Geddes Plan : Ideal and Reality

Patrick Geddes, a Scottish city planner contributed greatly to the development of Tel Aviv in the 1920s, by designing the first master city plan for the city. Due to the few waves of immigration hitting the city, population growth had been one of the biggest issues that led to a planned development for the city, and Geddes plan was constructed mainly to tackle this issue.

The Geddes plan for Tel Aviv develops the concept of the Garden City at three levels, the metropolitan, urban and neighborhood scales. The metropolitan level aimed at developing the connection between two cities, similar to how the Garden City Movement addressed in having inter-connection between garden city and central city. Geddes plan recommended a rail connection in order to foster the development of the recreational area around the seashore.

The urban scale is an important focus of the Geddes plan, in which the plan rebuilt the city’s road network in creating hierarchy of roads, not only to redefine the zonings of the city, but also to differentiate the usages of streets. Major streets are called mainways, defining large urban blocks, structured by narrow residential streets called homeways. Pedestrian lanes then lead people to public parks or enclosed avenues at the core of the large urban blocks, which are normally where communal facilities such as playgrounds and sports venues are located.


The neighborhood scale is involved a lot of green elements in response to the spirit of the garden city. The large urban blocks mentioned above is called the Home-block, which are the building blocks within the street grid. A home-block consists of groups of small residential blocks, connected by short inner pedestrian streets, surrounding an inner open space. This inner open space acts as a public center of the home-block, serving social and religious institutions. The Geddes plan also put many public gardens inside these home blocks, providing nearly every building a piece of garden wrapped around it.



The open green spaces were one of the essences of the Geddes plan, but due to the increase in population and density, many of these green spaces were transformed into building land, providing more housing spaces for the immigrants. The Geddes plan therefore lost its neighborhood scale idea, resulting in just a city of building blocks instead of a garden city.

In the urban scale, all urban blocks went on further developing itself to its maximum to cope with the increase in population density, and therefore some of the normal building blocks grew into large blocks same as the home-blocks. The buildings failed to help in differentiating the streets as mainways and homeways, and therefore the Geddes plan wasn’t fully performed in terms of the urban scale.


  1. Rachel, Kallus. “Geddes Plan And The Evolution Of A Housing Type In Tel Aviv”. Planning Perspective (1997)
  2. WordPress,. “The Urban Development Of Tel Aviv”. N.p., 2011. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.
  3. Bandau Irmel, and Winfried Nerdinger. Tel Aviv Modern Architecture, 1930-1939. Tü bingen: Wasmuth, 1994.

Photo Reference from:

  1. Rachel, Kallus. “Geddes Plan And The Evolution Of A Housing Type In Tel Aviv”. Planning Perspective (1997)

2 Comments on “Geddes Plan : Ideal and Reality

  1. Very provocative title that points to the gaps between ideals in planning and actual effects. It’ll be wonderful to draw some relationships between this entry and your last one on the White City, or even the treatment of heritage value in the other entries. Please cite sources for all images.

  2. This is a very clear illustration of how garden city ideologies have been implemented in three different scales and their functions in Geddes plan. Maybe it will be a constructive move to compare the design intentions of such implementation (Eg. Neighborhood scale was contained to the accessibility of green belt). Also, showing the difference between Geddes plan with Garden City Proposals (like Ebenezer Howard & Theodor Fritsch) will help to show the significance of Geddes’s planning.

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