Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory

In 2005 I published together with Malkit Shoshan (director F.A.S.T.) the introduction essay for the publication on the ‘unrecognised’ villages, case-study Ein-Hud, Israel. Ein Hud sits on the western slopes of Mount Carmel. The existing village grew as a temporary camp for one of the families that had to evacuate the original Ein Hud village in 1948. Today about 200 people live in Ein Hud. Recently, after years of a legal struggle the residents of Ein Hud won the recognition of their village by the State. F.A.S.T. is dedicated to exposing the global abuses of ideological planning, as found in Israel’s ‘unrecognised’ villages like Ein Hud, and to offering alternative solutions.

About F.A.S.T.

The Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory, aims to make visible the reality of segregation and human right violation through top down architecture and planning.

F.A.S.T.’s projects expose cultural assumptions about the way our and other people’s life-world is being planed and designed, focusing on cases of real urgency where people’s living environment is being factually destroyed and reconstructed.

Introduction essay (Malkit Shoshan & Bert de Muynck, 2005)

Israel is one country, with two systems. One system is being built based on the Zionist ideology while the other system is being destroyed, erased from the map. The conflict between the two systems exists, manifests and operates through borders, walls, checkpoints, seam lines and an unequal allocation of resources. The presence of these two systems had, and continue having, an extreme and direct impact on the shape of the territory and on the life of its inhabitant.

What can be done in a situation in which a top-down planning instrument is totally at odds with the grass-roots reality of unrecognised villages – and, in fact, with basic human rights? Is it possible to show the effect these planning ideologies, procedures and politics have on the daily existence of those who are submitted to them? It is at any rate clear that the current situation is not sustainable, and that to change it we need to initiate a debate, wake up an apparently sleeping national conscience and reclaim a misused profession. But we can only reclaim it with an awareness created from reality, not myth, and with postitive action based on tools, methods, design, strategies and societies. In other words, the commitment to change must lead to action. Shouldn’t the discussion happen as reality unfolds, claiming concepts, designs and the right both to speak and to be taken seriously? Shouldn’t we trace the methods that lead to unrecognition and question their motives and effect? It might be possible to find freedom in innocence, but definitely not in ignorance, or self-imagined ignorance. Defeating, undermining, criticising this status quo happens if one moves critique from a cultural, academic debate into a pragmatic, legal debate. The praxis of architecture and planning is the one that can inscribe reality, even if that reality incorporates the concept of unrecognition. Discussing the impact of architecture on human rights starts on a practical level, on moving clearly and decisively.

Read the full essay