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Rural ethos and urban development: the emergence of the first Hebrew town in modern Palestine

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Since the late nineteenth century, the Zionist movement emphasized ruralism not only for the pastoral areas of Palestine, but also for its urban centres. This paper explores the emergence of Tel Aviv, the first Hebrew town, in the light of the Zionist rural/pastoral ideology and within the late nineteenth century discourse on city planning. It discusses early Tel Aviv's rural images and the various means that were implemented by local and international planners, Zionist cultural agents, volunteer organizations and residents in order to materialize the green vision for the first Hebrew town. This paper argues that till the mid-1930s, the development of Tel Aviv discarded the common modern dichotomy of nature/culture or pastoral/urban, proving that the development of the rural, agricultural landscape and the construction of the urban metropolis were complementary facets of the Zionist dream.

Keywords: Geddes; Palestine; Tel Aviv; rural/urban; town planning

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Landscape Architecture Program, Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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