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About the Project | Kiryat Gat: Site and Systems Planning Studio

About the Project

This project is an international collaboration between the Tel-Aviv University Laboratory for Contemporary Urban Design and the Site & Systems Planning Studio in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies & Planning in order to envision, plan, and design prototypical sustainable residential communities for Israel 2025. The long term research strives to plan, design, and retrofit existing residential communities to become low carbon, ecologically responsive, incorporate new technologies, and generally enhance the livability and self-relience of local residents and potential newcomers.

Urban communities are facing demographic and environmental changes typical of many advanced and developing nations. A rapidly aging population and changes in social habits have depopulated many of Israel’s New Towns; this change has been accompanied with stigma and neglect, all representative of the relative inflexibility of the New Town form. Like many governments in Western European, the Israeli government has launched policies to solve the problems of distressed neighborhoods, the most prominent among which are ‘demolition and redevelopment’ (Pinui Binui) and densification (Ibui Binui). The idea behind these strategies is to create non-government mandated market conditions that foster initiatives for developers to physically expand their construction projects. Yet, there are many limitations to the current strategies and it is clear that new strategies need to be initiated, in particular for cases of neighborhoods with a majority of low income families and low land values that do not attract for-profit developers.

The project’s goals are:

  • To develop a collaborative framework that includes both developing cutting edge research and new methods of teaching in the field of urban design and development.
  • To advance the technologies and practice of sustainable residential communities.
  • To design and develop a community housing research project that strives for a ‘zero net energy’, carbon neutrality, ecologically responsive development – and that also incorporates information technologies to enhance the ‘live-ability’ and self reliance for the occupants.
  • To develop new economic and technological applications to prototypical sustainable residential developments.

Students spent 10 days in Israel in January 2012 on an initial workshop exploring Kiryat Gat and initiating proposals. Work will continue during the Spring 2012 semester both in Israel and in Cambridge, MA.


Professor Tali Hatuka (TAU)
Professor Eran Ben-Joseph (MIT)
Teaching Assistant: Stephen Kennedy

TAU Students: Merav Battat , Roni Bar,  Michael Jacobson, Hila Lothan, Yoav Zilberdik

MIT Students: Jonathan Crisman, Rebecca Disbrow, Michael Kaplan, Noah Koretz, Jared Press, Alice Shay, Naomi Stein, Merran Swartwood, Chris Rhie, Alexis Wheeler

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