Placemaking in Jerusalem

Placemaking In Jerusalem

 

Placemaking in Jerusalem

 

Placemaking, the transformation of previously neglected urban spaces into aesthetically pleasing spaces that can serve as communal places and foster encounters between different residents, is increasingly popular in major cities throughout the world; Jerusalem is no exception. The transformation of an abandoned railroad track and train station into Railway Park and the First Station, a public park and cultural and recreation hub, is a prime example.

 

This summer, the Railway Park and First Station are full of special activities focused on creating opportunities for members of Jerusalem's different communities to get to know each other. At one end of Railway Park, next to the free outdoor lending library in the Talpiot neighborhood, there is a series of Monday night jam sessions, where Jews and Arabs gather to sing in Arabic and Hebrew, to share slices of watermelon, to do arts and crafts projects, and to just generally hang out. The event is a family-friendly affair, as children of all ages scamper across the tracks and share markers, and parents exchange smiles.

 

At the other end of Railway Park, in the First Station, Tahrir Bar has set up an outdoor tent dedicated to the different cultures of Jews from around the world. In addition to Asian and North African Jewish culture, they also had a special night dedicated to the different prayers of the Ethiopian Jewish community. The evening featured Rabbi Sharon Shalom, an Ethiopian-Israeli expert on the history of the Ethiopian Jewish community, as well as Ethiopian-Israeli activist Shula Mula. The event drew a large crowd, including many members of Jerusalem's Ethiopian Jewish community; the atmosphere was casual, as young families got to know each other over slices of watermelon - a fruit that has become a mainstay of pluralistic events, ever since it was featured at Muslala’s intercultural stage last summer- which was also located on the old train tracks.

 

The Jerusalem Foundation is proud to support summer jams at Railway Park and to be a partner in the place-making process taking place throughout the city, and to support projects that bring together Jerusalem's different communities, creating new opportunities for tolerance and dialogue, paving the way for a modern, vibrant city that is a true home for all of her inhabitants, regardless of their cultural or religious backgrounds.