M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentSasson Orly
SubjectA New type of Urban Open Space?
Urban Morphology of the Landscape of High-Rise
Housing Complexes in Israel and Its
Human Experience
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor ASSOCIATE PROF. Efrat Eizenberg
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Contemporary cities posing new challenges for urban planning and architecture as to the kind of spatial and social experiences they afford. One of the most prominent and broad trends in urban development in Israel is High-Rise housing Complexes (HRC) developed mainly in the outskirts of cities. This Urban form is part of a global trend of building skyscrapers that was termed as 'vertical urbanism'. HRCs generate new configurations of open green space, thus creating a new set of human-environment relations and a new constellation of urban landscape. Moreover, planning of GHRC (Green spaces of HRC) replaces the traditional approaches to planning and allocation of open green spaces (public and private) in cities. There is an impressive body of research on different aspects of high-rise buildings, from construction and structural engineering to ecological effects as well as their social and psychological outcomes. However, a comprehensive research on the new spatial configurations of GHRCs and the urban experience they offer, is yet to be found.

This research examines the interplay between physical-natural elements and aspects of human experience in GHRCs. Through two analytical courses. The first course is a physical morphology based on quantitative data collected from 81 complexes in five medium-large cities in Israel that articulates the elements of urban form and their configuration. Based on the morphological analysis, I propose a set of indexes with which to discern and evaluate various characteristics of these new spaces. The second course focuses on the experience and perceptions of GHRCs based on walking-through interviews with residents living in seven of the morphologically analyzed complexes. This analysis brings to the fore different aspects of human use and its perception of the green space in HRCs through a variety of themes: patterns in everyday life, the experience of movement in space, the creation of social capital, scale, sense of responsibility and supervision.

The urban landscape connects two core components - people and landscape.  Juxtaposing the morphological and qualitative analyses, this research discusses the differential contribution of green spaces to the inhabitants of HRCs. Specifically, it focuses on the way different aspects of planning green spaces of HRCs might foster everyday use and function as well as attitudes and feelings. The conclusions of this research debate the basic role of the physical territory in lives of people in today’s global and virtual age. A practical contribution of this study is the MUG tool - Morphology of Urban Green, and its indexes that may be used as a tool for evaluation, allowing scholars and professionals to compare between plans that are offered to them and assess the quality of uses they enable to their inhabitants.