MIT's Jerusalem 2050 Program, a joint initiative sponsored by the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the Center for International Studies, announced today the winners of its global Just Jerusalem competition. The open contest sought proposals that addressed different aspects of urban life in a futurist Jerusalem. Participants were asked to look beyond the current nation-state conflict and, instead, focus on 'just' the city as a place where, by mid-century, its citizenries co-exist in peace.
More than 1,150 people representing 85 countries registered for the competition. Of that number, more than 125 eligible proposals were submitted by the Dec. 31, 2007, deadline. The proposals were blind-reviewed by a world-class jury that convened at MIT this past weekend.
Four winning entries and seven honorable mentions were selected. Students, professionals, practitioners and others who care about Jerusalem were among the winners. The selected proposals, or their authors, hail from all over the world: Malaysia, Austria, the United States, India, Israel, Palestine, China, England, Australia, and Greece.
The top winners will receive visionary fellowships at MIT where they will engage in interdisciplinary discussion about the implementation of their ideas.
Also awarded today was a director's prize to two local middle school students in recognition of their enthusiasm and the quality of their entry.
"The Just Jerusalem competition addresses one of the greatest challenges of our times: the elusive peace between Israelis and Palestinians. To that end, the winning entries offer hopeful, creative, and passionate ideas for potentially altering daily life in Jerusalem in small and large-scale ways," said Diane Davis, director of Jerusalem 2050, professor of political sociology, and head of the International Development Group in the Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT.
Co-directing the Jerusalem 2050 Program with Davis is Leila Farsakh, a research affiliate at the Center for International Studies at MIT, and assistant professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts/Boston. It was a presentation by Farsakh at a local public school that inspired the two middle school students to enter the competition.
"The geographic and substantive dispersion of our winners was especially pleasing. I take this as evidence of the deep importance of the problem we are addressing and as validation of the way we went about attacking it-- as an independent research university dedicated to generating creative solutions for some of the world's most intractable problems," said Richard Samuels, member of the Jerusalem 2050 Steering Committee, Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of the Center for International Studies at MIT.
Top Prize Winners:
â€¢ "Children's Village for Jerusalem." Wai Lai Chan (University of Technology, Malaysia) Skudai, Malaysia
â€¢ "Look Up: Rainwater Harvesting." Michael Lin (Miami University of Ohio, Program in International Studies) Fairfield, US. Ann Davis (MUO, International Studies) Oxford, US. James Orwig (MUO, International Studies) Oxford, US. Amanda Zazycki (MUO, International Studies) Oxford, US.
â€¢ "HUMMUS: East Mediterranean City Belt 2050." Siegfried Atteneder (University of Art & Industrial Design) Vienna, Austria; Lorenz Potocnik, Vienna, Austria
â€¢ "Envisioning Jerusalem through Media Barrios and Performance Spaces: Proposing Pilot Media Barrios in Kafr Aqab and Shuafat RC." Nitin Sawhney, Cambridge, US; Julie Norman (American University) DC, US; Raed Yacoub (Youth Media Initiative) Ramallah, West Bank.
â€¢ The Landwalker." Ming Tang (Savannah College of Art & Design) - Savannah, Georgia, US; Dihua Yang (Savannah College of Art & Design) Savannah, Georgia, US
â€¢ "The New Zidonians." Christos Papastergiou (Architect, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL) London, UK; Christiana Ioannou (Architect, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL)
â€¢ "Jerusalem Olympics: An International City, An International Event." Caitlin Hill (Savannah College of Art & Design) Savannah, US; Gordon Marshall (SCAD) Savannah, US
â€¢ "Mosaic Project: Jerusalem Crafts & Communities Fair: An Inter-Community Empowerment Plan." Nurit-Hilia Tsedaka (Hilia), Kibbutz Kyriat Anavim, Israel.
â€¢ "Pilgrimage on the Seam." Jay Isenberg (Architect, Isenberg & Assoc.) Minneapolis, US; Ronald Haselius (Designer, Avian Craig, Inc) Minneapolis, US
â€¢ "Station." Yair Wallach (Birkbeck College) - UK
â€¢ "Resource Recovery in Jerusalem: From Waste-land to Nourishing Terrain." Kirsten Miller (Architect, University of Melbourne) Melbourne, Australia
â€¢ "West Bank Barrier Crossing" Matthew Rajcok and Alex Zimmer, Cambridge MA (King Open School).
About Jerusalem 2050
Jerusalem 2050 is a uniquely visionary and problem-solving project, jointly sponsored by MIT's Department of Urban Studies & Planning and the Center for International Studies with the participation of Palestinian and Israeli scholars, activists, business leaders, youth and others. It seeks to understand what it would take to make Jerusalem, a city also known as Al Quds, claimed by two nations and central to three religions, "merely" a city, a place of difference and diversity in which contending ideas and diverse citizenries can co-exist in benign, yet creative, ways.
The project is made possible through the generous financial support of Mr. Jeffrey Silverman, an alumnus of MIT; and the following individuals and institutions: Mr. Rick Tavan; the Boston Foundation; the Graham Foundation; the Office of the MIT Provost; Dean's Office, MIT School of Architecture and Planning; Dean's Office, MIT School of the Humanities and Social Sciences; MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning; MIT Center for International Studies.
For more information, visit web.mit.edu/cis/jerusalem2050 or www.justjerusalem.org
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 2, 2008 (download PDF).