Session details


Rosemary Wakeman (Fordham University)



The New Settlements: Housing Benefits intensify Spatial Inequality


Liran Huri (Technion – Israel Institute of Technology ) and Yael Allweil (Technion – Israel Institute of Technology)


Housing Benefits, State Agents, Mixed Cities


In May 2021, the mayor of the mixed city Lod, Israel stated that a civil war had erupted in his city. Political escalation fueled the growing tensions between Jewish and Arab populations across the country, particularly in mixed cities. In Lod, Jewish civil defense forces erupted in response to Arab violent riots and police incompetence. On the Jewish side, a group stood out, "Garin-Torani". As their vehicles and public buildings were aims of arsons, and their forces reinforced in volunteers from the settlements, the group was situated in the public eye, drawing attention to its continuing governmental housing support. This paper deals with the unofficial planning mechanism for rewarding state agents by housing, and its effects on spatial inequality, by examining subsidized housing for ideological settlers in Lod. 

Garin-Torani is the urban successors of the settlements. They consist of a network of ideological religious groups promoting social, religious, or demographic agendas in cities. The Garin-Torani of Lod settled since the 1990s, after the city underwent a population shift and socio-economic deterioration. It became the biggest one in Israel. Conceived with the nationalistic goal to Judaize Lod, it drew on low housing prices and governmental support to become a home for massive real estate immigration of the religious sector in the Tel-Aviv district. 

The Israeli governmental aid for ideological groups is a deep-rooted mechanism; purposed to improve low socio-economic cities. Accordingly, Lod's Garin-Torani received lands almost for free. The location of the Garin-Torani's flagship neighborhood was strategically chosen by the Minister of Housing to increase segregation in the city. Thus, contributing to a long tradition of planning actions geared towards segregating and judaizing the city since the establishment of the State. Once done directly; today this process encompasses privatized, neo-liberal ways. 

The spatial disparity in Lod is prominent; illegal, neglected Arab neighborhoods are located next to the Garin-Torani's subsidized, well-maintained neighborhoods. During the coronavirus outbreak, a curfew on the Arab neighborhoods epitomized how discriminating housing policy increases spatial inequality. Throughout the political escalation of May, spatial inequality again came to the fore, when a conflict between the sectors erupted violently.

Un:settling Stigma. Continuous Inequalities and Spatial Exclusion of Roma and Sinti in Planning Post-War German Cities


Wiebke Maria Reinert (Kassel University)


Roma & Sinti, Territorial Stigmatization, Urban Planning


Until the present day, Roma and Sinti are among the most vulnerable minorities in Europe, and issues of housing and city-use are central to that vulnerability. 

The (german) history of urban planning has, to this day, shed rather little light upon the fringes of urban development after World War II. This paper focuses on the continuities regarding spatial inequalities and territorial stigmatisation of the Roma and Sinti population in Germany. Zooming in on three German Cities and their history of dealing with the local Roma and Sinti settlements from 1945 onwards, I will reconstruct municipal and medias‘ contributions to perpetuating exclusion in a „grammar of the margins“ (Sieverts & Sieverts 2014) – emphasising housing allocation, citizens‘ initiatives opposing Roma and Sinti settlements, and a popular discourse that, hand in hand, produced and reproduced images and spatial conditions alike. The guiding premise is, that the underlying knowledge production supported the systematic spatial exclusion of this minority group throughout several urban spaces. This investigation includes urban planning practice that tried to re-settle Roma and Sinti in the exactly same urban areas they had been pushed to during the period of fascist terror. 

Zooming out, findings from files of the Central Association of German Cities (Deutscher Städtetag) will give insight into political dynamics of searching for ‚best practice‘ in un/planning spatial aspects of Roma and Sinti lives. 

A third step expounds the civil rights activism in the 1970s which well helped to change the legal and societal view on sufferings of Roma and Sinti under the NS-regime, their fierce discrimination, eviction, internment and forced sterilization. It yet, it is argued, had rather little effect on a potential of antigypsiist urban development. In addition, new urban dividing lines were drawn and ‚grammars‘ developed by un:settling newly ‚othered‘ citizens, like so called ‚guest workers‘ from Turkey, Greece and Italy in a competition for planning dignified living conditions.

Sieverts, Boris/Sieverts, Thomas (2014): Elemente einer Grammatik der Ränder, in: Jahrbuch StadtRegion 2013/14: Urbane Peripherie, 61–82.