|M.Sc Student||Drory Israel|
|Subject||"Where Have the Boulevards Gone?" - Boulevards in Israel|
and Planning the Urban Space
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Tal Alon-Mozes|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
This study deals with urban boulevards. This type of streets with rows of trees was successful and valued until the middle of the 20th century, but disappeared since then from urban planning, both around the world and in Israel.
The study reviews the construction and the disappearance of boulevards within global, national and local levels, and is based on academic literature, archival material, maps and plans, field studies, interviews and testimonies.
The background part describes the development of urban boulevards in Europe, in America and in other parts of the world.
Urban boulevards were implemented also in Israel. They were constructed in planned towns during the British mandate. The study focuses on the boulevards of Tel-Aviv, which turned out to be a successful element of the city's structure.
The study shows that the construction of boulevards was abruptly ceased globally after the 2nd World War, and in Israel, after the establishment of the state. The research questions are:
- Within the global level: Why has the construction of urban boulevards ceased in the middle of the 20th century?
- Within the national level: Why has the construction of urban boulevards in Israel ceased after the establishment of the state?
Trends and developments of the 20th century, are examined and singled out as having affected the elimination of boulevards from urban planning: The "Garden City" and its followers, that set up alternative models to traditional cities with their boulevards; Modernism rejected boulevards' axiality and symmetry, and their being remnant of old styles; heavy traffic encouraged construction of multi-lane arteries at the expense of boulevards.
The study then examines the sharp transformation of urban planning in Israel, following its establishment in 1948. This transformation meant denial of conservative planning of the British period, and the construction of modernist new towns and "Neighborhood Units", with no effective streets and no urban boulevards.
Two test-cases were chosen for further examination: (1) the "New North" quarter in Tel-Aviv, and (2) the city of Bat-Yam. Conspicuous boulevards, much contributing to the cities, were constructed in both prior to the establishment of Israel. No additional boulevard was built in them afterwards. The research questions accordingly are:
- How was the "New North" built as a quarter devoid of boulevards?
- Why has Bat-Yam settled for a single boulevard?
The research reveals possible causes. Tel-Aviv, barely managing within the city limits during British mandate, could not afford building real parks, and opted for boulevards as a substitute. Once the city limits were extended upon the establishment of Israel, boulevards became redundant. Heavy traffic prevented then further construction of new boulevards. In Bat-Yam, while still a small town, fear of wasting land for public uses, instead of for residential, caused the cancellation of a city plan replete with public spaces and boulevards. Of the original plan - only a single boulevard was left.
In conclusion, further research topics on urban boulevards are suggested. The study ends with the observation of current trend in urban planning which reinstate urban boulevards.