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Subject: Cleaning cities

Cleaning cities

From: Barnea Levi Selavan <selavan>
Date: Thursday, October 21, 2004
We are preparing a report for the Jerusalem Municipality and would
appreciate your input. List members are particularly suited to
advise on this topic.

Cleaning the Old City of Jerusalem is a challenge. The streets are
generally narrow with the exception of a few roads and squares. The
street surface is made of chalk limestone blocks, "Jerusalem stone,"
chiseled to have grooves for both traction and esthetic beauty.
Because of long term terrorist threats there are few garbage bins
except a few specially encased ones that cannot keep up with the
input. In most of the neighborhoods of this walled square kilometer,
garbage is piled at street corners or alleyways and picked up by
little trucks. The areas destroyed in the 1948 war and rebuilt anew
after 1967 had some buildings constructed with garbage rooms for
residents, which are also insufficient. For large trucks to drive in
and out of the Old City on its internal road and at those gates with
access roads, let alone into the neighborhoods themselves, is

Some areas are cleaned by noisy little trucks with spinning brushes
that seem to do little but spread the dirt. Only occasionally are
significant amounts of water used to hose down the streets, due to
budget and water shortages; and it is even rarer for them to use
soap. The growing number of cars per capita in all sectors of the
population of the families, schools, and businesses all increase
internal traffic on stones never meant for this use, with additional
dirt, dripped oil, wear and tear, and vibrations felt through the
homes, etc. (Yes, horses and donkeys still wend their way through
the streets as well, and camels outside the gates).

Life amidst hordes of tourists is also a challenge to residential
life, while a boon to local businesses.

The residents now have chance to make their voices heard and offer
alternative suggestions. We ask for your knowledge and

Here are some specific issues:

What cleaning and upkeep methods are used in other old cities that
are residential?

What responsibilities are the city's and what are those of the
residents? What criteria determine the relative impact of tourist
traffic in additional cleaning of the streets, garbage from
businesses catering primarily to visitors, and thus the possible
responsibility of other arms of government besides the municipal
maintenance department, such as a local or national tourist

What are the restrictions on the residents, and what compensatory
services are there for reduced car access and other limitations?

Is a premium paid in property and municipal taxes for the privilege
of living there, and to cover extra expenses, or additional support
by the government to encourage residency and compensate for the
restrictions and impositions on privacy by tourist traffic?

Are there restrictions on tourist traffic to protect the normalcy of
life for the residents, such as quiet hours and closure?

When is cleaning done by hand, with the additional manpower and time
required, and when by machine?

Shoshanah Selavan
in the name of the Jewish Quarter Community Center

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:21
                 Distributed: Tuesday, November 9, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-18-21-003
Received on Thursday, 21 October, 2004

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