I am a Civil Engineer (Bsc, Technion, 2003), and Urban Planner (Msc, Technion, 2008). My planning expertise is in the field of transportation planning. However, my main interest is in social and cultural aspects in planning, and currently my PhD research focuses on the meanings and implications of community in planning theory and practice.
My main interest is in social and cultural aspects of planning, and currently my PhD research focuses on the meanings and implications of community in planning theory and practice
The affinity between planning and community is expressed by a normative objective that planners should strive for. However, despite playing a major role in planning, complexity of community is not discussed in depth in the planning literature. The research objective is to explore community issues via local contexts of place and time, following a perspective of a community as operating in a contested context that includes conflict (Boelens, 2010; Boonstra & Boelens, 2011; Van-Dijk, Aarts, & De-Wit, 2011). It follows the complexity theories which acknowledge the urban system as complex open systems seeking to understand social reality. The key question ask how communities are being perceived by planning authorities, and how this, in turn, shapes, defines and dictates planning practices? The research's case study is the town of Carmiel located in the center of the Galilee region in Israel. Planned as a development town in the 1960s, its pattern characterized by centralization, control and the political agenda of "Judaization of the Galilee". However, in the past several decades it has been attracting Arab population from other nearby localities. The research follows three local planning events: (1) examining planning process of a new neighborhood in Carmiel, (2) An old neighborhood where the original secular population is gradually being replaced by an orthodox community, which causes many conflicts concerning conversion of old public buildings into religious institutions, and (3) Neighborly relationships between Arab and Jewish residents in Carmiels, and the local municipality's responses to the entrance of Arab inhabitants. The research uses different sources of knowledge and information: planning knowledge (e.g. plans, policy documents, and municipality's protocols), historical knowledge (e.g. Interviews with planners and social workers in the past, books about the town and its history) and local knowledge (e.g. observation, in-depth conversations with local residents, internet publications). The focus of the research is to address the community characteristics, such as: population composition, local identity and belonging, religious and ethnic characteristics, local leadership, community assets and resources, formal and informal relationships. Understanding the community's social, cultural and economic structure, its inner-power relationships, and the dynamic factors of daily life, is imperative for analyzing and discussing complex and sensitive community issues. Such a perspective reflects the need to study how perceptions of the community are expresses in planning discourse and how they define and shape planning practices. Through detailed examples the research demonstrates the complexity of the community, addresses the difficulties and challenges of working with the community and may expand the debate concerning the link between planning and community.