The final report of the studio is available for download.
Due to its large size it is divided into three parts.
Several overlaid systems work together to create a unifying order for the overall strategy of the city. A series of fingers extend over networks of circulation and activity throughout the city. Following these paths are wave patterns denoted as frequencies which are defined as four different operational functions: Natural, Mediated, Mobility, and Compact.
- Natural represents the areas of ecological sensitivity and recreational consideration.
- Mediated paths portray new economies of information and innovation with a temporality of condition.
- Mobility locates new areas of focus for transit, walkability, intermodal changes, and ease of access.
- Compact denotes areas of mixed use activity, infill development, and adaptive reuse of spaces.
The frequency patterning demonstrates an increase in amplitude and intensity in areas of heightened development and activity, and the focused locations of multiple lines highlight significant points of concentration within the city, as seen on sites such as the train station. Two larger bands cross as a nexus over the city to highlight the two major networks activating the city: the designation of Sderot Lachish as a main thoroughfare connecting the major zones of the city, and the landscape elements of the park and wadi injecting the urban condition with a natural pliability.
View Specific Proposals for:
- Strategic Plan: The Urban Cell
- Continuing North: Active & Productive Landscapes
- The Hinge: Strategies for the Urban Core
- Industrial Remix
The city of Kiryat Gat is planning to expand with a large development to the north of Route 35, a major east-west connector for Southern Israel. This plan will expand the city at a large scale, accommodating an increase of 25,000 residents.
Our project critiques this plan, which is not without positives, but is flawed in several key respects. Most importantly, the current proposal may bifurcate an already disjointed city— missing an opportunity to take advantage of many of Kiryat Gat’s spatial, social and economic assets. Our plan is to focus on and take advantage of these assets and continue them into the North, tying what could be two very disparate areas into one cohesive city.
Our proposal has two main goals beyond the original plan for the North: to emphasize connectivity and to prioritize the natural systems in the area. We looked closely at three elements that offer physical and programmatic directions that work with, but ideally will strengthen, the proposed development:
- Enhanced road connections that increase accessibility to the city and across the seam of Route 35, as well as mobility between the new northern neighborhoods and the existing city.
- A landscape plan for the large open space between the two areas that emphasizes indigenous landscape forms and productive uses of hybrid forms of park space.
- And a proposal for a mixed-use R&D zone that takes advantage of the large park next door.
The Hinge plan focuses on creating a vibrant, mixed-use city center that draws from and connects the municipal core of the city and the current industrial zone. The plan is based on several implementation concepts. The first, circulation and public passage, is focused on creating public and transparent ground levels of municipal functions interconnected with existing public assets such as pedestrian pathways and plazas. Pedestrian networks utilize passive climatological solutions to encourage year-round pedestrian use. The second, urban infill and adaptation, is focused on utilizing strategic densification by developing vacant and underutilized lots within the existing city and adapting existing urban fabric to create dense residential and commercial neighborhoods. Finally, our economic development strategy is focused on developing mixed-use structures and promoting human-scale street activity. Denser development will result in stronger continuity between commercial and residential uses in different parts of the city.
Our plan for the Hinge focuses primarily on a large-scale redevelopment of the Wedge into a mixed-use city center. Our proposal involves moving the train tracks below grade so a new train station can be built at grade with a road connection into the industrial zone, bridging the two major parts of the city. Major development and streetscape renovations along Sderot Lachish aim to turn this into an iconic street running the length of the city, from the northern development to Intel. The heart of Lachish will be in the Wedge, with mixed-use buildings contain- ing storefronts, cafes, and municipal services on the ground level and residences above. Parked cars will shield pedestrians, bikers, and diners from traffic and tree cover will shield them from the sun.
Kiryat Gat’s industrial park is one of the city’s most distinctive assets. In addition to hosting a bevy of traditional industries, including food processing (Sugat, Sabra) and metal production (Hod Assaf), it has recently attracted cutting-edge manufactur- ing facilities with the introduction of Intel, HP, Micron, Hitachi, Zenith Solar, and other high tech companies. However, it re- mains cut off from the city, in a very literal sense. There is only one direct connection between the city and the industrial area, and a strict adherence to single-use zoning has created a district that is inhospitable to the pedestrian. As such, companies have chosen to create enclosed campuses with amenities that are only open to their own employees. Their closed nature prevents the kind of cross-industry benefits that could improve the liv- ability of the area.
Israel as a nation has one of the largest deficits between the biocapacity of production and the ecological footprint of consumption. The studies also showed that while industry is trending towards high technology and is polluting less, energy consumption is still on the rise and water is being consumed faster than it can be naturally replenished.
This proposal brings a new way of thinking to industrial areas, where the city can co-exist with manufacturing through an industrial remix. This can be achieved through our tripartite strategy of industrial urbanism, refigured manufacturing, and closed loop urban metabolism as described below. It is a place-based strategy that draws upon Kiryat Gat’s strengths in industry, environment, and people. The proposal is for an industrial area that functions more efficiently while creating a more livable domain.
