While recovering from stomach flu, inspired by Walt Disney's actual vision for EPCOT as a high tech, futuristic city functioning as a controlled environment, like his theme parks, I thought of the following:
"I have in fact worked out a plan for Old Jerusalem modelled on Walt Disney's vision for EPCOT."
In other words, a futuristic city (a rebuilt East Jerusalem and israeli Jerusalem) connected by monorail to the Old City, which to prevent weather damage to the historic sites, in a manner similiar to walt's plan for EPCOT, would be completely enclosed and climate controlled, albeit with a glass structure such as a geodescic dome rather than the concrete ceiling painted to resemble the sky planned for the original EPCOT. Rubber tired Peoplemovers of the Wedway type marketed by Bombardier and used at Disney World, the US Senate, and Houston International Airport, among other places, and also formerly at Disneyland, would connect the four quarters (Muslim, Armenian, Greek/Syrian/Christian, and Jewish). These would be discretely installed so as to not obstruct the view of historic buildings. Cars would be banned; passengers would transfer to public transport at parking lots surrounding the old city, but there would be licensed battery powered taxis in addition to the peoplemovers. Delivery vehicles would access the city center through a network of tunnels built in concert with archaeologists, using loading bays,freight elevators, and central storage facilities below the city streets, out of site to pilgrims, tourists, clergy and hotel guests. Food sellers in the marketplaces would be required to use shared centralized kitchens kept to a vigorous standard of sanitation, and the entire sewage and water system would be overhauled to ensure improved potability and reduced risk of flooding damaging the heritage sites; underground natural gas powered cogeneration plants would provide centralized heating, air conditioning and hot water as well as electricity. There would also be a centralized vacuum based trash collection system like the proven, highly reliable system used in the busiest parts of Walt Disney World, to control problems with litter and fly tipping (unauthorized disposal of refuse, in British parlance). And like at WDW there would be underground "Utilidors", utility corridors, for the movement of policemen, security guards, paramedics and ambulances, as well as sanitation workers, and all utility systems would be accessible within this closely controlled, tightly secured network, which would feature biometric access control. And the centralized vacuum powered refuse system would be built in reinforced channels, so if somoene threw an IED in the trashcan, it would be sucked harmlessly underground ehere it eould detonate without causing damage above ground.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre would be completely restored in stages as would other deteiorating buildings. In fact, all historic buildings would be retrofitted formprotection against earthwuakes, fires, and terror attacks. Non compliant buildings of lesser value that posed a safety threat would simply be demolished and replaced. All persons emtering the Old City would be required to pass through airport style security, and delivery trucks would be X rayed; hotels in the Old City would be appropriated by the central administration, which would consist of the Waqf, the Chief Rabinnate and the Christian churches. Tourists, pilgrims and visitors would be required to stay in the hotels or buy day tickets (which the religious authorities would subsidize for poor pilgrims); a day pass would cost $20-$50 depending on the time of year. Residents and workers would be issued an ID card to enter the area; no change would be made to arrangements concerning office buikdings but I expect rents woukd go up, and these rent increases woukd be taxed. This revenue would pay for the improved transport, sanitation and security systems.
So in effect the entire Old City would be transformed into something like a controlled access theme park or museum, as opposed to the rotting, decaying and overcrowded nightmare that it is at present, where one has to fear for ones life; if an earthquake hit, structures like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the current decayed Al Aqsa mosque woukd probably collapse, as well as many houses and less prominent structures. The new arrangements would also ensure improved security; any troublemakers would be instantly arrested and permanently banned. mathere would be continuous 24/7'surveillance, including audio surveillance of hotel rooms and private spaces, to thwart any potential disruptions or terrorist activities.
Note this plan I developed as a distraction while recovering from the stomach flu that nearly killed me last spring.
But I think its a good one; I want to radically transform the Old City into a safe pilgrimage destination for all Christians, Jews and Muslims capable of behaving themselves. No more spitting on Christian clergy or provactive acts on the Temple Mount, no more novice monks having a brawl at the holiest place in the Christian faith, and most importantly, no more Islamic terror; the latest vector involving vehicukar manslaughter being thwarted through pedestrianization. The rebuilt city would also be able to accomodate twice the pilgrims it handles today, in greatly improved comfort; the temperature outside in the enclosed city centre would be a constant 80 degrees.
There would also be improved access for Protestants to sites they value like Gordon's Calvary. But there would be no Third Temple, as this would cause a schism among the Jews as well as provoke the Muslims; its a violation of Rabinnical law, it being halakhically forbidden by the Chief Rabinnate for Jews to even enter the Temple Mount for fear of accidentally defiling the Holy of Holies (those Jews who access the mount do so in defiance of the Chief Rabbi).
Lastly, the old city eould be physically isolated from the rest of Jerusalem not only by a glass do e or superstructure, but also by an enlarged, expansive greenbelt (this already exists, in part, but not on all sides).
I believe a similiar program should also be implemented in Bethlehem, to improve the safety of Christian pilgrims visiting Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity / St. Mary's, which I would like to connect with the Old City of Jerusalem via a dedicated monorail.
So thats what I think Jerusalem should be like: a safe, family friendly destination for everyone, where one can focus on religious piety without dealing with some of the horrors that presently afflict the Holy City.