Politics, infrastructure and representation: The case of Jerusalem’s Light Rail

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - tram/light rail, policy - equity, planning - signage/information, land use - planning


Jerusalem, Urban infrastructure, Representation, Colonial urbanism


This article will focus on the official representation of the Jerusalem Light Rail in the public discourse. We argue that the implementation of the Light Rail was and is entangled with discourses that portray it as a neutral, modern and efficient means of transportation for Jerusalem as a “metropolis”, legitimizing the connection between the West of the city and the East, creating facts on the ground against the background of a controversial territorial and political situation. Drawing on Lefebvre’s theory on social space and our own field research in Jerusalem, we seek to analyze how the official representation of the Light Rail became part of its political and territorial legitimation. We will look in particular at the way symbols and signs are used to connect the Light Rail to a wider discourse of Jerusalem as a modern “metropolitan” unified city, offering easy transportation, leisure and lifestyle to all its citizens. Thus, the representation of a highly contested city is at stake.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.