Accessibility and Community in Rabin Square

///Accessibility and Community in Rabin Square
Accessibility and Community in Rabin Square 2018-04-04T19:53:16+00:00

May 2016

Walk Leader: Yonatan H. Mishal and Elisheva Zeltser
Photographs by: Gilad Sax
Text by: Yonatan H. Mishal and Elisheva Zeltser

Rabin Square is perhaps the most well-known square in Israel. It is at the center of Tel Aviv and is where influential and significant rallies take place. On regular days, it is a popular place for gatherings of all sorts – children and parents looking for a safe spot away from cars, elderly people and their caretakers who come to enjoy the breeze, people on their lunch break, and young couples. It offers shade and the comforting sound of fountain water. The city hall overlooks the square, giving it a formal atmosphere.

Unknown to most users of the square are the various points of view it offers to the city and its surroundings. Our walk focused on lost and hidden spots that even those who pass through it regularly can easily miss. We wanted to offer a different perspective of this very well-known area to let people rediscover it. We walked around it, above it, and through it, pointing out spots that tell the history of the square as well as its uses today, elements that are not pure information, but part of the local experience. We overlooked Eben Gabirol St. to see how this central place interacts with the streets around it, and through this, to understand the urban process Tel Aviv is going through. Our final point of view was from the top floor of city hall, where the far view of the 12-story building revealed the square in its larger urban context. It was almost possible to imagine how Tel Aviv will look in ten years time – transformed from a low-level city to a grid of high rises.

It was important to us to invite members of the hearing-impaired and deaf community, accompanied by a sign-language translator, since we believe all people in the city should be able to participate in Jane’s Walks. The dialogue we had was very fruitful – it was a real opportunity for everyone to have a walk in a language unfamiliar to most of the participants.