Walls, enclaves and the (counter) politics of design

Haim Yacobi, Jonathan Ventura, Sharon Danzig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This paper focuses on the political role of urban design in the transformation of urban and rural, central and peripheral, formal and informal landscapes in Israel. Based on design anthropology methodology, the political role of urban design in the production of aesthetic objects and landscapes that signify the control over individuals and communities will be explored. As this paper suggests, such a new form of political influence is hidden beneath an aesthetic and user-oriented façade, making it even more dangerous than previous more direct actions, such as gated communities separated from public space by stone walls. The paper’s interdisciplinary approach that is rooted in anthropology, design, architecture and politics will also point out some similarities between specific sites that are often considered different, namely Tel Aviv’s global and privatized gated communities on the one hand and the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the peripheral Negev region on the other. It will be argued that these similarities are the product of the politics of militarization, privatization and social fragmentation that are translated into urban design practices from ‘above’ via state and municipal planning policy as well as formal design, and from ‘below’ through informal and often unauthorized construction initiated by marginalized communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-494
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Urban Design
Issue number4
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies


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