M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentBar Am Noa
SubjectThe Integral Habitation Unit in Kiryat Gat: from Housing
Policy to Everyday life
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor PROFESSOR EMERITUS Rachel Kallus
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


In Israel and the world, National Housing policy is used by sovereign states not only as a tool for housing provision and regulation, but also as means to promote the state's national goals in the land it occupies. Under these circumstances, residential environments become political, cultural, social and economic arenas that have a significant impact on everyday life.

Current writings regarding the link between the national housing policy and the lived experience of the dwellers, analyze the tension between the two in different scales, but fail to capture the complexity of the dwellers' experience in the context of a deep historical analysis over time.

This research aims to reveal the meaning of national housing policy in the everyday lived experience of dwellers in public housing. The research relies on the residents' local knowledge, obtained using qualitative methods to enable an understanding of the meanings given to housing characteristics by the residents themselves. The case study selected for the research is the experimental Integrative Habitation Unit in Kiryat Gat, known today as the Glikson neighborhood. This neighborhood was founded in the 60's as an experiment by the Israeli Ministry of housing, to implement planning and sociological knowledge in order to fulfill the national goal of social integration through residential environments. The meaning of housing policy in the lived experience of the dwellers is examined in an integrative analysis of the local knowledge with other bodies of knowledge: planning knowledge relating to the construction of the national housing policy, and architectural knowledge relating to changes in the built environment. The integration of these three bodies of knowledge allows for a discussion about the link between housing policy and everyday life in two modes: in regard to three different scales: apartment, neighborhood and city, and in regard to three periods of housing policy: 60's, 80's and the present day

Research findings are organized in two parts: the first shows that national housing policy creates a framework for the architects' and planners' work; In this process, the architectural ideology as it is embodied in Artur Glikson's doctrine is subjugated to the hegemonic values of the nation-state. The result- Glikson neighborhood- is therefore a hybrid of changing architectural and political trends. The second part of the findings unfolds the dwellers' reactions and practices to the above process as they are described in the life stories of six interviewees through three different conceptual frameworks: public-housing architecture and home-place making; social engineering and its architectural application; and the right to the city in the neo-liberal Israeli housing market.

This research contributes to an ongoing effort of housing studies to place the accumulated experiences of residents in its center. In addition, the research contributes to the documentation of Glikson neighborhood as a unique chapter in the history of Israeli public housing.