather, that subset of the general public that has the dignity of Jerusalem, and the well-being of its residents, at heart. In particular I hope, G-d willing, to advance a New Urbanism agenda − to the extent that that movement’s tenets may be applicable to Jerusalem.

It is a sad fact that in Israel security issues and the “conflict” trump quality of life issues. But that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t be aware of the latter, or strive for optimal conditions under difficult circumstances. Also, it seems to me that a preoccupation with security in no way justifies abandoning the urban sphere to the ignorant or the greedy.

On a philosophical/ethical level, I hope to persuade my readers that the way in which Jerusalem is built and developed reflects on those who do the building and developing (for purposes of this blog, the Israeli Jewish community), and has consequences for our future here. I would like to see a climate of reverence emerge, such that anyone involved in the planning, construction, landscaping, or design of even the most seemingly trivial feature of Jerusalem existence, will approach his/her task with חרדת קודש − deep respect and awe. Yes, even a mid-range apartment complex in one of the city’s peripheral neighborhoods should be designed with something more in mind than ease of parking.

A few technical remarks:

-- I am willing to consider guest postings that are relevant to the blog. I live in southern Jerusalem and do not necessarily see what’s going on in other parts of the city. If someone wants to report on an aesthetic/safety/ethical issue related to planning or construction in Jerusalem, I am willing to consider publishing it as a guest post. Ditto regarding reports on other places in Israel. I don’t want this blog to be just my own rant -- I would like it be a public service.

-- Ideally, perhaps, this blog would be in Hebrew. Theoretically I could post in Hebrew, but time constraints (demanding young children, etc.) dictate that, for now, I write in my native tongue. If this blog takes off, G-d willing, perhaps I will move it in a more multilingual direction – both in terms of my own posts, and those contributed by others.