The Hebrew University's Urban Clinic, in its quest to create more equitable cities, combines knowledge and practice to strengthen local community leadership and help rejuvenate neighborhoods. However, some sectors have less access to resources and services; systematic urban planning, from grassroots upwards and with the clinic's guidance, can make all the difference to underserved areas.
The Urban Clinic is thus well-positioned to work with residents and local professionals to address the inadequate infrastructure and public services in East Jerusalem. To this end, the clinic raised funds and established scholarships for Arab students studying towards a master’s degree. Priority is given to projects that take place in East Jerusalem and to students who are themselves residents of East Jerusalem.
"I couldn’t think of anything more sacred than donating my resources towards improving the Hebrew University’s Urban Clinic, the city of Jerusalem, and the State of Israel."
- Jonathan Russo, supporter of the scholarships
Since 2015, these scholarships have enabled 19 Arab graduate students to study both the academic and practical sides of urban planning. These motivated and accomplished students are hand-picked, commit to improving their Hebrew, participate in Urban Clinic meetings, and develop a project in East Jerusalem. Since most of the students come from or live in East Jerusalem, they know only too well the challenges their neighborhoods face. Through the Urban Clinic’s training, they gain the skills, confidence, and knowledge to work with local planning professionals and the Jerusalem municipality, as well as initiate small-scale projects to enhance public spaces and help allocate limited resources wisely.
For example, in an attempt to address the dire need for housing caused by the difficulty obtaining building permits, one student researched the legal aspects of land registration in East Jerusalem. Another student involved East Jerusalem high schoolers in analyzing and mapping the inadequate parks and outdoor spaces near their homes; together they submitted proposals for improvements to the Jerusalem municipal professionals responsible for developing public open spaces.
"These scholarships empower Arab and Palestinian master students, giving them the professional tools to work as urban-planners in their own community. The Urban Clinic’s ethos and methods teach them how to work within the system to bring about change. Seeing them graduate, obtain jobs in the field, and continue devoting their energy and knowledge to making Jerusalem a more equitable and livable city, is very satisfying."
- Anonymous supporter of the scholarships
Meet Aya Eghbaria, a recipient of this scholarship, and read about her projects in East Jerusalem here.