At a presentation to the public and private sectors in Washington DC on 13 December 2016, Shurook – a non-profit organisation administered as a project of the United Nation’s Office for Project Services – will reveal Lyndon Goode Architects’ (LGA) proposal for a sustainable and affordable city near the city of Hebron in the West Bank.
The US$1bn property development will see 12,000 homes, shops, offices and educational facilities constructed in an area with a severe housing shortage and lack of affordable homes. Khalil Al Khadra (‘Green Hebron’ in Arabic), will cover 250ha of land just to the south of Hebron and create homes and a community for 50,000 people.
At Tuesday’s event, London-based Lyndon Goode Architects (LGA) will unveil their illustrative masterplan for the first phase of the new city. Named ‘Baytouna’, phase one encompasses 450 new homes due for completion in 2019.
In common with many locations around the world, the West Bank is suffering from a housing crisis, with a deficit of 125,000 homes forecast for 2020. The situation is particularly acute in Hebron, the manufacturing hub of Palestine, where a deficit of 10,000 homes is expected by 2020. LGA are aiming for 70% of the homes to be priced at US$40,000 to US$60,000, making them affordable to 70% of Palestinian people. In order to achieve this, LGA will employ creative techniques such as compact dwelling layouts, pre-casting systems and locally-sourced materials. LGA have conducted extensive research on local requirements to inform their designs, including offering additional privacy for female members of households. To ensure the homes are affordable to live in, maintain and repair, the design will prioritise passive measures, keeping buildings warm in winter and cool in summer without the need for extensive air conditioning and heating. Shallow-plan, internally openable and dual-aspect homes will facilitate natural ventilation. The buildings will also be designed to minimise water demands via low flow aerated taps and showers.
Khalil Al Khadra will be Palestine’s first truly ‘green’ city, making use of renewable energy sources, energy-efficient materials, water-saving schemes and a water recycling system. Acclaimed environmental engineer Max Fordham will draw on traditional local interventions such as narrow streets to provide shading. A city-wide rainwater recycling system will help to secure water supplies in a region that suffers from frequent shortages.
The event on Tuesday will focus on supporting investment in Palestine and developing countries in the Middle East more broadly, and will include keynote speeches on how the private sector can be empowered to create new partnerships for Palestinian economic growth.
The Khalil Al Khadra project is led by Shurook, who are working to support the emergence of private sector-led infrastructure projects in the West Bank and Gaza. LGA has been working with Shurook and the Office of the Quartet on affordable housing for the past two years, running engagement events including design workshops for local developers, architects and students, to address Palestine’s shortage of durable, sustainable, economic housing.
In the UK, LGA are currently developing various sites with flagship affordable housing provider Peabody. LGA founding director Simon Goode says, “This will be the West Bank’s first affordable, sustainable planned city. The design draws on our experience, built up over the past decade, in place-making and affordable housing. We hope to create a vibrant and sustainable community that brings people together and taps into the vast talent and inspiring optimism of the people of West Bank.”
Shurook Managing Director Fayez Husseini says, “By bringing together the private and public sectors, Shurook is working to attract investment in those infrastructure projects most vital to creating an independent Palestinian economy. Khalil Al Khadra and its first development, Baytouna, will address the current housing crisis in Hebron, helping improve the lives of thousands of Palestinians. This project will serve as a model for the Palestinian real estate and construction industries as they shift towards addressing the need for affordable housing.”
Mayor of Hebron, Dr. Daoud Zatari says, “The Khalil Al Khadra project supports the Municipality’s strategy to promote affordable housing in the expansion area of the city, and to develop much needed investment in the construction sector.”