tel aviv mapaSMART city branding: Tel aviv THROUGH hila oren’S EYES

TEL AVIV, 5 MAY 2016- 10.00 CEST

Interview with Hila Oren (CEO of the Tel Aviv Foundation and City Maker) 

I had the opportunity to meet Hila, 2 years ago, in Barcelona. She is a true leader, she conveys strength, confidence and enthusiasm. She loves cities (big cities, small cities, global cities, out of the way cities, your city, my city) Undoubtedly, Tel Aviv also adores her. She is fascinated by the faces, spaces and stories that make them what they are. In our last conversation in 2014 we talked about the importance of  Smart City Branding. She thinks cities are so exciting because they’re living things. Despite the best efforts of modernist planners, Hila thinks that our cities are still a wonderful, beautiful mess. She thinks cities are alive and they are the sites of some of our most innovative, groundbreaking ideas – petri dishes of creativity.

tel aviv 3

Hila, let us know when did Tel Aviv smart city branding process take place?

Tel Aviv City Branding process took place in 2007, initiated by the municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo, in preparation for Tel Aviv’s centennial celebrations. Its goal was to create a positive and significant shift in the city’s image and to create a connection between the city and its municipality. The process was conducted with the assistance of McCann Tel Aviv, the designer Baruch Naeh and Touch graphic design studio, and was managed by the municipality’s spokesperson’s office and the Tel Aviv centennial administration.

How would you describe tel aviv smart city brand’s personality?

Tel Aviv´s personality is focused, mainly, on Multi Culturalism, freedom of thought, of expression, Creativity.  Tel Aviv allow us to be who really we are. Without that “personality” and “features” Tel Aviv could not be a fertile land for innovation. 


What is tel aviv brand´s “mantra”?smart city branding


1tel-aviv-non-stop-city-32-638In any case, let me tell you Tel Aviv City Branding is far more than a slogan – it represents a defined and devised strategy that spans all aspects of Tel Aviv as a global player devising and communicating an image that allows us to tell Tel Aviv’s story while its being written.

I really love that: “tell a story while its being written” That is so powerful!

Indeed, Santiago, currently, Tel Aviv continues to lead the way, upgrading and improving its Smart City Branding in both the international and Israeli contexts. The “nonstop city” never stops changing. 

How are you connecting your competitive advantage as a Brand with your mantra or your vision?

Tel Aviv is a place founded by visionaries a little more than a century ago. I invite you to look how Tel Aviv looked like in 1909:

tel aviv 6Blue skies, desolate sand dunes and 66 entrepreneurial families who had big dreams and few prospects. These are the families who founded Tel Aviv, who drew lots for tracts of barren land so they could build a modern city on them. So innovation and transformation is part of our DNA. 

Currently Tel Aviv has a thriving, accessible, and creative start-up ecosystem, unparalleled in its innovation, creativity, synergy, and young, brilliant, energy rivaled only by the Silicon Valley.

Tel Aviv has put its «Competitive Identity» –innovation- as a way of life that manifests itself in the «nonstop» character evident in almost all aspects of the city. This central defining purpose allows Tel Aviv to shape its image and behaviors in order to allow real actions and substances.

What is Tel Aviv BRAND PROMISE to citizens?

No matter who you are, Tel Aviv will accept you, embrace you and push you forward. In Tel Aviv, you can be whoever you want to be, do whatever you want to do, with whomever you want, however you want, when you want.

7348557What are that real experiences/business practices or behaviors that citizens can live and that represent Smart city Tel Aviv Values?

For us, being a smart city means engaging with our residents and putting people in the center. Citymaking is a concept and a way of life that represent this approach.

So what is citymaking?

Making a Place for Everyone.

tel aviv 4

It’s the way that we inject our public spaces with the human touch and give them a sense of place, a unique and distinctive character that makes places different from one another and gives them their special kick. It’s how people and communities make their mark on their neighborhoods and cities and help to create sustainable, inclusive places for everyone.

Citymaking makes the difference between a space and a place. It’s the difference between a geographic entity and a human place.

A real place draws people, tells a story, reflects a community’s values, and is embedded with meaning. Citymaking combines bottom-up, community initiative with supportive policy – and is guided by human creative vision.

In the end, Citymaking makes good cities. And a good city, as Jan Gehl, the Danish urban planning visionary once pointed out, «is like a good party – people stay much longer than really necessary because they are enjoying themselves».

Thanks Hila!hila oren (interviewed by Santiago Martín Caravaca)

More about Tel Aviv Foundation:

Follow us: @SmartCity_Brand