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New Article: Shechory-Bitton & Soen, The Refugee Problem as Perceived by Israeli Residents

Shechory-Bitton, Mally, and Dan Soen. “Community Cohesion, Sense of Threat, and Fear of Crime: The Refugee Problem as Perceived by Israeli Residents.” Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15377938.2016.1187237

 

Abstract

The study deals with the concentration of African refugees in southern Tel-Aviv neighborhoods. It analyzes the impact of this situation on Israeli residents’ perception of their neighborhood. Based on a sample of 214 people four analyses were conducted: (1) symbolic and real threat felt by the residents; (2) fear of crime, neighborhood disorder, perceived risk, and community cohesiveness; (3) objective exposure; (4) distress. Distress in the neighborhood was found to be a function of fear of crime, perceived risk, and community cohesiveness. Perceptions of symbolic threat play a much more important role than real feelings of threat or fear of socio-economic competition. Likewise, it was found that African refugees are perceived as a threat to the cultural and national homogeneity of Jewish Israeli residents.

 
 
 

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: 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: 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.

 

 

Dissertation: Doron, The Impact of Social Housing on the Empowerment of the Poor in Israel

Doron, Guy. Is Empowerment of Disadvantaged Populations Achievable through Housing Policies? A Study of the Impact of Social Housing on the Empowerment of the Poor in Israel, PhD Thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science, 2015.

 
URL: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.647167

 

Abstract
This research project investigates whether the empowerment of Israel’s population — and in particular those who suffer multiple disadvantages — is achievable through housing policies and whether successive Israeli administrations have helped or hindered this process. The research focuses on communities in publicly-subsidised areas during social housing programmes. The housing programmes analysed in this research were: The Demolish and Rebuild Programme, which represents a top-down process, implemented with little residents’ involvement. Neighbourhood Renewal, which was a programme that formally offered partnership, giving residents partial share in decision-making. Finally, Right to Buy represented a resident-led partnership, in which residents felt empowered to overcome their own disadvantaged conditions by taking a leading role in transforming housing policy. The database complementing this research was compiled, in part, from 91 in-depth interviews with residents, policy makers and officials representing these three programmes. It is a unique aspect of this research, as it draws on perspectives about participation from those who have not necessarily had an opportunity to express an opinion before, and communicates a variety of views regarding the projects and residents’ participation in them. This study focuses on how it actually affects people and can even create behavioural change among those who are normally considered dependent. Another exceptional and distinctive factor provided by this research is its analysis of empowerment in the social and political context of Israel. By analysing the Israeli case, this research will contribute both to international knowledge and academic scholarship, highlight the conditions of an individual state and generate an original and provocative narrative. The issue of participation and empowerment in a society so riven with political, social, religious and ethnic tensions is particularly important. Learning from the Israeli experience has the potential to promote understanding of empowerment under pressure. Empowerment related to social housing policy is distinctive in Israel because housing is synonymous with security. Housing is more than a cultural issue, since in Israel owning a property is a matter of security. Another key feature is the focal role of central government which determines almost every aspect in the shaping of social and housing policy. Also critical is the influence of national politics on local decision-making. In Israel the political agenda is based upon bilateralism and the demographic dispersal of population across the state’s formal and informal borders. Empowerment is a complex term. This research, however, explores examined and evidenced empowerment using just two main features: examination of residents’ participation; and evaluation of public policy towards resident participation. This research offers a unique view on empowerment within social housing policies that are subject to multiple pressures, and offers interpretations that could be usefully applied to issues of empowerment in other pressure scenarios.

 

 

 

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.