3 Jerusalem/ Ashbee (II) Planning for Integration

Towards the end of his years as civic advisor to Jerusalem Ashbee produced two urban planning proposals. One of them contained a zoning system that was absent from the predeceasing plans from Mclean and Geddes. Functional areas for residences, industry and business are indicated as well as the “special treatment” zone, in other words the adaptation of the Old City preservation and restricted building area demarcated by Mclean. In Inbal Ben-Asher Gitler’s TDSR Volume XV (Gitler, 2003), Ashbee’s plans reveal a “divergence from the colonial model” in the absence of division of quarters for European and “Natives” and furthermore the lack of division for Jewish, Christian and Arab quarters within the functional areas. This homogeneous arrangement aligns with Ronald Storr’s political policies for merging the different sectors of the city and thereby pacifying the long existing land disputes between the Jews and Arabs (however utopian and hypothetical this seems). This zoning scheme was inspired by the 1916 New York Zoning Resolution (discussed in his book on planning theory, Where the Great City Stands, published in 1917), which sets restrictions on growth according to the delineated zones.

Proposed Jerusalem Park System (with important iconic locations indicated as well as modern civic facilities) @1921, Charles Ashbee


Jerusalem Zoning Plan @ 1922, Charles Ashbee


In addition to the zoning schemes, Ashbee designed a public green belt that was less of the protection barrier proposed by Geddes but a porous “breathing space” for a modernized city. Such a space would be integrated into his Citadel Gardens, a ring of gardens on the periphery of the Old City Walls that allowed its users to experience the views of the “Holy Basin” through his intricately designed patches of gardens. Like his proposed khan at the Damascus Gate, Ashbee’s treatment of contestable and sacred spaces is that of integration through the adaptation of everyday lives within the “awareness of the process of change”.

The planning of Ashbee departs from the traditional model of colonial planning possibly due to his interest and influence in the Arts and Crafts, Garden Beautiful and Garden City Movement. The participation of planning on all scales, from the cataloging of craftsmen and indigenous crafts in the lives of everyday artisans to the broader social-political boundaries of zoning informs us of the breadth of influence in the factors behind Jerusalem’s design beyond the sweeping intentions of Imperialism and Colonial ideals of control. Instead, Ashbee’s proposed plans continue to draw further away from the top down- Orientalist orientated plans of his predecessors.



GITLER, I.B., Marrying Modern Progress with Treasured
Antiquity: Jerusalem City Plans during the British Mandate, 1917–1948,

GITLER, I.B., C. R. Ashbee’s Jerusalem Years: Arts and Crafts, Orientalism, and British Regionalism, Assaph: Studies in Art History 5(2000):29–52



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