Ph.D Thesis

Ph.D StudentKolodney Ziva
SubjectThe Politics of the Landscape
Landscape Production in Transition between Mandate
and Sovereign Haifa
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor PROFESSOR EMERITUS Rachel Kallus
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


This research focuses on landscape production mechanisms, and examines their interaction with professional systems and political frameworks. Urban landscape production is viewed as an ongoing process in time and space. The research examines power effects of the governing and professional establishments on the cityscape since the British Mandate (mandate Haifa) via the early days of the Israeli State (sovereign Haifa).

By discussing the role of landscape in organizing the cityscape, the research helps to sharpen current debates on the role of landscape in setting social relationships and affirming cultural identities. Thus it challenges the accepted assumption of landscape as passive and aesthetics, defining it as "a way of seeing" that influences its lived experience.

The research examines Haifa's cityscape via three landscape production mechanisms, namely: transcape, erascape, and urban gaze.  The investigation shows how these mechanisms arise from political agendas to become powerful agents in constructing Haifa's socio-cultural relations. The transformation of landscaping ideas and practices from one terrain to another (transcape) is examined in relation to the Green Belt concept implemented in mandate and later in sovereign Haifa, to assist consolidation of the city for its working class. Obliteration of the landscape (erascape) of Haifa Old Town and its re-shaping was intended to destroy its "undesirable" Arab identity and replace it with a locus expressing progress and development according to imperial and Zionist ideologies. The study of urban gaze focuses on strategies to establish the view from Mount Carmel toward the downtown and the port, thereby constructing a political and social urban identity. Analysis of landscape production mechanisms expands understanding of the landscape, linking it with political, social and cultural processes, and contributing to understanding of its role in the active production of cityscape.

The theoretical framework of the research is based on the literature concerning the history and theories of architecture and urban planning, concerning professional knowledge with cultural studies. It enables a critical examination of the causal relationships between landscape design, architecture-planning culture and government in order to understand the establishment of spatial power relationships.