Streeeeeet, Bat Yam Israel
Bat Yam International Biennale of Landscape Urbanism 2010
In collaboration with Guy Königstein

Based on the Streeeeeet concept, we were invited by the municipality of Bat Yam to carry out a field-research in two main streets of the city. In our research we have explored the intersection-points between the private, collective and public spaces. We found out that the borders between those spaces are not strict and even flexible. Although ownership of space is important, many residents do cross the border by claiming public or common space for their own private use. This behaviour seems to be peacefully tolerated by the authorities and other residents.

Such examples of crossing borders confirm the potential of the Streeeeeet concept that aims to blur the borders between the different private, collective and public spaces.

During our stay in Bat Yam, we have encountered different phenomena taking place at such border points. Based upon this we created a series of interventions in the public space of the city.

An interesting habit of the residents of Bat Yam is to collect old clothes they do not use and put them in a plastic bag outside on a fence or a bench, so others can collect these for re-use. They use the public space to exchange those very personal and private belongings. With the public wardrobe we give this custom a special place and encourage the residents of the city to expose more of the personal in the public.

Another interesting phenomenon is the use of private chairs in the public space. Although the arcades in front of the shops in Balfour Street might be the most publicly used street-space, the space officially belongs to the shops. Every morning the shop keepers place a chair in front of their shop and use it occasionally during the day.

We proposed to the municipality to replace existing public benches with benches that consist of individual seats. The bench itself is a docking station: using a five Shekel coin one can release a seat and place it in a different spot. The deposit is returned when one brings the seat back. The chairs introduced by the municipality cross the border between public and private and move between the sunny sidewalks to the shadow under the arcades.