Lecture: Bik Van der Pol

The project created by Bik Van der Pol for “Living as Form” entitled “As Above, So Below” engages in the contentious (re)valuation of space in New York’s Lower East Side, and the issue of “air rights”, which apply to ownership of the space above plots of land and buildings. Alongside “zoning” processes, air rights are the main catalyst for urban renewal in neighborhoods, a phenomenon that is often dictated from above and affects the lives of local residents. If the general paradigm obliges residents to withdraw from public space – where, then, is the public?

Bik Van der Pol will talk about artistic practice as an ongoing exercise in creating a space where the expectation for learning and experiencing functions in ways given to constant change, a space where creating public space and creating the public are essential components, and in which ideas can make us imagine the world differently – imagination that is also a basis for action.

Since 1995, Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol have been working together as Bik Van der Pol. Through their practice, which is collaborative and attentive to the space, Bik Van der Pol strive to articulate and understand how art can produce a public sphere and space for speculation and imagination. Bik Van der Pol live and work in Rotterdam.

This lecture was given in English.

The other lectures are available on the Hebrew version of this supplement. Their subjects are as follows:

Lecture: City Outline Plan H-2030 / Pnina Kol

Holon City Architect Pnina Kol will talk about City Outline Plan H-2030 which presents the vision and goals for the city’s development for 2030.

The plan creates a toolbox that encourages the city’s development by renewing various areas and connecting them into an urban continuum linking different textures by preserving natural monuments and built heritage.

The plan also proposes improved services and public spaces, including improvement of the traffic system and making it accessible for pedestrians and cyclists, and development of the employment zone in the eastern part of the city.

Architect Pnina Kol graduated from the Pratt Institute in New York in 1996. Since 2000 she has been engaged in urban planning in the Municipality of Holon. In 2008 she was appointed City Architect and heads the Urban Planning and Architecture Division, and serves as the municipality’s Deputy City Engineer.

Lecture: Who Does the Money Above our Heads Belong To? / Sharon Rotbard

In recent years a stormy debate has been raging in Israel over the question of who will benefit from the gas deposits discovered under the seabed. But while the public debate over the future of gas is taking place, another deposit, just as big and whose exploitation is much simpler, has vanished from the public eye: the air above our heads.

In a neoliberal economy the air deposits above our heads, which are translated into construction rights, are frequently transferred to tycoons. One of the currently accepted ways of transferring these rights is the government initiated “Pinui-Binui” (Evacuation-Reconstruction) project by means of which the money above the heads of citizens is transferred to real estate barons.

Sharon Rotbard is an architect, teacher, and activist from the Shapira neighborhood in south Tel Aviv. He is co-founder of Babel Publishers, and teaches in the Department of Architecture at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design where he heads the “Black City” study and research unit, which this year is engaged in urban renewal in Holon’s Jessy Cohen neighborhood.

Lecture: Social Housing as a Tool for Preventing Crowding Out Due to Gentrification / Sebastian Wallerstein

Gentrification affects neighborhoods in different ways, but in general causes housing prices to rise. Higher prices create profits for residents and investors who own houses and apartments, but constitute a threat for low and medium income renters and residents.

The lecture will focus on the question of whether and how social housing – public housing and affordable housing – can constitute a solution for preventing the crowding out of disadvantaged populations due to gentrification.

Sebastian Wallerstein is Executive Director of The Affordable Housing Center in the Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University.

Lecture: Social Mapping as a Basis for Planning / Maya Atidia, Efrat Cohen-Bar

“Pinui-Binui” (Evacuation-Reconstruction) projects can negatively impact neighborhood residents. To avoid causing damage to residents it is important to gain in-depth familiarity with them, their needs, and their desires. The way to achieve this begins with social mapping.

The lecture will engage in the rationale and practice of social mapping.

continuum linking different textures by preserving natural monuments and built heritage.

Talk: To Life! Joint Artistic Action in Response to Reality / Neta Meisles, Ira Shalit

A discussion about the Empty House artists collective. After two projects on the outskirts of Jerusalem (“Kibbutz” and “Convoy”), the Empty House Group returns to the city center, not far from the location of its first project.

A discussion about the place of art in life, collaborative work, changing a place – changing reality, and the action and the word.

Neta Meisles is a founding member of the Empty House artists collective and leader of the “Factory” project.

Ira Shalit is an artist and educator who divides his time between working in a kindergarten and working on the “Hall” project at the Center for Digital Art in Holon.

Talk: Neve Sharett – A Case Study / Ami Sofer, Stella Mizrahi, Barbara Tzur

A discussion on the “Pinui-Binui” (Evacuation-Reconstruction) process based on the experiences of residents and activists in the Neve Sharett Neighborhood Committee.

Barbara Tzur is an architect, and a veteran social activist in several frameworks, who is active in Neve Sharett and Tel Aviv in general, on urban renewal and nature conservation issues.

Stella Mizrahi is a member of the Neve Sharett Neighborhood Committee, a veteran social activist in general and on social welfare issues and urban renewal for public housing residents in particular, and is currently in the midst of “Pinui-Binui” of her own apartment.

Ami Sofer is Chair of the Neve Sharett Neighborhood Committee, a veteran social activist in several frameworks, a member of the committee that formulated the urban renewal document for Neve Sharett, and is currently undergoing “Pinui-Binui” himself.

Talk: Architecture as Action / Nisan Almog, Yael Allweil

A discussion about the potential of civil intervention in urban renewal processes as a tool for resistance and a means for improving them and creating a more just neighborhood space.

Dr. Yael Allweil is an architect, architectural historian, and lecturer in the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

Nisan Almog is a multidisciplinary artist and urban planner, founding director of the Jane’s Walk festival in Israel, and founder of Dreamfields Urban Innovators.