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by Adan Farhat

 Year 2022 - 2023

This project is the winner of the third prize in the Tectura Awards 2023.

Sustaining the Collective Memory and Social Identity of people in areas that face the imminent threat of another war in the cycle of daily life reconstruction.

Reconstruction is often imagined as the counterpoint to destruction. In the reality of ongoing conflict areas, these moments are linked in a cycle. Even when reconstruction is done, which is supposed to conjure images of safety and stability, there is no guarantee that it won’t get destroyed again in a vicious circle of strikes, destruction, ceasefire, reconstruction – then war and re-destruction all over again.

However, this continuous spatial destruction has the potential to produce a new cultural and social identity and a different sense of local collectively. With every cycle of destruction and reconstruction, an identifiable context is erased and redrawn by the re-composition of urban space and the accumulation of debris in the cityscape which in turn negates and fragments the collective memory among the people.

In an area that faces the imminent threat of another war,  How can the collective memory and social identity be sustained in the cycle of daily life reconstruction?

The Gaza Strip - a space under occupation and siege, surrounded by a wall, has experienced many wars, with each wave of violence comes a cycle of destruction and reconstruction of social and spatial forms that have greatly affected the urban landscape which leads to further degrading the already fragile humanitarian situation in Gaza. Today, thousands of Gaza’s buildings are reduced to rubble, it is a sight all too familiar to residents of the territory. The material presence of war has been part of the everyday life of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, major neighborhoods are simply left as exposed bones.

The ongoing instability in The Gaza Strip leads to a situation where there is never enough time to clear out the site from the rubble before the next war, another war comes and the people who lost their homes still live in unhumanitarian housing or far from home. The absence of a long-term solution to the conflict leaves only one alternative to mitigate the suffering of Gazans and prevent another cycle of unthoughtful residential reconstruction by rearranging the power dynamics by giving Gazans dwellings for them and accelerating the speed and quality of it. A new mechanism can be an opportunity to take control and shape a new social structure of their own community which will lead to reclaiming independence and dignity through the agency of space. The reconstruction will preserve a sense of community and social identity, even when resources are scarce.

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