Transport and Street — Actual Living Experience in Tel Aviv during Planning

Zoltan Kluger, 1934. Observation point on the Herbert Samuel platform and north
Herbert Samuel Square. 1935 On the left stands Galei Aviv Casino and the bathhouses, and on the right – Hotel Warshavsky, Café Tarshish and the San Remo Hotel yard (Rosenfeld neighborhood, Tel Nordau) (Photo: Zoltan Kluger, GPO)

Technology boosted in Tel Aviv rapidly. In only one year’s time, cars started to replace small buses as the major transportation of residents. Tel Aviv, an emerging commercial centre, was the most motorised city in Palestine. The whole growing road network converged on Tel Aviv. In 1934, one-third of all Palestine automobiles were reported to be located in Tel Aviv. Three years later, 50 per cent of Palestine’s listed taxis, buses and trucks were used in Tel Aviv.

Yet Tel Aviv’s traffic remained heterogeneous into the 1930s and this mixture, ‘from the camel and the hand-cart to the most modern automobile’,27 partly explained the chronic traffic congestion. Traffic problems were also due to the narrow and winding streets in Tel Aviv’s busiest commercial areas (many of which had to be turned into one-way roads), and insufficient parking spaces.

Hama’avir and the Municipality tried to systematize the bus service. Bus stops, for instance, were gradually institutionalized. In the early 1920s permanent bus stations were located only at the beginning of each line, but in 1926 Hama’avir fixed in- variable stops along the line as well. Permanent bus stops significantly standardised the service, compared to the former convention of passengers’ request, depending on the drivers’ good will (which, as we shall see later, was a very rare commodity).

According to municipal contracts, routes had to be started every 15 minutes, but in practice bus drivers began their route according to their judgement (‘when needed’), even during rush hours. Complaints about irregularity increased in the mid-1930s, probably due to the city’s changing demographics. About one-fifth of the immigrants who arrived during the latest wave of immigration were Central Europeans, fleeing Nazi Germany, and by 1936 they comprised 9 per cent of Tel Aviv’s population. These German immigrants were used to higher standard public service but then shocked by the manners of bus drivers in Tel Aviv. Even though they were previous immigrants from Europe. There seemed to be a trend of well-educated people adapting this rude culture instead of influencing it.


A street conversation on Allenby Street. Photography from the 1930s

The street designed were following the Garden City idea of greenery and pedestrians, shops and vehicles system were more completed during the 30s. The government preference of proposed plans with gardens allowed space for Garden City attempt on the newly developed city. However, even without postwar historical events, such as the riots in Jaffa and the increase in immigration to Palestine (the Third and Fourth Aliyot), the chance of Tel Aviv surviving as a garden city was minimal, as the plan was missing two crucial elements: ideological commitment and a greenbelt. Aside from the general idea of establishing a new settlement with better living conditions, there were not any defined social or economic concepts linking the residents of Ahuzat-Bayit together to prevent the garden city from evolving into a different urban form in the future. In addition, the design did not include a greenbelt surrounding the settlement, so it was left open to further expansion.



Harpaz, Nathan. “The Garden City of Ahuzat-Bayit.” In Zionist Architecture and Town Planning: The Building of Tel Aviv (1919 – 1929), 117-28. Purdue University Press, 2013.

Helman, Anat. “Taking the Bus in 1920s and 1930s Tel Aviv.” Middle Eastern Studies 42, no. 4 (2006): 625-40.

1 Comment on “Transport and Street — Actual Living Experience in Tel Aviv during Planning

  1. A very detailed and logical introduction and analysis regarding the context of the emergence of Tel Aviv, its historical development,,urban planning and construction, social structure as well as land, socio-political, riots and conflicts of between regions was given.

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