Just when you think it is impossible…
Traffic congestion, trash collection, water shortages, operating costs. These are very real challenges that mayors, city managers, urban planners, and engineers face when trying to create livable places for their citizens. The situation is no different in the Palestinian territories.
Add to these one of the world’s highest population densities (and high annual population growth rates), along with very minimal space to grow and limited financial resources. Set all this within a fragile-and-conflicted-affected area, one would think it is impossible to plan or do anything. That is not the case.
Bethlehem, Ramallah-Al Bireh, Nablus, Hebron, and Gaza City are the five, leading urban economic areas in the West Bank and Gaza. The local authorities of these areas are experiencing rapid growth. They know they need to develop quality urban environments, provide adequate public services, and facilitate economic growth and job creation. With support from the World Bank’s Integrated Cities and Urban Development (ICUD) Project, these five cities, along with the Ministry of Local Government, have begun planning for sustainable urban growth.
The first step has been to improve intra-urban area coordination among the local government units (LGUs) that comprise each agglomeration. Through joint coordination units, the LGUs are working on integrated, metropolitan approaches to city management and adopting innovative ways to do so.
Through the ICUD project, the areas have adopted a new urban modeling tool called Urban Performance (UP). The tool can forecast the results of certain policies, projects, and initiatives (policy levers) the cities could implement to address their urban challenges.