Summer Program

Learning from
Jerusalem / Al-Quds

In collaboration with the University College of London, The Bartlett's DPU Summer Lab

JUL. 14 - AUG. 30


sun. july 14 - Fri. august 30

The Summer Lab Learning from Jerusalem / Al-Quds offers a critical framework of urban analysis, research and design focused on the built environment of the city. It aims to highlight the complexity of urban conflicts in Jerusalem not solely as a unique case, but rather as an arena that could be used for understanding urban conflicts elsewhere and possible agendas for their resolution. Through urban design research labs, tours, seminars and workshops with local and international scholars and activists taking place between the Hansen House (Talbiya) and various itineraries and locales in the city and its edge conditions, the program advances a series of inter-disciplinary and multi-scalar investigations into the processes and practices, formal and informal, which shape spaces, politics and everyday life in the city. In particular, we explore the opportunities of an urban project of the city, in the context of its various histories of colonization and governance.

Application Form

We explore the opportunities of an urban project of the city, in the context of its various histories of colonization and governance.


The program is intended for individuals who have completed an undergraduate program in the fields of architecture, planning, landscape architecture and urban design as well as in the social sciences and urban and political geography, seeking for a cutting-edge inter-disciplinary program.
The registration fees to the program are 1000 €


The summer lab is a module within Bezalel's Masters in Urban Design, headed by prof. Els Verbakel. The program is an intensive 7-week summer term, based on a design studio, a research and writing seminar and several lecture courses:

Design studio:

Fringe Conditions as Sites of Contested Concerns

The urban design studio will examine a series of edge conditions and spaces of conflict, domination and negotiation situated away from the city center. Projects will map the city’s current urban challenges while accounting for various conditions (formal, programmatic, infrastructural, climatic and socio-ethnic) and will support this examination with the analysis of case studies around the world and of urban design discourse on cities in conflict. The studio will serve thus as a laboratory for the development of complex, more inclusive and open-ended urban scenarios and planning mechanisms for the city and its multiple publics.


Jerusalem — Urban-Political Lexicon

The seminar will analyse and engage in theoretical and empirical research on urban domination and resistance, and shared living in Jerusalem. Through a series of guest lectures by leading local and international scholars, study of contemporary critical urban scholarship on the city, and writing workshops, the seminar will advance the creation of a critical urban-political lexicon, aimed at investigating Jerusalem’s unique conditions while contributing to current global urban theory and practice.


Learning from Jerusalem: The urban design of a (unique?) city

How is a city designed by its society? What does the shape of a city reveal about space and urban community? How does the urban landscape transmit hidden meanings, and what happens when society itself changes, and with it, its goals and means of design? Relying on maps, urban plans and excursions, as well as on such universal concepts as holiness, urban heritage, social exclusion and gender on the other, we will explore the making of Jerusalem and analyze its importance as a unique city, a fantasy, an ideal; yet also a city like many others, a space of conflict and desire.  


Jerusalem: The Sociology of Everyday Life in a Contested City

Jerusalem is composed of various walls, borders and boundaries, separating people from different religions, national belonging (Israelis/Palestinians), levels of religiosity, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. At the same time, Jerusalem is also a regular city, where people live, shop and struggle in their everyday lives with issues of gender, basic freedoms and activities, and with neoliberal economic forces and their effects on urban space. The course explores the major issues, actors and processes at play in Jerusalem, as a unique place with very particular features—yet a case study that can present a better understanding of Israel and the Israeli society as a whole.


Dr. Martin Hershenzon

Dr. Martin Hershenzon

An educator, historian and an architect, with expertise in 20th Century architectural culture and urban forms, focusing on modernisms in Israel in the context of global and local north-south relationships (Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, 2016). Martin has been teaching urban design studio and history/theory sequences at both graduate and undergraduate levels in the US and Israel.

Prof. Senan Abdelqader

Prof. Senan Abdelqader

An architect and urban planner. He founded his firm Senan Architects in 1995. His book Architecture of (in)Dependency examines the possibilities of transforming Palestinian life from its rural/deficiently-urban hybrid status, towards contemporary forms of urbanity. In 2006, Abdelqader founded Bezalel's in+Formal Architecture Unit. In 2018, he founded the Institute for the Study of Arabic Culture at Bezalel.

Dr. Ariel Handel

Dr. Ariel Handel

The director of the Lexicon for Political Theory project at the Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University. He is an interdisciplinary scholar, with specific interests in critical urbanism, political geography and political theory. Handel is the co-editor of Normalizing Occupation: The Politics of Everyday Life in the West Bank Settlements (Indiana University Press, 2017).

Prof. Els Verbakel

Prof. Els Verbakel

A founding partner of Derman Verbakel Architecture and the Head of the Department of Architecture at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem where she also directs the Masters Program in Urban Design, the UNESCO Chair in Urban Design and Conservation Studies at Bezalel and the Bezalel UNI Habitat Program. Els obtained a PhD in Architecture at Princeton University, a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design at GSAPP, and a Graduate Degree in Civil Engineering and Architecture from the University of Leuven, Belgium.

Prof. Socrates Stratis

Prof. Socrates Stratis

An Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture, University of Cyprus. He is one of the main founders of the critical spatial practice agency AA&U for Architecture, Art and Urbanism. Socrates edited the Guide to Common Urban Imaginaries in Contested Spaces, curated Cyprus' participation in 15th Venice Biennale of Architecture, and led the project “Hands-on Famagusta”.

Dr. Noah Hysler Rubin

Dr. Noah Hysler Rubin

A geographer and a town planner. Her research evolves around spatial cultural encounters and the effect of those on modern urban planning. She has written on the British planning of Jerusalem from a postcolonial point of view. Dr. Hysler Rubin is a senior lecturer at Bezalel and the academic coordinator of the Master's Program of Urban Design.

Dr Hila Zaban

Dr Hila Zaban

An urban sociologist and anthropologist and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Warwick, UK. She studies the links between mobilities (immigration and tourism) and urban transformation. Currently, Hila is working on displacement in urban renewal projects. She has published her work in top journals in the fields of urban studies and immigration studies.

contact us

Program Secretary:
Liya Levi
Office hours:
Sunday through Thursday, 8:00-12:00
T: 972-(0)2-6536684


General inquiries:
The Hansen House, Gdalyahu Alon St 14,
Application Form