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Issue . 80
P. 23
Patrick Geddes: Luminary or Prophet of Demonic Planning


The British vision for the future of Jerusalem was drawn much earlier than its occupation of the city. Nineteenth-century British travelers, explorers, and missionaries had already connected Jerusalem with the biblical narrative and determined its future. Regardless of what actually existed on the ground, in their view Jerusalem had to narrate a particular history.

The Zionist movement contacted the world famous city planner Patrick Geddes in order to plan the first “Jewish city,” namely Tel Aviv, which he completed in 1925. But the most important project for Geddes in Palestine was the preparation of a scheme for the city of Jerusalem. The “green and open- mindedness” of Geddes, a sensibility he presented throughout his various projects around the world, soon became hostage to the religious myth in Jerusalem, where suddenly-remembered biblical texts guided his thinking about the city. The protection of the cultural-religious landscape in accordance with the biblical narrative was a theme for a number of researchers. Geddes’ scheme for the city can be seen along with the rest of the plans, documentation, and ideas of a large number of explorers of Jerusalem in the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. However, his plan was actually effected in the city and is still current today. One of his ideas was to demolish the Mughrabi neighborhood in the Old City in order to expose the “Wailing Wall,” a plan that was in fact implemented directly after the Israeli occupation of the Old City in June 1967.

The main aim of this article is to compare the current Israeli plans for “national parks” with those proposed by Geddes a century ago, but also to understand the ideological background of Geddes’ plans for Jerusalem and his relationship to the Zionest Movement.


Keywords: Urban planning Jerusalem; Patrick Geddes; Hebrew University; National Parks in Jerusalem; Mandatory Jerusalem; William McLean; Patrick Geddes; and the Zionist Movement