Urban image is the product of media and mediation much more than of direct sensation and perception and therefore prone to manipulation, and in turn, to critical reading and deconstruction. In this light, three cases of production of identities for a place named Kfar/Kafr Saba are compared: the two urban images of (Hebrew) Kfar Saba and the one of (Arabic) Kafr Saba. All refer to (almost) the same geographical location, but differ in time, objectives, intended audience, professional perspectives, communication technologies and socio-political context.
Surprisingly, they share many production strategies and tactics. The first - a reproduction of an agricultural village - started in 1892, after purchasing the land for Kfar Saba. It was led by Zionist activists trying to sell lots to Jews in the Diaspora, as part of the RE-TURN to Zion, thereby re-producing a desired Jewish-Hebrew Identity. The second reproduction, of a Green city, carried out by the City Architect, started in 1972 at a council decision to perform a total RE-VISION to the Kfar Saba plan, intended to control social, economic and image aspects. It was directed towards the affluent, aiming at a desired Global identity where the city is imaged as a “world citizen”. The third case – The Internet Web village of Kafr Saba- began since the construction of the Kafr Saba domain in 2001 - as a part of the palestineremembered website - claiming the Right of RE-TURN to Palestine i.e. Kafr Saba. Its target group is mainly Palestinians outside Israel, desiring a Moslem-Arabic Kafr Saba.
Comparing the three cases is like visiting Alice’s Wonderland, looking at the same place from different angles, wondering what is real or merely an illusion behind/in front of a looking glass. Are we trapped in a hall of mirrors?
|Keywords:||Urban Image, Virtual and Real|
Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, I.I.T., Haifa, Israel
Assocate Professor, Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, I.I.T., Haifa, Israel
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