In response to population growth, many “new towns” or planned cities were built around the world in the 1950s. Tel Aviv University (TAU) has launched a pilot project in collaboration with a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to revitalize this aging model.
Last month, a team of five TAU and 11 MIT graduate students visited Kiryat Gat, a mid-sized town in the south of Israel. Home to branches of Hewlett-Packard Company and Intel, Kiryat Gat was chosen as a laboratory for re-designing outmoded planned civic spaces.
Based on smart technologies, improved transportation, use of the city’s natural surroundings, and a reconsideration of the current use of city space, the team’s action plan is designed to help Kiryat Gat emerge as a new, technologically-advanced planned city—a prototype that could be applied to similar urban communities.
The project, jointly funded by TAU’s Vice President for Research and MIT’s MISTI Global Seed Funds, will create a new planning model that could reshape the future of Kiryat Gat and similar cities across the world which are often overlooked in academia and practical planning.
To tackle the design and planning challenges of the city, the team of students focused on four themes: the “mobile city,” which looked at transport and accessibility; the “mediated city,” dealing with technological infrastructure; the “compact city,” which reconsidered the use of urban space and population growth; and the “natural city,” which integrated environmental features into the urban landscape.
The team estimates that they will be able to present the updated model of the city early next year. The next step is further exploring the project’s key themes at a March meeting at MIT.