Tel Aviv/ Geddes’ early connections with Zionist architecture

Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) was one of the forerunners of modern town planning and named the pioneer of regional planning approach. Geddes’ planning approach emphasized that decisions have to be based on a scientific regional survey, by knowing the climate, topography, as well as the social and economic situation.

Prior to Geddes’ plan for Tel Aviv, he has worked on a number of projects in Palestine. In 1918, he was commissioned to plan for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem instigated by his Zionist connections. Based on his comprehensive survey of Jerusalem, he wanted an architectural style and city planning that integrates the Palestinians, Arabs and Jews. In his design of the Hebrew University, he put his ideas into practice, in an attempt to promote a sense of intimacy between the university and the city, which at that time he was acclaimed for bringing modern ideas to the city.

Patrick Geddes’ plan for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Later, Geddes was employed by the British to work on more projects in Palestine. In 1920, he visited Palestine for the second time working in Jerusalem, where he was working on plans for other Jewish settlements such as Tiberias and Haifa. At that time, Geddes was known to be an “architectural or building expert” for Jewish settlements in the area.

Plan for a new suburb in Balrampur, India, 1917, from Patrick Geddes, Town Planning in Balrampur (Lucknow, 1917).


Because of the few waves of immigration flood to Tel Aviv, the population of Tel Aviv has increased by 20 times from around 2,000 to 40,000 within one decade of 1920s. The huge population growth called for a planned development, and with Geddes’ fame as a pioneer and expert in town planning, the Tel Aviv City Council approached Geddes for discussions as early as in 1920. In 1925, the mayor of Tel Aviv officially commissioned Geddes to submit a report on town planning in northern Tel Aviv. Geddes’ plan was designed in response to the issue of immigrants and his proposals were adopted.


  1. Kallus, Rachel. “Patrick Geddes and the Evolution of a Housing Type in Tel-Aviv.” Planning Perspectives 12, no. 3 (1997): 281-320.
  2. Harpaz, Nathan. Zionist Architecture and Town Planning. Purdue University Press, 2013.

1 Comment on “Tel Aviv/ Geddes’ early connections with Zionist architecture

  1. A good cut-in to introduce Patric Geddes’s key planning ideals of Tel Aviv and how he made use of zoning and road system planning to respect the old history urban form and to ensure the movement efficiency. In addition, his housing blocks planning in Jerusalem also establish a local bond between communities. It will be good to introduce more key features of his planning concepts.

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