The dominating power in a settler colonial situation produces knowledge that supresses the natives’ past and present, while disregarding local knowledge and transforming natives’ lives. In the Old City of Jerusalem, as a case study, three prominent power-knowledge mechanisms operate, on top of the master plans: the work of archeology, generating national and historical knowledge while erasing locals’ past; settlement expansion; and mechanisms of surveillance of movement. Israel uses these three practices to restrict locals’ movement, development, and housing construction, forcing their displacement. For political reasons, economic considerations, and needs, Palestinian residents, threatened by residency revocations, stay in their homes, thus being forced to deal with the power-knowledge mechanisms of Israel.
The intervention is based on two practices of local knowledge: Hydro-Social territory – a practice that indicates re-appropriation and reclaiming of public spaces through hydro-social projects; and Resistant Economy – a practice that indicates an attempt to detach from the colonial economic system in order to build an independent local economy. Since the 19th century, the industrial practices of the past and water resource management have been privatized, making people more subordinate to the power structure of the state. Therefore, in order to pave a reality rooted in locals’ identity, the intervention attempts to recreate collective work through water management and the production process in order to create a state-independent community in terms of production and economics as well as its water supply.
The project proposes a discontinuous urban infrastructure to reestablish autonomy over water, as the resource of life, and to reproduce a textile industry, securing natives’ future economic independence and quenching their thirst. The planning strategy is based on ‘service served’ relations rooted in local knowledge: the service industrial spaces serve the public through planning tools that enable collective learning of the production process. The planning strategy is an expression of the Body and Life Cover for paving the way towards an autonomous Palestinian community in the Old City of Jerusalem and a liberated future.