Rawabi, the first Palestinian planned city, is bringing dignity, pride, economic opportunity and social development to people of the State of Palestine.
The city gives Palestinians an outlet for their knowledge and skills that can be channelled towards building their country. It’s doing this in a way that empowers and engages local communities, making sure that Rawabi contributes to Palestinian social, environmental and economic development.
Bashar Masri is a Palestinian-American entrepreneur, born and raised in Nablus, and founder and managing director of Bayti Real Estate Investment Company, jointly-owned by Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company and Massar International – created to build Rawabi. Rawabi is a modern, new city and a landmark project, being both the largest project in Palestinian history and the first Palestinian planned city.
On completion, Rawabi will be home to 40,000 Palestinians and hundreds of businesses, offices, and public recreational areas and will provide new homes for Palestinians. By creating jobs, strengthening the Palestinian private sector and helping to revitalize the economies of villages around it, The city is helping to build a more sustainable world and respect for the environment has been integrated into its values and into the design of the city. For example, it’s designed to be pedestrian-friendly and to maximize the use of public transportation to reduce CO2 emissions. Rawabi is more than just a corporate project.
It’s also a historic, national project for Palestine, and as such, Rawabi needs the support of the Palestinian community to achieve its goals. The city also has a role to play beyond its investors, which explains its activity in corporate social responsibility. Bashar hopes that the social outcomes of their work will infuse dignity, confidence and pride in the Palestinian people, promoting and advancing Palestinian culture by investing in the arts and revitalizing the economies of local communities.
Inspiring and empowering young Palestinians through educational support and training programs, is also key in creating a positive and dynamic national brand for the State of Palestine for the world to see. Rawabi encourages people to experiment and try new things, as long as they work towards the goals of the business.
To give an example, you would see a civil engineer designing a business plan for a new city winery, or an urban planner implementing a smart grid system. While this may seem counterproductive, Bashar thinks that it actually helps develop people’s skills and create connections between everyone involved. This dynamic helps prevent the “silo” mentality that blights many companies.
One of Rawabi’s more interesting aspects is its “no title” policy. Aside from very senior leadership, most employees do not possess official titles. This has created a culture of openness, where even the newest hires engage as equals with more experienced coworkers.
It also reduces corporate politics and ensures that the people who come to Rawabi are mission-oriented and not obsessed with titles. The new city has created construction jobs for thousands of Palestinians, who used to work building Israeli settlements. Today, they can feed their families by working on a project that is building their own country, rather than destroying it.