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Bulletin: Israeli literature and Israel in Literature

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New Article: Bar-Itzhak, Literary Representations of Haifa

Bar-Itzhak, Chen. “The Dissolution of Utopia: Literary Representations of the City of Haifa, between Herzl’s Altneuland and Later Israeli Works.” Partial Answers 14.2 (2016): 323-41.

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URL: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/621157

 

Abstract

This article traces literary depictions of the city of Haifa, starting from its utopian literary prototype in Theodor Herzl’s influential Altneuland (1902), and continuing with later Israeli writing, by Yehudit Hendel, Sami Michael, and Hillel Mittelpunkt. The article shows how the Israeli works discussed set literary Haifa as a stage for examining questions of identity, belonging, and the relations between individual and society, through an emphasis on the complex ties between language, ethnicity, and space. The literary city of these works is compared to the city of Herzl’s utopian vision. I argue that the evolution of literary Haifa is associated with shifts in Israeli collective self-perception: from the utopian mode of thought, in which difficulties and complexities remain invisible, through the gradual turning of the gaze towards the difficulties and fractures in the emergent new society (first within the Jewish society, but then also outside it — among the Arab minority); and finally, to an inability to accept the absence of utopia from the present, leading to escapism and a quest for the longed-for ideal in the pre-national past.

 

 

 

New Book: Mechter and Maya-Mechter, Between the Intimate and the Anonymous in Urban Space

Mechter, Eytan, and Avital Maya. Between the Intimate and the Anonymous in Urban Space. A Socio-Cultural Perspective on Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv: Resling, 2016 (in Hebrew).

 
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This book seeks to contribute to the socio-cultural discourse on the first Hebrew-cosmopolitan city, a discourse that may serve as an alternative to the conventional economic content in relation to urban processes. The attempt to decipher the secret of the transformation of the first Hebrew city into a “world city” will be made by examining the uniqueness of the culture and ethos of Tel Aviv in connection with universal norms. The socio-cultural discussion presents the tension between rationality and desire that late capitalism is based on, while highlighting the manifestations of this tension in the urban, local, and general arenas–both by the conquest of space through capital and in the design of and objectified consciousness and consumerist styles.

Multiculturalism and density are distinct urban characteristics contributing to urban activity based on openness, creativity, innovation and sophistication, but also reflect expressions of convergence and alienation. The individuation process serves as a central axis f or the translation of the rational subject into an object of consumerist desire as a result of the capitalist system. Individuation and the process of self-branding encourage the growth of various forms of unique and dynamic identities and styles, but hinder the constructions of relationships based on emotions and commitment. “The neighborhood community” is offered in this book as a possible solution to anonymity and the instrumentalism of interpersonal relationships, a solution which enables interpersonal relationships in the metropolin without disrupting the dynamic nature of variability and diversity, while creating a stable core, whether territorial or virtual.

The concluding chapter discusses the spiritual challenge of the big city to cultivate expressions of “Hard Liberty” following Levinas, as a substitute for the splitting of the subject and the self-alienation which endanger the urban soul.

 

Eytan Mechter is a scholar and lecturer of sociology of culture at the NB Haifa School of Design, Holon Institute of Technology, and the Arts Faculty of the Kibbutzim College.Avital Maya Mechter was a lecture of creative education at Hemdat Hadarom college.

 

 

 

New Article: Peri-Bader, Everyday Experience in Israeli Cinema

Peri-Bader, Aya. “Everyday Experience in Israeli Cinema: The Port and the City’s Margins.” Emotion, Space and Society 18 (2016): 17-26.

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URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.emospa.2016.01.003

 

