טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentHorwitz Itai
SubjectExpressing Local Identity in the Cityscape: Older Part of
Rosh Ha'ayin - a Case Study
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor Professor Iris Aravot


Abstract

This project-thesis explores issues of identity and local memories in the older part of the town of Rosh Ha’ayin. The project-thesis offers ways to create a sense of place and enhance a place identity closely linked to local customs and tradition.

The current neighborhood scene lacks aspects of local identity and culture, as do most contemporary urban settings. This downplaying of memory and identity generally has fundamental social consequences. Representations of cultural markings in the environment (or lack thereof) have strong implications on the making and changing of personal and social identities. These issues are significant to personal and community environmental wholesomeness and place attachment. The cityscape can - and should- convey a local identity, as do other local and communal identity expressions (such as codes of dressing, slang, museums, etc.).

The project-thesis is in line with a growing tendency for applied research, seen in other disciplines, often serving marginalized or subjugated social groups. Everyday, vernacular habits and environments are considered worthy and important for research and action. 

The approach adopted bids for small, abundant and subliminal gestures, embedded in the local environment and everyday encounters. Such improvements can be an effective tool for empowerment, community building and the quality of the urban scene. The project-thesis aims to reveal and surface local and particular spatial habits, social and cultural characteristics and symbols. Various design schemes are suggested to incorporate these elements into the contemporary cityscape. These designs are varied and modest in scope.

While being also an academic inquiry into these forgotten issues, the project-thesis embraces practical methods for presenting and promoting different, often subjugated cultures in the urban realm. Ultimately focusing on a specific neighborhood,  the project-thesis also aims to provide tools for other such projects and explorations in other localities and communities.

The project-thesis first establishes a wide conceptual-theoretical background for this communal-environmental approach. Then dozens of precedents from various countries are presented and analyzed. The neighborhood in Rosh Ha’ayin is studied and described, with an emphasis on social and cultural aspects. These are the foundations for the design stage. Several design proposals are presented, developed by the researcher and by students.

This project-thesis is a pioneering exploration into the potential and promise of local identities’ expression in the Israeli cityscape. The design method presented aims to serve in creating an improved environment that people are comfortable in and identify with.