Looking at Cohen’s national parks through Howard and Kauffmann’s lens (Part I)

The Origin of Green Space

When we investigate the precedent of Incorporating parks and open spaces into cities, Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City theory should not be neglected.

The theory aimed at addressing the issue of overpopulation of 19th Century London, which is similar to the situation faced by today’s East Jerusalem. One of the approaches is to limit the population of each central city and its sub-districts by an array of green stripes. However, it did not eliminate the possibility of constructing new cities. Under a concentric city layout, expansion can be carried out orderly and indefinitely. (Howard 1946, 50-57,138-147)

Besides, greenery in city centres is also served as a civic centre. Plenty of institutions including libraries, city halls and exhibition centres can be found among the public gardens. The agglomeration of public amenities with green space implies that the greenery should be universally accessible to all residents regardless of the class and race. Apart from institutional and recreational use, part of the park also incorporates into farming. Designation of agricultural colleges, forests and farms at outer rings is one of the manifestations. This idea in fact can be a great inspiration for a Palestine planning where farming is one of the prime concerns.

Howard incorporated institutions and farming business into the designation of green areas. (Howard 1946, 50-57, 138-147)
The concentric layout of garden cities, implying the possibility of indefinite expansions. (Howard 1946, 50-57, 138-147)


The Jerusalem Adaptation

Although some of the features are hindered by the site topography and the existing urban fabric, it still has deep influence on subsequent urban planning schemes, one of which is the Richard Kauffmann’s Garden Suburb located in the Jerusalem in 1922, during the British Mandate Period.

Richard Kauffmaan’s planning of Talpoit resembles some of the Garden Cities ideas. (Bigon, Liora and Katz 2014, 10)


He participated in drafting the layout of the town of Talpiot. Instead of flattening it, the German architect Kauffmann blended the layout into the existing topography. He designated the most prominent relief in the town, a round hill, as the new town centre. (Bigon, Liora and Katz 2014, 11) Schools, synagogues and parks crowned the hill, surrounded by the circular road network and continuous green strip. Howard’s idea again was reflected in this town, as the park and green space once again symbolizes the civic and town center. This idea also took references from Bruno Taut, another German architect mastered at placing dominant infrastructure on top of the highest point of site. (Chemla 2017, 51) Town plans embracing similar rationales sprung up around Jerusalem and the land of Israel during the British mandate period, which will be further discussed in the bibliography.

Kauffmann’s design strategies perfectly demonstrate the consideration of different ideologies and the contextual complexity when designating greenery in cities. He first used the theories of Garden City from Howard as the foundation framework of urban planning. Then he assimilated it with the local culture of both Arabs and Jews, such as carefully studying the three typical Zionist social ideologies. (Chemla 2017, 50) He also contextualized it with the site’s topography by borrowing Taut’s idea of turning the round hill as the city’s spotlight. Lastly, he also looked into the existing business models of the cities, including the size of the farming businesses, and its distance and interaction with major cities (Tel Aviv and Jerusalem). (Chemla 2017, 52) Therefore, Jerusalem developed their own variation of Garden Cities under Kauffmann’s effort. These unique and contextualized strategies will be studied in the bibliography.

Unfortunately, the newly established Israeli Government took a retrograde step in designating the green areas. The contextualizing of local cultures, and also the symbols as civic centre diminished already in the newest Master Plan 2000, which will be discussed in the next narrative.


The next narrative will compare Howard and Kauffmann’s urban planning strategies with the Jerusalem National Parks:

Looking at Cohen’s national parks through Howard and Kauffmann’s lens (Part II)

For your references, you may also look into the case study of Nahalal Garden City here.



  1. Howard, Ebenezer. Garden Cities of To-Morrow. (London: Faber and Faber, 1946), 50-57, 138-147.
  2. Bigon, Liora, and Yossi Katz, eds. “Urban development and the ‘garden city’: examples from late Ottoman-era Palestine and the late British Mandate” in Garden Cities and Colonial Planning: Transnationality and Urban Ideas in Africa and Palestine. (Manchester; New York: Manchester University Press, 2014) Accessed December 15, 2020. doi:10.2307/j.ctv18b5nhx.
  3. Chemla, Dori A. A European Garden City on the Mediterranean Sand. (Barcelona: School of Architecture of Barcelona, 2017) 49-51.


1 Comment on “Looking at Cohen’s national parks through Howard and Kauffmann’s lens (Part I)

  1. While it is always good to compare with the established precedents, I’m not entirely sure whether here we shall narrate the experimentation under the Garden City theory. Apart from the formal analysis of the maps and drawings, I’m wondering whether you could find certain writings and manifestos that could facilitate your construction of this lineage of designing with greenery. As I I learned from your group’s posts, the conflict among multiple ethic groups is also an important factor of the green space here. Merely interpreting the national parks without mentioning its own specificity might dilute the complexity of this local circumstance of Jerusalem.

Leave a Reply

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