Refugee cities: Tel Aviv/Beograd

Walking around Tel Aviv last month I was struck with how similar parts of it looked to Belgrade. Ironically it was not just the sleek Modernist parts, built by Bauhaus architects, but also parts of the city that were haphazardly forced to house Jewish refugees and settlers, much like parts of Belgrade (Altina, Borča, Batajnica, Banjica) were forced to take in people who came to Belgrade out of calamity.

Indeed, one of the formative memories of my childhood was my grandmother selling her plot of land to people who emigrated from Lika (where her father hailed from). Refugee cities like Belgrade and Tel Aviv, of course never make to liveablity/walkability/whatever… lists but they do have a same bustling energy of people trying to make it in an unfamiliar environment.

Belgrade and Tel Aviv should twin bot only due to their modernist heritage (funnily enough Israeli embassy in Belgarde is in a modersnits house designed by Dragiša Brašovan) – but due to their refugee spirit of brining people from all around to build new unique places.

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