Plan lays out future vision for Tel Aviv

Approved plan will emphasize the development of the southern and eastern neighborhoods of the city, says TA municipal engineer.

Tel Aviv skyline 370 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Tel Aviv skyline 370
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
The Tel Aviv Master Plan approved 16-10 by the local planning council last Wednesday night will emphasize the development of the southern and eastern neighborhoods of the city, Tel Aviv municipal engineer Hezi Berkovich said Sunday.
“The city has been developing to the south in recent years and this is something that we are encouraging,” Berkovich said. “There are places where the city can expect big changes and one of these areas is definitely south Tel Aviv.”
He said that among other things, a large portion of the 35,000 new apartments to be built as part of the master plan will be in the southern part of the city, including an unspecified amount of “attainable housing.” South Tel Aviv’s Shlavim Street will also see wide-scale commercial and residential development.
Berkovich said there are no ironclad projects for the new central bus station in south Tel Aviv, widely-seen as a colossal urban eyesore by residents.
The master plan proposes moving the station’s bus traffic to the Arlosoroff bus depot and the Holon junction, as well as a series of possibilities for the 230,000 square meter building, including revitalizing it as a commercial area or mixed-use facility.
“As important as the building is, there is no real plan for it,” Berkovich said. He added that he does not know of any plan to demolish the building, and that the complex is made of heavily-fortified concrete that would be extraordinarily difficult to remove.
The master plan is a long-term design for the future of Tel Aviv, designed to create a framework for how the city will look 20 to 30 years down the road. The program is designed to be carried out by 2025, but will be open to changes and updates on a rolling basis over the coming years. The plan still has to be approved by the regional planning committee before going into effect – on top of last Wednesday’s vote.
In addition to the 35,000 new housing units, the plan includes several large-scale programs for creating and preserving “green thoroughfares” in the city. These include a pedestrian walkway planned to run from Rothschild Boulevard to the sea, a similar walkway along the Ayalon expressway, one connecting Hayarkon Park to the Ariel Sharon Park south of the city, and another that will link Nahalat Yitzhak to Menachem Begin Park in central Tel Aviv. Also, the municipality said that they will develop Horshot Park in south Tel Aviv into the city’s largest, spanning some 200 dunams (20 hectares).
After the plan passed Wednesday night, the municipality praised it as part of their efforts to “preserve and strengthen Tel Aviv’s place as the economic and cultural center of Israel, advance Tel Aviv as a place of residence for residents of all ages and strengthen the city’s municipality government with greater emphasis on efficiency.”
The plan was devised after some 1,800 working days, 15 meetings of the local planning council and 50 meetings with the public, in which they said more than 1,700 residents weighed in on the plan’s proposals.
The city said that the plan will help the city of 400,000 house some 450,000 residents by 2025, and should increase office space by around five million square meters.
The plan also emphasizes preservation mixed with “urban revitalization,” and places limits on the type of construction allowed in the “White City” in central Tel Aviv, a UNESCO site, as well as in Jaffa.
The plan has been criticized for not including enough “sustainable” urban options, including limits on carbon emissions, as well as what some see as a lack of transparency.
In addition, it does not appear to include comprehensive or wide-reaching proposals for public transportation.