Doug Suisman presented the Arc to a joint Franco-Palestinian conference held at the Quai d’Orsay, the riverfront home of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The conference on the Arc was arranged by Valerie Hoffenberg, special envoy to the Middle East for President Nicolas Sarkozy. The Palestinian Ambassador to France was in attendance, along with the Palestinian Minister of Transportation.Read More
The iQuilt project in Hartford and the Arc project in Palestine, both designed by Suisman Urban Design, receive Honor Awards by the AIACC.
Los Angeles, 2010 – The American Institute of Architects California Council (AIACC) has awarded two of three coveted 2010 Honor Awards in Urban Design to Suisman Urban Design for its iQuilt project, a culture-based plan for downtown Hartford and the Arc project, a transportation and infrastructure plan for Palestine. Only three Honor Awards in urban design were given by the AIACC jury this year.
The honor award for the iQuilt project also recognizes project partner Smith Edwards Architects, and the project’s initiator and client, the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. The iQuilt is a plan to connect some 45 of Hartford’s cultural assets and public spaces with enhanced pedestrian and bike routes running from the State Capitol building and historic Bushnell Park to the Connecticut River waterfront.
Of the AIACC Award for Suisman, Hartford’s mayor Pedro E. Segarra said, “This coveted honor is truly another exclamation point in the ‘bravos’ all around for the iQuilt, which is part of the City’s long-term plan for conservation and development.” The next planning and design phase of this urban plan that features a unique “knitting together” of parks, plazas and walkways is expected to start in early 2011.
The Arc: A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State, is a transportation and infrastructure plan for Palestine developed by Suisman Urban Design and the RAND Corporation. The Arc establishes a national corridor that would provide swift rail service, roadway, water, power, and parkland for the main Palestinian towns and cities. The corridor – and its lateral branches within each city – would enable the new state to accommodate a fast growing population by expanding urban neighborhoods and housing stock in a coherent and sustainable manner. This would allow private investment and international aid to be efficiently directed towards an integrated national space, rather than towards a costly array of scattered and disconnected projects.
The Arc is also a finalist at November’s World Architecture Festival in Barcelona.Read More
Minister of Transport and Doug Suisman representing RAND Corporation sign a joint Memorandum of Understanding.
Ramallah, West Bank, 2010–The Palestinian Minister of Transport and Communications Saadi al-Krunz and Doug Suisman representing RAND Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding establishing a cooperation between both parties to prepare a vision plan based on the proposed Arc project, developed by Suisman Urban Design, for the future of public transport and communication in Palestine. Dr. Saadi said this cooperation is aimed at achieving a future vision for the transportation sector and promoting sustainable development in Palestine, in line with the government’s proposed declaration of the establishment of a Palestinian state next year.Read More
Large crowd attends panel on economic development as a pathway to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Washington, October 2009–Doug Suisman presented the Arc project for a Palestinian state to an overflow audience at the first national conference held by J-Street, the highly visible new lobbying group that describes itself as “pro-Israel, pro-peace”. There were more than 2500 attendees at the conference, whose plenary session was addressed by General James Jones, President Obama’s national security advisor. In one of the many panels that followed, Suisman addressed an audience of more than 400 from a dais that included Bassim Khoury, Minister of National Economy for the Palestinian Authority, and Ron Pundak, Director General, Peres Center for Peace. Suisman’s visual presentation included the first public showing of proposed West Bank “demonstration projects” which would bring immediate benefits to Palestinians, while creating the first building blocks for eventual realization of the Arc.Read More
Arc Update Presented to Palestinian Ministry of Transportation.
Ramallah, June 2009–A delegation from RAND and Suisman Urban Design met with the Palestinian Deputy Minister of Transport and 14 members of his staff for more than two hours to discuss a range of transportation issues raised by the Arc plan, including public transport in the West Bank.Read More
Doug Suisman presented the Arc project to U.N. officials at the world organization’s Geneva headquarters.
Geneva, May 2009–Doug Suisman of Suisman Urban Design recently went to the UN’s headquarters in Geneva at the invitation of the Office for Assistance to the Palestinian People, part of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, or UNCTAD. Suisman briefed the UN officials on the RAND Palestine initiative and the Arc project, including the recent cooperation agreement between RAND and the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Planning.Read More
Suisman Speaks at Conference on “The Next Generation of Global Challenges”.
Geneva, May 2009–On the occasion of its 450th birthday, the University of Geneva organized a joint conference with its new partner, UCLA, to discuss a range of issues confront society in the 21st century. The Rector of UNIGE and the Chancellor of UCLA both attended. Under the rhubric, “Next Generation of Global Challenges – Bridging Knowledge and Policy through Innovative Cross-Boundary Partnerships”, Doug Suisman was invited to present the Arc project as an innovative approach to diplomacy in conflict zones through the use of design thinking and proposition. While in Geneva, Suisman also visited the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for another briefing on the Arc with Trust officials, including Farrokh Derakhshani, Director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.Read More
Officials from the President’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs receive Anthony and Suisman at the Elysées.
Paris, February 2009–Representatives of the government of French President Nicolas Sarkozy received Suisman Urban Design’s Doug Suisman and RAND’s Ross Anthony at the Elysées Palace–the presidential complex–for a briefing on the Palestine initiative and the Arc project. The meeting was arranged by French Consul David Martinon; attendees included Christophe Bigot, senior advisor on the Middle East to the Foreign Minister, and two representatives from Mission Union de la Méditerranée, President Sarkozy’s initiative for sustainable development and economic cooperation among Mediterranean nations. The briefing took place inside the historic Hotel de Marigny, the former private palace which serves as France’s official guest residence for foreign dignitaries. While in Paris, Anthony and Suisman also met with Valerie Hoffenberg, the French ambassador the Middle East peace process.Read More
RAND and Suisman Urban Design sign agreement with Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Planning.
Ramallah, February 2009–The longstanding relationship between the RAND Palestine team and PA Ministry of Planning, which began with a briefing in Ramallah in 2005, was recently cemented in a Letter of Intent signed by the Planning Minister, Dr. Samir Abdullah. The letter calls on the PA and RAND to collaborate in developing detailed technical plans for infrastructure, transportation, land use, housing, and economic development – the core features of the Arc project. Dr. Ross Anthony and Mary Vaiana of RAND, and Doug Suisman of Suisman Urban Design, participated in the meeting at the Ministry’s offices in Ramallah. The signing culminated several months of preparation with senior ministry official Cairo Arafat and urban planner Bashar Juma’a, who is the PA’s Coordinator for the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PDRP), the underlying blueprint for development in the West Bank and Gaza. The meeting included discussions of the connector route from the West Bank to Gaza, ideas for demonstration transit projects in the West Bank, and strategies for moving the project forward.Read More
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.Read More