M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentAdraee David
SubjectPrivate Open Space as Shared Open Space
The Changing Role of Private Open Space (POS) in
the Housing Estates of Yad Eliyahu,
Tel Aviv
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisors PROFESSOR EMERITUS Rachel Kallus
ASSOCIATE PROF. Elissa Rosenberg
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


70 years after the establishment of the Yad Eliyahu neighborhood in Tel Aviv, it seems that, the Privately Owned Public Space (POPS) between the housing blocks are in a continual process of transformation. Their current spatial expression challenges the uniformity of the landscape design that first characterized the neighborhood. The academic literature on the subject of the Israeli housing estate has tended to focus on the built space, treating the open space only implicitly. This research asks how the spatial and social manifestations of Yad Eliyahu’s POPS have changed over time. Yad Eliahu was designed by architect Jacob Ben-Sira according to the Zeilenbau typology (Weimar Republic 1920s) that incorporated the principles of the rational garden, where social and functional significance were assigned to the POPS. With the wane of this planning ideology, the function of the POPS was left undefined.  The Housing Administration was weakened, and the maintenance of the POPS was left unprotected by law.

The research is situated between discourses of architecture, landscape architectural design, town planning, the legal system, and social anthropology. It adopts ethnographical methods of observation of the current uses of the POPS. 134 open spaces are examined at the urban and block scales. The results were analyzed through the theoretical prism of “action strategy”.

The evolution of Yad Eliyahu straddles the ideological void between the private initiatives of cooperative housing projects in Tel Aviv during the 1930s, and the state-managed housing projects of the 1950s. The neighborhood was designed in the 1940s by the municipal planning authorities. Despite having been designed on common principals, the morphological cloning of housing units for veterans may be categorized as a conglomerate of small collective projects serving various sartorial power groups divided across lines of occupation, party, and ethnicity.. A careful look at the POPS between two housing blocks reveals four current typologies of  POPS. The first, the “well- tended typology”- which retains the original plan, is a gardened space. The second, the “appropriated typology” is the result of the privatization of the open space in the form of building extensions, storage, parking, or private yards. The third “abandoned typology” is characterized by physical neglect. In the fourth “collective action typology”  private initiatives have created new interventions such as gathering spaces or areas for sports in a non-garden space that have become focal points for social interaction.

This research adds to the small body of knowledge that currently exists on the POPS of Israeli housing estates, and argues that POPS must be studied as an integral component of the housing estate. By analyzing the tenants’ interventions in the POPS, it seeks to reconceptualize the traditional divide between private and public realms, and suggest new parameters for evaluating  the meaning,  utility and social benefit of  POPS that are based on recent examples of shared space. This reexamination of the idea of private open space is significant in  light of  the current urban renewal initiative of the Municipal authority in Yad Eliyahu.