Oren Yiftachel: “Between Liberalism and Urban Apartheid”

OREN YIFTACHEL, Ben Gurion University, Beersheba, Israel

“Gray Spacing and the Contemporary City: Between Liberalism and Urban Apartheid”

Thursday, November 8, 2012

3.00 pm – 4.30 pm

CUNY Graduate Center Room 6304.01

Free and open to the public.


The lecture conceptualizes what appears to be an emerging new urban order, flowing from structural tensions on the transformation of urban regimes and citizenship.


It draws attention to the pervasive emergence of ‘gray spaces’; that is, informal, temporary or illegal developments, transactions and populations. ‘Gray-spacing’ has become a central strategy through which urban elites manage the unwanted/irremovable, putting in train a process of ‘creeping urban apartheid’. These tensions and trends will be illustrated by highlighting research findings from cities around Europe, Africa and Asia, with special focus on the ‘ethnocratic’ cities of Israel/Palestine.

Co-sponsored by the Graduate Programs in Urban Design (CCNY), Critical Social/Personality and Environmental Psychology and Earth and Environmental Sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center and the Space Time Research Collective (STREAC).

Prof. Yiftachel teaches urban studies and political geography at Ben-Gurion University, Beersheba. His research has focused on critical understandings of the relations between space, power and conflict, with particular attention to ethnic, social and urban aspects of these relations.

He  published over 100 articles and ten authored and co-edited books, including Planning a Mixed Region in Israel (1992), Planning as Control: Policy and Resistance in Divided Societies (1995), Israelis in Conflict (2004), Ethnocracy: Land and Identity Politics in Israel/Palestine (2006), and Indigenous (in)Justice (co-author, 2012 forthcoming).

Yiftachel now serves on the editorial boards of seven international journals, including journals such as Urban Studies, Society and Space and IJMS. He is an essay editor in the journal Planning Theory and a contributing editor of MERIP.

Yiftachel has been an activist in a wide range of human rights and social organizations, including the RCUV – council for unrecognized Bedouin villages, and Adva – center for social equality. He is currently the chair of one of Israel’s largest NGO -  B’Tselem – monitoring human rights violations in the Palestinian Territories. He has been a team member in the planning projects Israel 2020, and in devising plans for Beersheba, Kibbutz movements and Bedouin villages.

For more information or inquiries please contact: Cindi Katz (ckatz@gc.cuny.edu)