Globalisation and the structure of urban social space: The lesson from Tel Aviv

Izhak Schnell*, Yoav Benjamini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Social area analysis tends to view the city as constituted of a mosaic of socially homogeneous containers. The Chicago model views the mosaic as compactly organised around one centre and as a response to geometrically deduced forces. The Los Angeles model views social areas to be socially constituted in a more dispersed geometry. Our model, verified in this study, shows that globalising cities may produce highly heterogeneous residential spaces, even in highly ethnic societies. We propose to start the analysis from individuals' behaviour, with respect to their actual daily life-spaces and social networks. We argue that, under these conditions, a multilayered spatial model better describes the socio-spatial reality of cities that integrate people in the globalising world. Each layer represents a socially constituted space which integrates participants in a particular social network. Members of the network manage their daily life in these spaces, which are not necessarily continuous, and in many cases expand into wide and sometimes even global horizons, creating thereby interstices with other groups' social spaces. In most cases, there are partly open social networks among layered social areas but, in one-third of the cases, protagonists developed social networks only with colleagues from their own ethnic group, avoiding interlayered networks. This may lead to social segregation even in residentially heterogeneous areas. In such cases, segregation is the result of a lack of social networks among layers. However, segregation may also follow the traditional model, in which a group concentrates in an ethnically homogeneous residential space. This may develop in areas claimed by one social group constituting a segregated territory and having intraethnic networks limited to the specific ethnic territory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2489-2510
Number of pages22
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 2005


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