Israel's main urban centers, Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, are currently undergoing significant physical and demographic transformation.
The dominant factor in the shaping of the modern Israeli city has always been the fact that over the course of the twentieth century, the population has grown sporadically as immigrants arrived in waves, rather than gradually to suit a natural increase. Each new wave was accompanied by a concomitant burst of building activity, and each new city area carried an identifying style and character of its period: European, Middle-Eastern eclectic, "Bauhaus", socialist utopian, international commercial.
Today, population increase, economic growth and geopolitical changes resulting from the continuing peace process in the Middle East pose challenging problems for a country built on lmited land resources. Planners, urban designers and architects, as well as national and local authorities, are faced with increasing and conflicting demands and are reassessing principles and priorities at every level.
At national level, the formulation of the '2020' plan is an unusual attempt at long-term comprehensive planning.
It is however within the large cities that architects, in their traditional role as placemakers, are confronted with the highly sensitive task of creating humane environments against a background of pressures by the current unprecedented scale of urban development.
This exhibition illustrates some of the different ways in which architects have addressed the challenge of urban transformation over the last decade.
Design and production:
The Jerusalem Center for Planning in Historic Cities.
This exhibition is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Division of Cultural and Scientific Affairs, the Jerusalem Municipality, and the Israel Institute of Architects and Town Planners.
We acknowledge the technical assistance of the Tel-Aviv Jaffa Municipality.