Suisman Urban Design was awarded the 2008 EDRA/Places Award in the category of Place Planning for The Arc Project. As a visionary exercise grounded in research, the jury praised the project for its use of planning to “move the bar.” Since its initial release in 2005, it has had an overwhelmingly positive reception, as evidenced by reviews in more than 200 media outlets worldwide. By raising typical planning concerns in a dispassionate way and placing the needs of a future Palestine at the center of discussion, it offers an object of hope to all who have sought peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The plan envisions construction of an infrastructural “arc” linking the major cities of the two territories and providing connection to an international airport and seaport. Consisting of a high-speed trunk rail line, water, electricity and telecommunications lines, the arc would follow the high ground in the West Bank before sweeping through the Israeli Negev to Gaza. Perpendicular to it would be subsidiary collecting infrastructures allowing development of linear urban areas. In analyzing this scheme, the plan looks at underlying natural conditions; compares aspects of the resulting Palestinian state to those of other small nations; relates the potential character of its cities to models from Phoenix to Istanbul; and sets the overall density of settlement in context of other metropolitan areas.
The project team at Suisman Urban Design consisted of Doug Suisman, FAIA (Principal), Eli Garilazo (Senior Associate), and Helen Choi, Kevin Short, and Daniel Windsor (Designers). The RAND research team was led by C. Ross Anthony and Steven N. Simon, and included Glenn E. Robinson, Michael Schoenbaum, and Mary Vaiana. Robert Lane of Regional Plan Association also contributed to the plan.