Methodologically, envisioning a strategy for Kiryat Gat is based on three parallel processes: (a) mapping changes and trends that occurred in Israel in last five decades; (b) visioning lifestyles and daily patterns in 2025 by addressing different age groups and their projected needs; and (c) addressing the four themes – compactness, technology, nature and mobility.
The proposal for the strategic plan is composed of the following components:
- Urban cells, a new scale that acts as a tool for spatial reorganization and urban regeneration.
- Circulation, stitching the industrial zone, the existing city and the new northern development.
- Technology, integrated in all aspects of life, including a Net School, Smart Public Spaces, Tech Park and residency programs.
- Nature, viewed as an integral part of city life and connected to the pedestrian grid.
- An additional layer to the strategic plan is the Band, connecting the city core, the northern park and natural open spaces, offering diverse experiences as well as urban and natural landscapes.
The next stage of the work is focused on the urban cell, defining its characteristics and goals, as well as creating a lexicon of possible interventions on multiple scales, addressing different aspects such as program, activities, management, land uses and physical space. By presenting a new scale, smaller then a neighborhood, intervention in the urban cell could dissolve borders, improve connectivity, utilize spaces, enhance human comfort, promote walkability and create a feasible scale for urban regeneration. The urban cell does not operate independently but in relation to other cells, its borders are not rigid yet offer diverse connections to other cells. The urban cell offers a public extension to the private realm, expanding the boundaries of one’s home, encouraging kids, adults and seniors to carry out their activities outdoors in communal spaces.
The Preliminary Strategic Plan also addresses the following sites in Kiryat Gat:
The industrial core is central to Kiryat Gat’s future growth. It presents a unique development opportunity with its diverse collection of factories, workshops, warehouses, and office buildings. Thanks to national government incentives, international firms such as Intel and HP have recently built production facilities there, forming the beginnings of a new high tech cluster. However, the area still resembles the industrial parks of yesteryear, with isolated campuses and few publicly accessible amenities. Fortunately, cleaner manufacturing processes have opened the door for a new model of industrial development. We envision a future Kiryat Gat where housing, retail, and research facilities are introduced into industrial settings, in order to create innovation clusters with a high degree of knowledge spillover. Innovation can happen in a lab or a factory floor, but it multiplies when ideas flow between both settings. In the past, these facilities have been located in disparate locales due to land costs or siting limitations, but Kiryat Gat has a chance to challenge this convention. It can establish a new model for industrial new towns by becoming the first to co-locate housing, manufacturing, and R&D.
Kiryat Gat’s potentially vibrant urban core currently suffers from stratified land uses, limited connectivity between neighborhoods, and constrained crossing to the city’s industrial district. A railroad that separates the core from the industrial district can only be crossed via a bridge near the southern border of the city; this barrier hinders movement between these areas and consequently economic activity. However, underutilized post-industrial land adjacent to the railroad is ripe for redevelopment and offers the opportunity to stich the city’s core to its industrial district. Our strategic plan for this area, dubbed the Hinge, centers on the concept of crossing gradients on several different scales. Its goal is to create new tensions and capitalize on existing ones along a main core connector and across the railroad tracks, pulling residents and workers in both directions. This improved connectivity would support transit-oriented development in and around the Hinge that would extend to and incorporate other anchors in the city, catalyzing an increase in density, activity, and commerce.
Kiryat Gat’s proposed northern development is currently defined by a completely disconnected urban fabric. The city identity is currently fragmented along socio-economic lines and the proposed plan will reinforce this disconnection. Our plan seeks to connect the existing and future neighborhoods, using the park as a connector rather than a barrier. We are looking at more sustainable park typologies that will leverage indigenous landscape features. Our plan connects existing resources in the city core to the future development zones along linear routes that flow into the northern expansion. The new population growth in the northern neighborhoods offers an opportunity for economic development and an enhancement of amenity offerings for the city, if utilized and planned in a non-divisive approach. These assets will be organized according to a new park typology, circulatory system and development model that emphasizes collaboration between uses. Our plan activates the new Northern development and reinforces Kiryat Gat’s existing urban structure.
The following mappings were exercises to gain knowledge about existing conditions, assess proposed plans, find missing linkages, and discover possible relationships between design and planning parameters.
Students from TAU and MIT explored the following themes:
- Population & Accessibility
- Future Urban Development
- Regional Settlement Patterns & Ecological Gradients
- Watersheds & Stream Flows
- Industrial Sector Transects
- Urban Energy Performance
- Open-Loop Urban Metabolism
- Realms of the City: Potential Connections Across Memory, Ecologies, Infrastructure, & Voids
- Housing Typologies
- Income & Employment Distribution
- Patterns of Public Open & Undeveloped Land