Rawabi's goal is to become Palestine's first truly green city. The master plan's forward positioned approach to the environment preserves the landscape at every opportunity. At Rawabi, our vision is to create a replicable model for future cities that will improve quality of life for our residents and for future generations as well.
The scarcity of designated properly maintained recreation space in Palestine puts pressure on delicate local ecosystems that families use as gathering and picnic spaces. It also discourages respectful use of common areas. Rawabi’s large, easily accessed public park welcomes Rawabi residents as well as the 53,000 residents of 16 surrounding villages. Park and recreation managers will oversee proper, courteous use of public grounds. The park is easily accessed from the Ramallah district and will encourage active outdoor lifestyles and a greater appreciation for the environment.
The Rawabi Park addresses one of Rawabi's crucial environmental questions: how to accommodate the massive material excavations without dumping stone debris in other areas of the West Bank? Rawabi's developers, in consultation with international landscape architects and environmentalists, decided that the excavated material presented an opportunity to create the massive green space of the Park. Excavated material was transferred to Rawabi's seasonal wadi and terraced to create the Park and Amphitheater, preserving the wadi while preventing Rawabi's waste from polluting other areas in Palestine. Careful land management practices incorporated a millennia-old custom of terracing the hills of the region. The landscape was reshaped without causing harm, skillfully converting Rawabi's potentially polluting excavated material into an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial resource.
The Rawabi Park will be landscaped with indigenous drought-resistant plants and other local flora. Plantings include the six species of trees designated by the GROW for a Greener Palestine program as suitable for Rawabi's climate. The park will provide a large open recreation space for families and friends on Friday afternoons and other leisure times. It features a natural basin for the seasonal flow of water through Rawabi's wadi as well as groomed walking trails and playgrounds.
Using sustainable and environmentally friendly methods at every stage of the construction life cycle at Rawabi is integral to the values of our community.
Well-defined ecological, environmental and socially responsible methods practiced internationally are used by the city’s developers in their efforts to maintain clean operations that pose no threat to the environment or to humans who live close to construction sites. The potential for pollution or the misuse of resources is always present; it is easier and cheaper to be a polluter than it is to be a friend of the environment.
At Rawabi, protection of the environment and the safety and well-being of Palestinians is paramount. Rawabi has taken the lead on this issue; hoping to set what will be a very high standard of sustainable practices for contractors and builders throughout Palestine and to serve as a model for future development.
Water Recycling in the Stone-Cutting Factory
Currently, Rawabi trucks in the water needed for its stone-cutting factory and stores it in water silos specially constructed for this purpose. Stone-cutting is a water-intensive process. Water is used to control dust, to cut, wash and polish stone surfaces, and to cool high-heat machine grinders in the stone-cutting operation. A stone-cutting factory like Rawabi’s, which operates around the clock, would normally consume 10,360 liters of water per day. Recycle and reuse is the only way to avoid unnecessary water consumption. Rawabi’s water recycling system reduces the level of water consumption to less than 10% of the quantity required without reuse.
Water comes out of the stone factory and flows into a special collecting system. Used water, which is contaminated with stone dust, cannot be permitted to seep into the soil where it would cause damage to groundwater, aquifers and the water table. Instead, all the wastewater byproducts are run through a special filtration and compression system which removes the stone dust and large particles from the water. The cleaned water is returned to the factory for reuse in a continuous closed loop.
As precise as Rawabi’s stone cutting machinery is, there is always some residual stone left over from the cutting process. Rawabi’s developers are building the city with stone quarried from Rawabi hills, which allows them to use the surplus pebble-sized pieces to cover Rawabi’s road retaining walls. Smaller particles, which are not suitable for this purpose, are sent to the Rawabi “crusher”, which pulverizes the rock into an aggregate that varies in size and is used to create concrete.
The words “cement” and “concrete” are often used interchangeably, but cement is actually an ingredient in concrete. Rawabi creates its own concrete by reusing the aggregate byproduct of its stone-cutting factory and mixing it with water, cement, sand and other additives.
One of the most expensive and important components of construction is the steel used to reinforce building structures. The city will use thousands of tons of steel throughout the lifespan of the project. Careful accounting of this expensive building resource is therefore required.
Each shipment of steel is brought in for a specific purpose. Construction workers, trained specially in the handling, cutting and bending of steel, take great care to use precise measurements to minimize errors and waste. Small leftover pieces of steel are gathered up and sent back to steel factories to be melted back down to liquid form and reused in another larger rod or sheet.