M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentSadeh Alon Zeev
SubjectFrom 'Good' Urban Form to the Qualities of the Design:
Comparative Analysis of Different Urban (re)Design
Approaches of Ancient Moats in Acre,
Nicosia, and Valletta
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor ASSOCIATE PROF. Efrat Eizenberg
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Urban regeneration and place-making processes are changing the way we perceive place, thus paving the way for the establishment of new spatial meanings and interactions. These processes also change the social, cultural, and political relations in the urban area that surrounds them - a phenomenon that is well evident in historic cities and heritage sites, where each transformation interacts with memories and interpretation that were soaked over hundreds of years.

This research focuses on three cases of recent regeneration projects that have similar characteristics. Nevertheless, each of them represents a different approach to urban design and architectural changes: the ancient moats and walls of Arce in Israel, Nicosia in Cyprus, and Valletta in Malta. In these three cases, the moats were regenerated in the last decade. These cities also represent complex social, cultural, and political relations. By analyzing and comparing these cases, this research reveals that each design approach selected for each place has an intricate relationship with the local society, the aspirations of decision-makers, and the mundane urban life within the ancient urban environment. A dedicated framework was introduced based on the current literature in the field to systematically analyze the design of each case study.

Findings suggest that each case study represents a different design approach, and that the actual physical properties and qualities of each place result from the interplay between the specific and unique existing state, cultural and political aspirations and the design approach utilized. While in Acre the approach was to assimilate the new development in the existing ancient environment, in Valletta the design aimed at reordering it and in Nicosia to be detached from it.

The research revealed that different aspirations and projections toward the specific culture had found their ways to be physically represented in the built environment. That means that each design is the result of a complex and singular set of values and desires. Adapting this notion could foster a better understanding of the implications of each physical transformation to the local culture and the existing sets of relations between the physical environment and its inhabitants.