|M.Sc Student||Omer Zehngut|
|Subject||The Influence of Civil Society on Urban Planning|
The Case of Haifa
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Dr. Jabareen Yosef|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
Focusing the effect of civil society (CS) on urban planning, we have observed a stronger voice for CS organizations in the planning discourse and a rise of spatial narratives as its physical and conceptual foundation. CS experiences a dialectical struggle over planning between Use Value and Exchange Value. The neo-liberal project allowed the emergence of the ‘entrepreneurial city', which reflects the powerful influence of profitability forces on contemporary planning. CS as a ‘third sector of volunteer organizations,’ is in a structural and conceptual conflict. Neo-liberalizing process allowed it's rise and challenge political institutions, all while urging crowds of young adults to protest in the summer of 2011. Thus it has a dialectical role in the entrepreneurial city: It promotes and undermines market ideology at the same time.
NGOs representing the ‘do-gooders’ but avoiding politics, express post-modern social values, which see CS as the realm of identities. From it emerges a new brand of CS, prepared both to collaborate with the establishment and to pressure it from outside. Beyond a space of common interests, CS becomes a space of opposition, protest and of social and community networks. It rejects Political neutrality, grows bottom-up, and represents vernacular forces. Thus, its role is significant in strengthening participatory democracy and values of justice, equality and impartiality.
One theoretical implication of the study refers to CS as a space for social debate. The 2011 social protest in Israel created a 'community of communities', with common temporal and spatial awareness. The campsite was a tangible, continuous space of social debate, with civil discourse allowing any individual to express an opinion. It was a live demonstration of Habermas’ theory of CS fostering free, rational debate among individuals and organizations within a public space unrestricted by boundaries and limitations. Individuals wish to speak and protest coalesced as an ‘active deliberative community,’ where they can participate and influence the national social-political environment. The spontaneous, unfocused outburst created organizations that, while not entirely political, are actively shaping a 'conscious common denominator'.
Based on theme-analyses of 25 in-depth interviews with CS-leaders in Haifa, Study offers a grounded theory of construction and deconstruction of the CS concept, leading to the 2011 protests. In practice, this process challenges the primacy of planning as an experts' domain and 'Ideological State Apparatus', and returns it to the public realm. Planners, decision makers and CS face the challenge: transition in planning, from technocracy to deliberative democracy.