II. Utopian Ideologies: Aaron Horwitz’s master plan (1953)

In response to the government’s formwork of “progressive and egalitarian planning”, Aaron Horwitz proposed a huge rearrangement of the whole city, comprising large-scale suburbanization and resettlement of slum residents. His ways and aspiration to enhance the living conditions for the majority were in harmony with the political system’s principles of immediate dwellings allocation and consolidated redevelopment. At the same time, he dealt with the concurrent socio-spatial distinction betwixt the northern and southern parts of Israel. Generally speaking, to the north, Horwitz retained most of the constructed regions and increased the number of capacious residential districts and vacant area for civic amenities and leisure facilities. To the south, Horwitz insisted that the border slums were inhumane and unsuitable for residential use and reappointed parts with these slums for industrial use. He urged for a whole slum clearance and restoration as commuter belts. To the east, the central business district (CBD) should facilitate all the commercial and industrial activities, thus, it was enlarged along the railroad.


Having mentioned the fundamental direction of the plan, Aaron Horwitz was supportive towards the idea of British Garden City. The core of his master plan is to divide the city into several development units, i.e. Tel Aviv was split into four main regions, flanked by natural and historic border lines. For the core district, the population was estimated to be 250,000, and for the adjacent districts, 100000. All districts were of a considerable sized to be self-supporting in financial, industrial and public services. Within each district were neighborhoods of around five thousand population, of which contain their own institutional, leisure, shopping and other vernacular communal facilities. The second feature of the master plan was separation of land use. Just light industry was allowed within the city, given that it was facilitated by truck transportation. Heavy industry had to stay along the railroad. The third feature was the enlargement of CBD which offered workplace for white collars, peripheral express ways, inner access roads and parking areas that settled in the existing slum areas. Hotels, shopping zones, amusement parks occupied in the adjacent city districts. Fourth, the construction of residential units was prohibited in commercial and industrial districts, leading to a decrease in residential inhabitation in these regions and eradication of disorganized business. Fifth, lowering population densities by moderate evacuation of families into new residential areas and remedy of the dense slum areas to avoid congestion which could threaten the municipal security and economy. Sixth, advancing the transportation system to facilitate free movement of circulation within Tel-Aviv. Apart from the existing expressway, there were addition of express highway to interlink between the north and the south and a hybrid of subordinate roads that marked the border lines of the neighborhoods without interruption. Seventh, to develop a new harbor port to the south to eliminate the extra costs of commerce due to existing detrimental congestion.  Eighth, to set up civilian airfields and oil pipeline for the immense population of the future metropolis.  Ninth, to put forward the entire coastline as the major source of relaxation and recreation. Over half of the population could enjoy the prolonged waterfront parkland without vehicles disruption. Last but not least, institutional policies. The majority of primary and secondary schools were insufficient to meet the demand of the intensive built-up neighborhoods. Horwitz advocated elementary school should be built in each community, supplemented with playground and landscape. Universities, on the threshold of new era, were to be built on the unoccupied northern area.


Given the idealistic imaginary solutions to the critical conditions in Tel-Aviv, Horwitz believed that the future of Tel Aviv was still dependent on the actual state and demand of the country and the way to situate itself in an excellent position undoubtedly required a long period of time.

The Horwitz Master Plan “Greater Tel Aviv”, 1953.






  1. Aaron B. Horwitz (1954) The Master Plan for Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel, Journal of the American Planning Association, 20:4, 178-182, DOI: 10.1080/01944365408979203
  2. Rachel Kallus (1997) Patrick Geddes and the Evolution of a Housing Type in Tel-Aviv”, Planning perspectives, 12. 281-320
  3. Ravit Goldhaber & Izhak Schnell (2007) A model of multidimensional segregation in the Arab Ghetto in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, 98:5, 603-620
  4. Sharon Rothbard (2005) White City/ Black City, Tel-Aviv- Jaffa: Babel (in Hebrew)
  5. Talia Margalit (2009) Public Assets vs. Public Interest: Fifty Years of High-rise Building in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, 29, 48-82
  6. Talia Margalit & Efrat Vertes (2015) Planning allocations and the stubborn north–south divide in Tel Aviv–Jaffa, Planning Theory & Practice, 16:2, 226-247, DOI: 10.1080/14649357.2015.1026925
  7. Yacobi, Haim. The Jewish-Arab City: Spatio-Politics in a Mixed Community. London: Routledge, 2013.
  8. Yodan Rofe (2008) The White City of Tel-Aviv: The Conservation of Modern Planning and Architecture and the Current Debate on Urbanism [Abstract]. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311992340.



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.