M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentSivan-Geist Yael
SubjectThe Role of the Different "Actors" in Urban Revitalization
Process: Lev Ha'eer in Tel Aviv, Hadar Hacarmel in
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor PROFESSOR EMERITUS Rachel Kallus
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Urban revitalization is a major issue in contemporary urban planning - a consequence of the deterioration that is occurring in central areas of cities worldwide. This research examines the relations between the different participants involved in processes of urban regeneration of deteriorating central residential areas in two cities in Israel.

The research raises questions about the relations of “top down” versus “bottom up” processes. It asks: what is the role of residents in urban regeneration? On what information is planning based in the renewal process? How does planning rely on local assets for urban regeneration? How does planning include residents' participation in the process? How important is local municipality commitment to the process?

The two study areas, Lev Ha'ir in Tel-Aviv, and Hadar Hacarmel in Haifa, were each examined according to three domains: a. spatial knowledge, including physical, geographical, architectural, historical, political and demographic characteristics of the place; b. professional knowledge, considering top-down and formal planning; c. local knowledge, taking into account bottom-up initiatives of residents' organizations.

Research findings made it possible to evaluate the regeneration processes in both locations, and to compare them with new approaches to urban regeneration. Conclusions drawn from the research refer to the priority of a flexible plan for urban regeneration that sets goals and offers guidelines on how to achieve them. Small projects drawn from this plan can be applied quickly and effectively, thus letting local and potential residents know that there is a chance for a change. Communicating with residents throughout the whole process enables them to participate in changes that will affect their lives. It also enables the planners to become more aware of the local everyday life. Active public participation can contribute to the empowerment of resident groups and become an important tool in integrating spatial knowledge with local and professional knowledge. The local authority must support residents' initiatives for a successful urban regeneration.

It is evident from this comparative research that when relying on precedents, the planner should understand the difference between the political, economic and social structures of localities. For example, the Hadar plan incorporates solutions from the Lev Ha'ir project without taking into account the difference in Tel-Aviv’s centrality, the topographical differences between the two cities, and especially the heterogeneous population of the Hadar area versus the homogeneity of the residents of Lev Ha'ir.