Jordan Valley: A Vision for Integrated Valley Urbanism
Revisiting the Valley Cross-Section
by Fadi Masoud
It took only sixty years of technological advancement to enabled human settlements to exist almost completely independent of the environmental and ecological systems that sustain them. This project will uncover the underplayed link between water-diversion for urbanization and agriculture and the resulting desertification in one of the world’s most disputed and symbolic border-river regions. It is a proposal for a regional landscape planning scheme that necessitates an understanding of the landscape’s limitations and potentials to create a new agro-urbanization regime for the Jordan Valley. The proposal takes the form of a 100 km city, with a series of “water hubs” that collect, treats, and store rain water and run-off, and become nodes of civic life and urbanity. It is a linear city which interfaces an ancient agrarian crescent and an augmented protected- river floodplain that makes landscape, not politics, the new hegemon.
Design as agency can begin to take on a role that imagines contemporary alternative visions for future growth. Visions that are dependent on, and informed by, their ecological and geographic systems, and therefore necessitate an integrated rapport between landscape, architecture and urban planning and design. It is a method by which the watershed emerges as a tool for design, and where ecology helps dictate longer lasting and contemporary frameworks for infrastructure, agriculture, and human settlement.