טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentAbramovich Talia
SubjectFirst "Moshavot" Settlements in Eretz Israel, 1878-1918
Public Space
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisors Dr. Marina Pliouchtch
Professor Iris Aravot
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

The dissertation studies public spaces in the Moshava, a new form of colony established by immigrants, mainly from Eastern Europe, to Ottoman Palestine, from the late 19th to the early 20th century.  It examines the initial four decades of these rural settlements, from the founding of the first colony in 1878 to the beginning of the British Mandate in Palestine, in 1918.  During these years the colonies were exposed to processes of radical change and modernization. The design of the colonies’ public spaces was linked to an international architectural context, placing a new focus on community health and wellbeing.

The research accumulates, sorts, and analyzes archival findings from 33 colonies. It focuses on eight colonies, representing a variety of factors: their founders, period of establishment and geographic locations. The analysis follows the urban planner John Montgomery's division of the findings into three categories: Shape, Activity and Image.

The first category focuses on aspects of shape in the colony's public space, demonstrating how design of public space followed new concepts and ideas from the industrial revolution. The research presents how shapes and materials were used to implement new ideas of architecture.  It also follows structural changes in the colony's main building, the synagogue, reflecting the worldwide religious-secular struggle and the shift in women's public presence.

The second category focuses on aspects of activity in the colony's public space, examining the Sebils, public water fountains, erected by local administrators and community leaders. The Sebils portrayed a political stance, as social hubs proffering hospitality to a multi-cultural population with a wide range of ethnic, religious and national roots. This section also follows the changes in the public spaces' activity over four decades. Global and local events, including political shifts, World War I and natural disasters challenged the resilience of public spaces in the colonies. Based on theories of resilience, the research follows changes in public spaces use and points out the characteristics that facilitated their survival.

The third category focuses on aspects of the image of the colonies' public space, examining the public spaces that were considered 'French' in style. It points to the fact that the design of buildings and open spaces in the colonies followed epochal styles such as Neo-classism, as well as local influence. This section also explores the rural/urban image that was attributed to the colonies' public space, a duality which had existed since the colonies’ beginnings. The research sheds light on the major role of architecture and design of public spaces in the transformation of the colony's image and identity from a rural settlement to a city.

The study of public spaces in 19th century as summed up from the research's three perspectives - Shape, Activity and Image, creates a vivid picture of public space in the early Jewish colonies. The research is of importance, when considering new rural and urban strategies promoting the city centres’ revitalization, following 19th century public space's design concepts.