urban social spaces, jerusalem, imaginary logic, logic of difference, logic of spatial equivalence


The literature on space and spatiality suggests that urban spaces are not fixed and self-contained but are rather relational, processual, dynamic, open, socially produced, and nested in a web of social relations (i.e., Healey, 2006; Jones & Jessop, 2010; Lefebvre, 1991). Such a perspective frames social spaces "as webs or networks with diverse morphologies, connecting people and events in one node to others near and far […that] emerge as nodes in one or more networks" (Healey, 2006: 526). Following Laclau and Mouffe's (2014) conception of urban social spaces as discursive entities and Lacan’s notion of fantasy (Lacan, 1997), our recent theoretical framework suggests that urban social spaces are located within a field of social relations in a 'war of position' (Jabareen & Eizenberg, 2021).

This paper excavates the role of planning in forming and defining the interrelations among social spaces and setting up the 'war of position' among them. We argue that spatial planning has a powerful role in constructing the interrelations among different urban social spaces and decreeing the nature of these relations as ranging from antagonistic and exclusionary to equivalent and inclusionary. Since there is no available methodology for such examination, we propose here a methodological framework to examine the contribution of spatial planning to the interrelations among different urban spaces.

The following section presents the proposed methodological framework. Then, the case study of planning Jerusalem is presented. The city of Jerusalem provides a rich empirical case due to the intensive planning efforts undertaken by the State of Israel and the city to manage and transform its contested spaces in the context of the harsh ethnic conflict among its main social groups, Israeli Jews and Arab Palestinians. The finding section is based on the review and analysis of several plans of Jerusalem since 1967, the year in which East Jerusalem was conquered by the State of Israel and then annexed to city. The final section presents the theorization and lessons regarding the ‘dark’ side of spatial planning (Yiftachel, 2006).