Whose city is it? On urban planning and local knowledge in globalizing Tel Aviv-Jaffa

Tovi Fenster, Haim Yacobi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This article focuses on the variety of images, perceptions and social constructions about a city articulated by the different 'actors' which use and shape globalizing urban settings. The actors in focus are mainly the planners (representing the authoritative aspects of planning and city management) and the residents of the city (those who enjoy or are adversely affected by different planning visions and projects). Planners mainly use their professional knowledge, which they obtained from formal education. Residents built up their perceptions and images of the city in a more intuitive way, from their daily routine practices in the city. Following this, the article explores the intricate and sometimes complicated relations between the various types of knowledge involved in the planning process with the aim to find out whose perceptions of the city are incorporated in the planning processes. Focusing on knowledge as a base for formulating cityscapes stems from a personal position and experience as planners, as members of a planning team, nominated by the Tel Aviv Municipality to devise a 'new strategic plan' for the Central Bus Station (CBS) area in the city. The article begins with a short introductory background, describing the social and economic situation of Jewish residences and non-Jewish labour migrants of the CBS area in Tel Aviv. It then outlines some theoretical frameworks regarding the different perceptions of this area by the different 'actors' involved in its production. The article concludes with some insights regarding the ways that globalizing cities are planned and managed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-211
Number of pages21
JournalPlanning Theory and Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2005


  • Globalization
  • Tel Aviv
  • Urban narratives
  • Working migrants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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