Abstract

Representation of the port in Israeli cinema reveals a dialectic relationship to the concept of boundary and the possibilities that this suggests. A port is a physical place with a symbolic dimension, since it is an urban edge with various roles connected to both its environment and its users. The way it is presented leads to conclusions regarding its perceived urban atmosphere and related environmental affordances. Its inaccessibility to a look, a touch or movement indicates its limitations in realizing ambitions to escape a confining space, emerge from a crisis, or even just offer hope. An analysis of Israeli films shows that the port, as an urban edge, with historical, cultural and political contexts, is disconnected from the Israeli city fabric, and appears as a detached cinematic image in the way it is used and perceived. In this study I argue that when the protagonists arrive at the edge of the city in Israeli films, their actions have common features. In this cinematic universe the port serves as a site symbolizing rejection and denial of both sea and land, and concentration on daily life, the personal and the individual, thus producing unusual and sometimes unique human activity. Assuming that there are no innocent representations, and each one is therefore ideological (Comolli and Narboni, 1969), I trace the way urban portrayals of the physical environment are used as TEL Amediating images leading to the inner world of the characters and common, inter-subjective expectations and preferences. The research method is interdisciplinary and deals with an examination of the cinematic medium (structure, theme, characters and expression) from the spatial and architectural perspective (such as usage, form, geometry, materials, and borders).

 

 

 

New Article: Gonen, Widespread and Diverse Forms of Gentrification in Israel

Gonen, Amiram. “Widespread and Diverse Forms of Gentrification in Israel.” In Global Gentrifications: Uneven Development and Displacement (ed. Loretta Lees,Hyun Bang Shin,and Ernesto Lopez-Morales; Bristol, UK and Chicago, IL: Policy Press, 2015): 143-63.

 

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Extract

My ongoing observations over the last three decades on patterns of gentrification in Israeli inner cities, suburban towns and rural communities have led me to view gentrification from a different geographical perspective to the one shared by many Western researchers writing on gentrification. Research on gentrification originated in the heart of some Western cities and, therefore, gentrification was often characterised as primarily an inner-urban phenomenon. It was first observed and defined in an academic fashion in inner London and subsequently studied in the 1980s and early 1990s in the inner city of some North American and British cities. Indeed, the settling of middle class households in lower-social class neighbourhoods of the inner city has achieved sizeable proportions in Western cities since the 1970s.

[…]

The Israeli experience raises the issue of the need to widen the scope of the term ‘gentrification’ beyond lower-class neighbourhoods. This definitional widening is especially relevant to middle-class neighbourhoods in the inner city that have undergone some social downscaling, later reversed due to the return of middle-class households. I suggest that this return of such neighbourhoods to being again solidly middle-class areas should be included within the definition of gentrification as a special category of ‘regentrification’, added to the one proposed as ‘supergentrification’ for the further gentrification of already-gentrified neighbourhoods by the very rich global elites.

 

 

New Article: Razin & Charney, Metropolitan Dynamics in Israel

Razin, Eran, and Igal Charney. “Metropolitan Dynamics in Israel: An Emerging ‘Metropolitan Island State’?” Urban Geography 36.8 (2015): 1131-48.

 

URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02723638.2015.1096117

 

Abstract

This study analyzes metropolitan dynamics in a small country with an “island state” context of closed boundaries, using commuting data and mobile phone tracking data. We examine whether the Israeli context encourages the formation of a monocentric “metropolitan state,” characterized by increasing links between localities throughout the country and its principal metropolitan node (Tel Aviv)—rather than with secondary metropolitan areas—and by fuzzy, overlapping metropolitan boundaries. Commuting data from the 1995 and 2008 censuses show that metropolitan expansion processes in Israel are gradual. Mobile phone tracking data for 2013 reveal similar patterns, confirming the urban structure’s stability and the reliability of tracking data as a means of assessing metropolitan processes. The “island state” context supports growing monocentricity, but, when it comes to commuting and travel for other purposes, Israel is not yet a metropolitan state; metropolitan boundaries are not as fuzzy and rapidly changing as expected.

 

 

 

New Article: Lerman & Omer, Urban Area Types and Spatial Distribution of Pedestrians

Lerman, Yoav, and Itzhak Omer. “Urban Area Types and Spatial Distribution of Pedestrians: Lessons from Tel Aviv.” Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 55 (2016): 11-23.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2015.09.010

 

