More than a third of Jerusalem’s residents are East Jerusalem Palestinians, but the number of Palestinians working as urban planners with the city can be counted on one hand. The Urban Clinic is working to change that: thanks to generous donors, we offer tuition scholarships and mentoring to East Jerusalemites who learn Hebrew and enroll in the MA in Urban Planning. The first three scholarship recipients are on track to complete the two-year program in summer 2018. The job market is wide open - two were hired within their first year as Community Planners in East Jerusalem, and one has been awarded departmental scholarships for cutting-edge research.
These students use the Urban Clinic as a platform and a network for social initiatives. Architect Islam Idaes, for example, dreamed of helping East Jerusalem high school students improve their neighborhoods. She recruited sixteen tenth graders for Sunday sessions at the University --the first time most had ever been on campus. The students identified under-used spaces in their neighborhoods, and developed visions for transformation. About fifty city officials, urban planners, teachers and neighborhood leaders participated in the final competition. Nothing planned has yet been built - but the groundwork is there. Most importantly, these students were given the opportunity to see university as a potential part of their future, and got to explore the ways they can have an impact on the space around them through thoughtful planning and design.