Tel Aviv/ Geddes and his ideology: the importance of context

Contrary to other planners who attempt to separate and differentiate their “cities of tomorrow” from old existing cities, Geddes “closely knit together the new Tel-Aviv with the original neighborhood of Ahuzat Bayit (later Tel-Aviv), the ancient city of Jaffa, and the latter’s outlying neighborhoods“[1]. Geddes’ idea was that the existing part of the city was the foundation of his development instead of isolation. This explains why Geddes consider the initial surveying so important in his planning approach. To Geddes, design decisions of a new city should be grounded on the existing context and inspired by new ideas, where both should come together in peace.

A study of the Tel-Aviv-Jaffa plan (1924) used by Geddes for the making of his scheme.

In the planning of Tel Aviv, based on Geddes’ study on the existing context, He responded the design with Tel Aviv’s specific climate conditions in mind. Examples include the orientation of streets to provide shade, placement of houses near the coast line for breezes, and reduced openings to eliminate sun penetration into houses during its hot summer.

Geddes’ plan for Tel Aviv was often referred as a Garden City, but it is notable that Geddes has modified many of the “ideal” Garden City by Ebenezer Howard. In order to connect the new city to the old neighbourhood, Geddes specified his design in a section “Gardening in Tel Aviv” in his Town Planning Report – Jaffa and Tel-Aviv, based on his extensive survey: from as detailed as the specification of suitable plans for the city in private gardens, to the broad designs of urban parks and boulevards. This comes to explanation for Geddes’ ideology of town planning and design based on an extensive survey and study of the existing context in a scientific manner.


  1. Volker M. Welter. “The 1925 Master Plan for Tel-Aviv by Patrick Geddes.” Israel Studies : IS. 14, no. 3 (2009): 94-119.

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