Abstract

This study examines the role of two urban area types – traditional and contemporary – with regard to pedestrian movement volume and distribution. This study focuses on four dimensions of urban areas which have potential influence on pedestrian movement: (i) a spatial dimension based on road network structure; (ii) a functional dimension of land uses such as retail fronts; (iii) a physical dimension of road sections; and (iv) a demographic dimension of population and employment densities. Four research areas in Tel Aviv are examined and each of these areas is divided to two adjacent sub-areas — a traditional sub-area and a contemporary one. The aim is to clarify: (i) the character of urban areas that were created following different urban design paradigms; (ii) the relative contribution of the spatial, functional, physical and demographic dimensions to pedestrian movement in urban areas of different types. The findings show significant differences between adjacent traditional and contemporary sub-areas. Specifically, traditional sub-areas have higher levels of spatial connectivity and retail fronts distribution as well as higher pedestrian movement volume. The spatial dimension has the strongest overall connection to pedestrian movement, and particularly for traditional sub-areas, while the physical dimension has the strongest connection to pedestrian movement for the contemporary sub-areas.

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New Article: Omer & Goldblatt, Spatial Patterns of Retail Activity in Israeli Cities

Omer, Itzhak, and Ran Goldblatt. “Spatial Patterns of Retail Activity and Street Network Structure in New and Traditional Israeli Cities.” Urban Geography (early view; online first).

 
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02723638.2015.1101258
 
Abstract

The association between spatial patterns of retail activity and the spatial configuration of street networks was examined by means of the space syntax methodology in eight Israeli cities that represent two city types, characterized by different planning approaches and urban growth: (i) new towns, which were established according to a comprehensive city plan and modern planning concepts of “tree-like” hierarchical street networks and “neighborhood units”; (ii) older cities, where street networks and the spatial patterns of retail activity were formed incrementally during their growth. Unlike in older cities, retail activity in new towns concentrates in relatively less-accessible and intermediate locations. This is indicated by a weak correlation between retail activity and the street network’s Integration and Choice centrality measures. The comparison between Israeli cities illustrates the influence of urban growth and planning approaches on the formation of retail activity and its interaction with the structure of the street network.

 

 

 

New Article: Omer et al, The Impact of Planning on Pedestrian Movement

Omer, Itzhak, Yodan Rofè, and Yoav Lerman. “The Impact of Planning on Pedestrian Movement: Contrasting Pedestrian Movement Models in Pre-Modern and Modern Neighborhoods in Israel.” International Journal of Geographical Information Science (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13658816.2015.1063638

 

Abstract

Most pedestrian movement volume models were constructed for urban areas that developed on the basis of pre-modern planning. In this paper, we confront neighborhoods that were built upon modern planning doctrines, combining the functional hierarchy of streets with the neighborhood unit concept, with neighborhoods that developed from pre-modem non-hierarchical street-based planning. We use space syntax analysis to investigate how their street network’s structural attributes interact with pedestrian movement distribution. The investigation was conducted in 14 neighborhoods from 4 cities in Israel by examining the correlation of observed pedestrian volume with models using different axial- and segment-based topological, angular, and metric syntactic attributes across different radii (scales). The results indicate that the street network and the distribution of pedestrian movement interact differently in the two neighborhood types. In pre-modern neighborhoods: (i) there is significantly more walking; (ii) the street network’s syntactic attributes tend to be much more consistent in their correlation with pedestrian volume across all scales; (iii) the correlation of pedestrian volume with these attributes and with commerce is relatively high; and (iv) pedestrian movement distribution is more predictable. We relate these differences to the absence of a self-organized circular causality between street network structure, commerce, and movement in modern planned neighborhoods.

 

 

New Article: Casakin et al, Place Attachment and Place Identity in Israeli Cities

Casakin, H., B. Hernández, and C. Ruiz. “Place Attachment and Place Identity in Israeli Cities: The Influence of City Size.” Cities 42B (2015): 224-30.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2014.07.007

 

Abstract

A major limitation of most urban and environmental studies dealing with place attachment and place identity is that they are mostly restricted to neighborhood. There is a general assumption that neighborhood is the fundamental category of analysis to study attachment and identity. However, except for a few studies focusing on environments such as dwellings, other spatial scales still need to be explored. This gap exists despite the fact that the intensity of attachment and identity bonds established with place are supposedly affected by the size of the environment. In order to explore differences in the relation between the two bonds and the size of the environment, we carried out a study in neighborhoods and cities. We further investigated possible differences in place attachment and place identity between residents who were born in the city and residents originally from other cities. The sample involved 208 participants (54.8% natives and 45.2% from other cities). Results showed a higher level of attachment and identity to city than to neighborhood. Place attachment was higher in large and small-sized cities than in medium-sized. Place identity, on the other hand, was greater in large rather than in small and medium-sized cities. In addition, a positive correlation was found between the two bonds and the length of residence in the city. However, having been born in the city or not did not affect the intensity of bonds with place. Implications for urban planning are suggested.

