Concrete Conflicts: The Vicissitudes of an Ordinary Material in Modernizing Gaza City

Fatina Abreek-Zubiedat*, Tom Avermaete

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Working within the field of architecture in conflict zones, this article discusses two construction projects that heavily relied on concrete in Gaza city to reveal a collision between concrete’s reformative capacity in processes of modernization and the Israeli occupier’s agenda of “reformation” by concrete. The Israeli-designed and constructed Sheikh Radwan neighborhood was intended to rehabilitate Palestinian refugees and was supposed to silence their demands for the right to return. The Rashad A-Shawa Cultural Centre in Gaza, by contrast, was Gazan a public project that reflected the modernization of the city and attempted to reform its people out of a belief in architecture’s role in giving shape to the Palestinians’ struggle for national self-determination. The two juxtaposed cases highlight the centrality of concrete to Gaza’s urban history but also its conflicting discourses of modernization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1159-1173
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Urban History
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Israel–Palestine conflict
  • concrete
  • labor
  • refugees
  • urban


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