Ph.D Thesis

Ph.D StudentTzuk Ido
SubjectPlanning the Home Front: An Urban Reading of Civil Defense
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor PROFESSOR EMERITUS Rachel Kallus
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


This research examines the notion of structural protection (“migun”) and its use by the State of Israel. The research especially looks at how this notion is integrated into urban policy and is combined with residential planning. As a spatial practice reflecting the uncertainty of the security risk, Structural protection is subject to changing threat scenarios. Authorized regulations of structural residential protection embed the security risk factor into a planning criterion that strengthens the State's position within the housing market. State-initiated structural protection measures are carried out as part of housing renovations and extension projects within the scheme of urban renewal. This is especially evident in confrontation line communities, where the security risk level impairs the housing market and destabilizes the routines of everyday life .

The phenomenon of residential structural protection is analyzed as a form of discourse and action wielded by state apparatus within the urban space, as a modern form of power-knowledge mechanism that shape resident’s lives. The research examines its architectural manifestation in the construction of home protections (MAMADs) in existing buildings. It examines the marketing of home protections as incremental extensions, their implementation in local planning and their overall impact on the urban fabric .

Research material includes policy and planning documents and in-depth study of decision-making processes, to investigate the residential structural protection policy and its implementation methods in the city of Sderot. Structural protection projects are further investigated in two major inner city neighborhoods to define their impact on the form and function of housing and the residential environment. Analysis of structural protection processes in both neighborhoods reveals a local community contending with internal tensions among the residents, and with tensions between residents and the state and its planning and implementation agents. The residents’ recalcitrance, stemming from financial interests and the clashing between planning and security considerations, emerges against a backdrop of  property rights violation and as the result of expedited procedures, increases in planning permission reliefs, and deferral of planning permit conditions fulfillment .

Research materials are analyzed on three levels: policy, implementation, and concrete outcomes. The architectural discussion of the findings considers each level with respect to the other two, as mutual influence of agents and actions. This framework, which emphasizes state-citizen relations, allows for an urban reading of security and civil defense mechanisms, as they are turned into planning and out in the field. The practical analysis of the structural protection policy and its implementation contributes to understanding of the theoretical and operational implications of this concept . It explains the realization of the structural protection concept in relation to the urban public space and the individual welfare.

Structural protection can thus be understood not only as a response to changes in threat scenarios of exposure to security risks, but mainly as a means of housing production. In light of the ways in which it is promoted by the State, residential structural protection is shown to function as a control mechanism and implemented through building extensions.

The study contributes a critical analytical framework for urban, social and political reading of residential policy in confrontation zones. It thus helps to elucidate the link between urban growth and renewal in the country’s periphery and its affinity to centrally made decisions.