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Sophie Grabiner

MA work

Refugee Camps: Heritage and the Everyday

The urban condition of the West Bank is defined by Israeli imposed territorial fragmentation. This in turn has substantial effects on the organisation of cities and territories within this zone of conflict.  This project explores the politics of infrastructure in the West Bank: seen in terms of both heritage and modes of living. I looked in detail at how everyday infrastructure such as roads divide communities and produce spatial class divisions. I also looked at how heritage in Palestine is currently deployed: it is used as a mechanism of analysis that at best informs tourist economies, and at worst enables dispossession and land grabs. It disregards the vibrant lives of the local peoples and their rich histories. In this context, and contrary to how heritage protection is currently deployed, I am proposing that the focus should instead be on people and life. In particular, I propose that refugee camps in the West Bank should be treated as embodiments of Palestinian heritage, and therefore, subject to a new model of protection protocols funded by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).  Specifically, within this model, I am proposing a series of collective equipments that bring into visibility the popular culture and social practices of the camp.  In doing so, I aim to create a counter-infrastructure intended to empower the local inhabitants.


  • MA Degree


    School of Architecture


    MA Architecture, 2017

  • Degrees

  • BA Architecture, University of Cambridge, Kings College, 2014