The Bartlett School of Architecture


Stella Fox

Colour photo: Stella Fox |  Black and white photo: American Colony Photo Department

Mapping heritage urbanism in Tel Aviv-Yafo: Spatial, morphological and social evolution in the historic urban landscape

First and second supervisors 


This thesis investigates urban evolution in Tel Aviv-Yafo as a historic urban landscape. The research uses historical, spatial, morphological and social analysis to frame the city’s contemporary urban properties and examine how its historical socio-political conditions impacted on emergent spaces of activity.  

The research is positioned within, and seeks to advance, heritage urbanism syntax, by contributing a social heritage layer as an urban component, alongside the existing components of configuration and morphology. Drawing on theories and methods from space syntax, urban morphology, and geography, and employing methods and tools from these fields, it explores urban transformation over time.

The research adopts a landscape-based approach first to discuss the evolution of Tel Aviv-Yafo’s regional network and secondly to examine the heritage gateway-pathway that links historic Jaffa to Tel Aviv. The gateway-pathway – a transect sample – is used as a tool to track properties of Tel Aviv-Yafo’s historic urban landscape and explore mechanisms of urban change. This is related to the impact on the perception and use of heritage spaces by individuals today.

Analysis finds that individuals with different identities inhabit, use and perceive space differently. Tel Aviv-Yafo’s spatial and morphological urban evolution has resulted in restricted urban residence, mobility and cognition for Arabs. Conversely, historic events and urban transformation do not impact Jewish cognition, behaviour and activities to the same degree. Urban evolution seems to shape the virtual community’s character in ways that are contingent on identity.

The research is innovative in its historical breadth (over 200 years), in its comprehensive approach (focus on broader landscape and micro-morphological detail, interdisciplinary nature and integrated framework), in the scope of methods used to map urban processes and their impact on individuals today, and finally in the way these methods might advance heritage practices particularly around the implementation of the Historic Urban Landscapes approach.


Stella Fox is an AHRC funded PhD candidate in the Space Syntax Lab, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Stella holds a B.A. in History of Art and French from the University of Warwick, and received her M.A. in the Archaeology of Buildings from the University of York in 2017. She practiced as a heritage consultant at Lichfields before commencing her PhD research. 

Within the context of Sustainable Development Goal 11 (UN, 2015) and the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (UNESCO, 2011), Stella’s current research draws on space syntax analysis, alongside morphological and historical research methods to investigate how urban transformation shapes cognitive perception of urban space in historic Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Her research is centred on how the city’s urban heritage is experienced, perceived and understood to be a socially inclusive place today.


Fox, S & Vaughan, L 2021, ‘Evidence of spatial and morphological change, resilience and sustainability along the interface gateway-pathway of Jaffa and Tel Aviv’, Proceedings from the 28th International Seminar on Urban Form, Glasgow, 29 June – 3 July 2021. (Forthcoming).


London Arts and Humanities Partnership, Arts & Humanities Research Council.

More information

Image:  Colour photo: Stella Fox
Black and white photo: American Colony Photo Department