After all, life is not a movie. In the final scene of the film “Salah Shabati”, the Israeli nominee for an Academy Award in 1964, the Shabati family moves from their leaking shack to their new and modern flat, located in a public housing project. The location where the scene was shot, “Yad Hatisha’a” neighborhood in the town of Herzliya, was selected as the first case study for the project “The Israeli Habitat.” The project, led by the Laboratory for Contemporary Urban Design at Tel Aviv University, is aimed at creating a comprehensive lexicon of Israeli neighborhoods, old and new, as a base for future analysis and comparison.
Today, fifty years after the cameras were turned off, a quick search of the neighborhood’s name brings up a variety of articles and items pointing to frequent brushes with the law. The texts reveal the neighborhood’s negative image, as the phrase “the toughest neighborhood in town” repeats itself over and over again. While the public image does not do the neighborhood well, it revealed itself to us as a pleasant, welcoming neighborhood.
The warm winter day drew the residents outside their homes and filled the public spaces with passers-by. Music emerged from the windows and accompanied us in our tour. Everybody seemed to know one another, stopping, exchanging a few words, walking leisurely on the many pedestrian lanes spread across the neighborhood.
The survey included an examination of the neighborhood’s many aspects, a survey of public spaces and private apartments, as well as interviews with residents. The final outcome is a comprehensive report, organized around four themes: infrastructure, the private domain, daily life and future prospects.
‘The Israeli Habitat: Yad Hatisha’a Neighborhood ,Herzelia’, Laboratory for Contemporary Urban Design,
Tel Aviv University, Israel, January 2011