Placemaking and Urban Renewal by ECOWEEK Students

 ECOWEEK is returning this year to the Middle East with a one-week conference and sustainable design workshops on September 10-15, 2017. Aiming to bring students closer to the concepts of social and environmental sustainability and placemaking in diverse sites and locations, the ECOWEEK workshops will address sites from coastal hip Tel Aviv to the mountainous Holy City of Jerusalem.

ECOWEEK in the Middle East is closing a series of events this year, that included lectures, panel discussions, workshops and film-screenings from London to Mumbai, and from Tilburg to Athens. In collaboration with the 92Y ‘Week of Genius’ program, The Bartlett UCL, KRVIA School of Architecture, URBZ, AKTO College of Design, and Holon Institute of Technology, ECOWEEKprograms reached out to more than 11 cities in 9 countries.

This year ECOWEEK also issued two publications: the first is the printed version of its book ‘ECOWEEK Book#1: 50 Voices for Sustainability’ 50 renowned architects, designers and environmental leaders, from the ECOWEEK conferences and workshops around the world, shared their ideas and projects on sustainable design, green architecture, public space and environmental stewardship. Among them BjarkeIngels, Kengo Kuma, Francis Kere, MVRDV, and many more.


The second is the ‘The Workshops’ presenting the creative work of ECOWEEK workshops during the period 2009-2016 in cities around the world. 


At ECOWEEK in the Middle East, the participating students and young professionals will be encouraged to design placemaking initiatives in the public space. Includes temporary housing on rooftops opposite the Old City of Jerusalem, international ‘Parking Day’ interventions and public interventions with the local community in downtown Tel Aviv, and raise environmental awareness inside urban shopping malls, guided by local and visiting architects, artists, and designers.

ECOWEEK is an opportunity for students and young professionals – primarily architects, designers, engineers, landscape architects and from other disciplines – to experience one week of inspiring lectures and interactive design workshops in real sites within cities, work with communities, address real challenges, network with international peers and learn about social and environmental sustainability through design.
ECOWEEK is hosted at Holon Institute of Technology, Model House at Jerusalem City Hall, the Dizengoff Center, and Jerusalem Cinemateque. Professionals and students join from Israel, Germany, Holland, Austria, Norway, and Italy.

ECOWEEK is also hosting special pre-screenings of the new documentary ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power’ with Al Gore, in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.


ECOWEEK 2017 in Middle East is made possible through the cooperation and support of the Norwegian Embassy, the Austrian Culture Forum, Holon Institute of Technology, the Municipality of Jerusalem, the Municipality of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem Urban Design Center, Joint Israel, Bina, Mishlama LeYaffo, Mutav Yahdav, The Platform Tel Aviv, Dizengoff Center, Merhav-Movement for Israeli Urbanism, Enosh, Sodot Yerukim Givatayim, Society for Protection of Nature, Green Cell, DETAIL, Jerusalem Cinemateque, and Lev Dizengoff.


W1: Dizengoff Center

Austrian artist, researcher and social designer Ruth Mateus-Berrand Israeli designer ZameretHarelKanot will lead the workshop at Dizengoff Center in Tel Avivtitled ‘E-shopping malls’and will investigate consumer statements towards designing a mall as public space for the local population. How to identify shopping malls as public spaces, for various desires and needs of the local population, in possession of the citizens and children (if just for one day). The workshop will address solutions that can be partially or completely implemented during and after ECOWEEK.

W2: Green Roofs in Jerusalem

German architect Jo Ruoff and architect Yonathan Alon, with the team of architect Hana Gribetz and landscape architect Ishai Hanoon, and coordination by ECOWEEK founder architect Elias Messinas, will head the workshop that will generate ideas on creating temporary living and guest living spaces on rooftops. The workshop will focus on two sites: the roof of the Clal Center with possible additional site the roof of Abraham Hostel in downtown Jerusalem, opposite the Old City walls. These rooftops will provide spaces to for guest housing and urban agriculture, affecting the urban micro-climate. The project is part of a new initiative by the Municipality of Jerusalem, intended to be implemented.

W3: Enosh Center

Israeli landscape architect Galia Hanoch Roe director of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa communities for the Society for Protection of Nature and architect Braha Kunda lecturer at the Holon Institute of Technology,will engage the workshop team in design and hands-on interventions at the Enosh Mental Health Association Center for youth and teenagers interiors and surrounding garden. The workshop will produce prototypes for a real project intended to be implemented.

W4: Shapira Neighborhood

Norwegian architect Alise Pavina of PIR2 firm with architect Ohad Yehieli lecturer at Tel Aviv University, with the participation of green-building expert of the Tel Aviv Municipality Uriel Babzyk will focus on Mesilat Yesharim street in the Shapira neighborhood in southern Tel Aviv. Mesilat Yesharim street, in the heart of the neighborhood, was renewed in the past, with bicycle routes and lighting, but since has deteriorated. The street serves a mixed veteran and immigrant community and small businesses, who will be taking part in the planning process. A long-term renewal process by the Municipality is starting in parallel, enabling the workshop to focus on small, local interventions that can be integrated into the overall project. The workshop will include site visits with experts from the local institutions, the local community, local businesses, and experts from the Municipality of Tel Aviv. The workshop will work with the community to initiate interventions and changes that will improve public space, public services and will actively engage the diverse local community. This workshop is a rare experience in co-design, placemaking, hands-on design, to produce fresh ideas that are expected to be further developed and/or implemented.

W5: Park(ing) Day

Dutch architect Gie Steenput, Israeli entrepreneur Yael Shemer, and art director Roni Mero, will lead the workshop of Park(ing) Day, an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks. This event helps advance the critical dialogue around the use of urban public space and around social and environmental justice. By reclaiming parking spots into an intentional community space, students will take part in re-thinking about the meaning of urbanism and the local community’s assets. cities for people. The workshop will provide a practical experience of thinking outside the box as we aim for a future to improve our city’s public spaces. The workshop will also include an installation based on tensegrity.

W6: Jaffa Neighborhood Renewal

Reut Popkin of ‘Better Together’ and architect and ECOWEEK founder Elias Messinas will lead a real-project workshop on two neighborhoods in Jaffa, Yaffo G' and Neve Golan, and the street connecting them, with the aim to generate ideas, strategies, and hands-on projects of placemaking in the public space, to create exposure for the neighborhoods and bring pride to the residents. The workshop team will visit the site, will meet the local community, and will work with them and the local authorities and institutions towards identifying actions that will serve as generators for renewal processes in the neighborhoods.

More about ECOWEEK at: