M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentRosenberg Mai
SubjectPlace - Between Theory and Practice Where do Place-Making
Theory and Practices Meet Urban Planning in
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor ASSOCIATE PROF. Efrat Eizenberg
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Place-making practices have become increasingly popular. However, the definition of the concept and the ways to implement it lack clarity. This study sheds light on place-making as both a theoretical concept and a practical tool, and examines the relationship between place-making and urban-planning practices.

Place is a primary and fundamental entity, its importance is revealed in its power to shape human experience as it cultivates identity, character and belonging. A diverse environment filled with places is essential to strengthening connections between people and the places they inhabit and helps increase people’s wellbeing by cultivating a sense of place. Nevertheless, many urban environments today have lost their identity and therefore have lost their significance due to the plethora of homogeneous urban spaces perceived as placeless. The modern city invokes a sense of loss of place, placelessness which defined as a meaningless space symbolizing replication and uniformity.

Place-making was created as a method to reestablish the quality of places in the public sphere and to create meaningful places planned for and with the inhabitants. Today, an increasing number of different urban interventions are titled as place-making, though the concept itself remains unclear and the practices associated with it are often vague and superficial. This highlights the need to understand what place-making is and how it relates to urban-planning.


This study presents two main questions. First, what a place is for those involved in its creation, and how this perception of place guides the process of place-making. Second, how place-making practices are incorporated (or can be) to planning practices in Israel. Research on place and place-making originates in other countries. Thus, a major objective of this study is to situate the discourse on place and the practices of place-making in the local urban sphere of Israel.

The study begins by offering a typology that organizes the understanding of processes of place-making by classifying various place-making practices. The typology details the understanding of place-making practices as a process, which enables the evolution and development of place. Following this, insights from analyzing interviews with local experts (i.e., academics and practitioners) engaged in place or place-making characterizes the experience of what a place is and the qualities that enable its experience. It also criticizes place-making practice as a superficial cosmetic tool that fail to live up to its promise. Finally, this study offers an analysis of four case studies of place-making initiatives in Tel-Aviv, Israel, which represents different place-making types as suggested in the typology. Analysis of interviews with the place-makers (residents, activists, planners, and city officials) highlights place and place-making as an ongoing rather than an intermittent process, expresses the gaps and barriers that exist between place-making and urban-planning, and the tensions that exist between the two.

This study aims to delineate the discussion on place-making and to point out several practical opportunities of integrating place-making to the practice of urban-planning. Mainly the opportunity for traditional urban-planning to embrace place-making as a tool that allows for a measure of experimentation and flexibility.