|M.Sc Student||Maslovski Ilya|
|Subject||Urban Utopias in the Service of the Zionist Enterprise:|
Urban Design of Jewish Towns during the British
Mandate and the First Years of Israel's
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisors||Architect Shamay Assif|
|Dr. Hadas Sheder|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
This research deals with the urban design of Jewish towns that were developed during the British Mandate and the early years of the State of Israel. The purpose of the study is to identify the many differences between the urban design schemes that were proposed (and many of them realized) during these two periods, and assess the reasons for them to occur.
The study examines the ideological basis of the schemes proposed during each one of the two periods as expressed by politicians, planners, scholars and officials to back the schemes in each of these periods.
The research points out that during the British Mandate more compact geometric urban design schemes were common, building hierarchies and focal nodes, while the schemes developed during the State of Israel first years were more organic less hierarchical and dispersed. The British Mandate schemes distinguished private from public spaces, with clear priority to the private over the public, while the State of Israel schemes tended to blur the distinctions between the private and the public seeing them as a continuous public domain.
This research then traces the origins of the differences in urban design concepts during each period by analyzing the cross impact of three main agents that drove the period’s urban design: the developing agent, the planner and the regulator.
It shows how the urban design schemes developed in each one of the periods stem from the socio economic ideology and political conviction that the three agents represented.
All three agents went through a rather abrupt transformation. The developing agent - the Yishuv settling agencies, often constrained by limited resources, was replaced by the newborn sovereign state committed to provide social housing to an accelerating flow of immigrants. As for the planner -independent planning firms led by rather dominant architects, were replaced by a highly centralized government agency committed to use urban design to promote revolutionary social change. However, the most dominant was the role of the regulator - the colonial free capitalist approach and the limited public involvement of the British Mandate regime, were replaced by a proactive social approach, taking public responsibility for the supply of ample housing.
The research concludes that the differences in urban design schemes developed during the two periods studied, mainly derived from the transformation in the power structure best represented by the changing role of the regulatory systems. It clearly sheds light on the origins of the urban design schemes that have shaped Israel’s urban design and development for generations to come.
The questions asked and the connections drawn in the research are certainly relevant today, while many more urban design schemes emerge and the three driving agents keep change their interrelated roles.