Tel Aviv was designed as a suburban alternative
to Jaffa. It was established in 1909, and by 1921,
had its own city council. In 1934, it became an
The 1920’s and 1930’s saw uprisings by the
Arabs of Jaffa and more and more Jews left it, to
the adjacent, developing Tel Aviv. From 1921 to
1925, (which was a banner year for building) Tel
Aviv expanded from 2,000 to 34,000 residents.
This was to be a distinctly different place
from the crowded commercial center of Jaffa, a
place without a manufacturing center, with a
European flair. The first buildings were planned
as single-family homes and the new residents of
Achuzat Bait (the name of the new quarter) wanted
to create a planned neighborhood, like those in
their European homelands. In 1910, the quarter’s
name was changed to Tel Aviv.
However, Tel Aviv was built without an overall
plan. It developed according to the needs of the
day, which were ever-changing. As more land was
purchased, one by one, neighborhoods sprang up.
In 1925, Meir Dizengoff asked Sir Patrick
Geddes, a Scottish urban planner, to submit a
master plan for Tel Aviv. Geddes’ plan called for
the city to be a European Garden City. To this
day, as you walk through the city’s smaller
streets (as well as some of the major streets) you
will encounter greenery around you.
Geddes’ plan, which outlined the development of
the northern part of Tel Aviv (since the southern
part had already been built-up), was approved in
1929 and influenced the shape of the city, for
years to come. However, its implementation never
fully materialized – due to a variety of
constraints and the growing needs of the time.
Later, other plans were implemented.
In 1909, Tel Aviv had just a mere 300 residents
and 60 buildings. By the time the British Mandate
was at its height, the city had grown enormously
and it was home to 150,00 people and 8,000
Many of the architects who went abroad to
study, came back in the 1930’s, when there were
roughly 200 active architects working locally. As
Bauhaus architecture developed its own local
style, the building surge provided much needed
work for many of the newcomers.
While the city’s beginnings are distinctly
separate from that of Jaffa, today Tel Aviv-Jaffa
is one municipality and although the city evolved
as a patchwork of neighborhoods, some of the basic
elements outlined in Geddes’ plan are still
clearly visible (see Finding Your Way around Tel