Highlights

  • Place attachment and place identity were higher in the city than in the neighborhood.
  • Place attachment was higher in large and small size cities than in medium-sized ones.
  • Place identity was superior in large cities than in the small and medium-sized ones.
  • A positive correlation was found between place identity and place attachment and the length of residence in the city.
  • Having or not having been born in the city did not affect the intensity of bonds with place.

New Book: Hatuka et al, eds. City-Industry (in Hebrew)

חתוקה, טלי, רוני בר, מירב בטט, יואב זילברדיק, כרמל חנני, שלי חפץ, מיכאל יעקובסון והילה לוטן. עיר-תעשייה. תל אביב: רסלינג, 2014.

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URL: http://www.resling.co.il/book.asp?series_id=3&book_id=799

Most of us work somewhere, in a certain place. Our bodies perched above a machine for hours, our organs operate it. Thus, every day, in a repeated routine. But our days are not similar. Professional demands, working hours, employment conditions, the wages of our labor – all these separate us from one another. Our working environments are also different. The landscape of industry is diverse: streets, complexes, campuses, boxes, trains and towers whose design is linked to the production and branding system of the workplace. Landscapes follow the market’s mood, as it decides which factories will close, which will grow and develop, which company will be sold to an international corporate or relocated to a distant district. This is the landscape of production, a temporary landscape that influences and shapes our world.

An examination of the industrial landscape in Israel reveals a complex picture: the manifold industrial zones, sometimes in close proximity to one another, compete with each other with no comprehensive strategy; resources are distributed unjustly, and thus municipalities cannot always benefit from the profits of the industrial zones; construction expansion in open spaces wastes land resources; and mainly, an autonomous conceptualization of the industrial zone, with no spatial, administrative, or operative connection between it and the urban fabric. Nevertheless, even within this complex picture, situated in a context of time and place, one can discern patterns and spatial configurations in the background of the industrial landscape.

City-Industry is the product of the Laboratory for Contemporary Urban Design (LCUD) at Tel Aviv University. It is the second book in a trilogy on urban landscapes in Israel. The first book, Neighborhood-State, sought to investigate the dependent relationships between citizen and state in residential areas. The current volume exposes the overt and hidden relationships between city and industry. It follows the temporality and dynamics of work environments and recognizes them as arenas of precariousness. Within this temporariness, the authors – as planners – seek to raise awareness to relationships between worker and place, between the laborer and his city.

ToC: Journal of Israeli History 32,1 (2013)

 

 

Special Issue: House as Home in Israeli Culture

Articles

Introduction

Orit Rozin
pages 1-5

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  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.768026

 

Separate spheres, intertwined spheres: Home, work, and family among Jewish women business owners in the Yishuv

Talia Pfefferman
pages 7-28

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  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.768028

 

Just ring twice: Law and society under the rent control regime in Israel, 1948–1954

Maya Mark
pages 29-50

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  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.768029

 

The evolution of the inner courtyard in Israel: A reflection of the relationship between the Western modernist hegemony and the Mediterranean environment

Hadas Shadar
pages 51-74

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  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.768031

 

The P6 Group and critical landscape photography in Israel

Jochai Rosen
pages 75-85

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  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.768033

 

Visions of identity: Pictures of rabbis in Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) private homes in Israel

Nissim Leon
pages 87-108

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  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.768035

 

Soft power: The meaning of home for Gush Emunim settlers

Michael Feige
pages 109-126

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  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.768041

 

Heading home: The domestication of Israeli children’s literature in the 1960s as reflected in Am Oved’s Shafan ha-sofer series

Yael Darr
pages 127-139

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  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.768042

House and home: A semantic stroll through metaphors and symbols

Tamar Sovran
pages 141-156

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  • DOI:10.1080/13531042.2013.768044