Urban Renewal – A Guide for the Perplexed
In recent years, the State of Israel is undergoing a real revolution in the field of urban renewal, as part of a global trend. Separation of uses, suburban development on a rural scale and a focus on infrastructure for private vehicles are gradually being dropped from local urban planning and design, and being replaced with concepts such as mixed uses, textured construction, density and transit-oriented development, which are becoming increasingly more prevalent in national and local planning processes.
The demand for sustainable planning that encourages and fosters true urban renewal originates from all types of interested parties, including national and municipal institutions, landowners and developers and various community organizations. The process at Auerbach Halevy features the right utilization of the potential building rights inherent in each project. Our key to creating a vibrant public spaces in an urban and communal context is to prioritize the pedestrians, while emphasizing the users’ urban experience and uncompromising design quality.
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The urban renewal project of a 300 dunam area in Kiryat Yam serves as a good example of this. The proposed plan upgrades an outdated urban block of apartments, situated in an excellent location by the sea, into a modern complex with 1,200 new apartments, commercial space, communal space, sports facilities and a park. In this project, we used compact-city planning principles that place an emphasis on walkability, density and mixed-uses. The residents of this renewed complex will enjoy a diverse urban texture that includes commerce on the ground floor, an elementary school and preschools, a sports center and expansive open green spaces. The diversity principle that we are promoting at Auerbach Halevy is expressed not only in the proposed uses, but also in the character of the construction. This project creates a commercial street façade, while incorporating residences using textured construction and towers on the one hand, and open and inviting urban spaces for residents of the complex and the surrounding community, on the other. In this project, we have developed an innovative design typology that connects the renovated complex to the immediate natural asset of the seafront, offering a variety of views and sight lines. (More about this project)
Maximizing the Community Potential
Neighborhood public projects can also feature urban renewal, revitalizing the public space and contributing to the existing community. Auerbach Halevy planned the modest 2- story Kohav Hatsafon Elementary School as a direct expression of the Tel Aviv perception as a Garden City. The rich, open, built spaces create a close real connection between the school building and the community in which it resides. The 1,5 acre schoolyard can be seen from all angles from the neighborhood’s residential towers, offering a spatial break and creating textural continuation to the public green garden in the heart of the residential neighborhood. Use of the gym as a community center after school hours offers a solution to the needs of the community. Throughout the day, there is a continuum of inviting public spaces, emphasizing the importance of the continuous activity in those spaces as a catalyst for a positive user experience. (More about this project)
Intensive Urban Development and Sustainability
The advantages of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) are well-known worldwide and are becoming increasingly prevalent in Israel. Studies have indicated that intensive and sustainable urban development near public transit that encourages accessibility, walkability, high density and mixed-uses, leads to a decrease on the dependence upon private vehicles, reducing urban air pollution, increasing the use of bicycles and walking, and enhancing the spatial accessibility to the other parts of the city.
The Transportation Center in the Krayot is a project that had the potential of turning into an inaccessible, asphalt-covered urban nuisance, divided by fences. The planning strategy developed by Auerbach Halevy created an urban transportation center, connected to the existing space, which is free of cars, with 4.7 acres of public spaces, including a bus terminal Metronit bus stops, a train station, parking on the metropolitan level and commercial and office buildings spanning 25,000 square meters. One of the project’s main advantages, stemming from its mixed-uses, is the diversity of the users who spend time in the project at all hours of the day, rejuvenating the interior and exterior public spaces through a variety of activities. (More about this project)
This advantage has already been expressed in the Metro-Mall Project in Rehovot, whose first phase was completed this year. The proximity of the project to the train station and the Science Park led to the comprehensive design concept, creating a municipal and inter-city focal point with an extraordinary design.
The project’s public spaces connect the park to the existing municipal texture, through an expansive commercial path that welcomes visitors coming from the direction of the train and serves as an inviting space for the user. The project, which is situated on an area of 2.7 acres, will serve as an additional 45,000 square meters of commercial and office space, functioning as an economic engine and a municipal link. (More about this project: Phase 1 and Phase 2)
Real and appropriate urban renewal is a product of studying the existing spatial context and designing it to maximize its inherent real estate and municipal potential. At Auerbach Halevy, we believe that planning a rich supply of public spaces with mixed-uses, encourages walkability and accessibility for everyone, creating quality cities that are sought-after and offer added economic, environmental and communal value.