The Israeli Habitat: Neve Savyon Neighborhood, Or Yehuda

Neve Savyon is a neighborhood which belongs to the municipality of Or Yehuda, but in reality takes no part in the city. The neighborhood is new, planned as an autonomous unit, and separated from the greater city. Contrasting with Or Yehuda, which was established just after the states independence, and is home to an ethnically diverse population, Neve Savyon houses a mix of young couples and aging homeowners of predominantly European decent. Built in 90’s by three companies, including ‘Africa Israel’, the neighborhood was planned as a simple, schematic space, split by a green belt from north to south with a large photogenic park at its center. In this light it is not surprising that the new neighborhood with its modern towers, red roofed apartments, and quaint town homes, should attempt to detach itself from its surroundings.

Despite this, the planning vision only partly came to be, with the green belt cut by fences, roads and impassible traffic islands. Predictable, the neighborhood can be described as such, with no surprises and stark land use separation. While this planning apparently succeeded in creating a sense of security for the thousands of residents, it defined diversity as the principle enemy that threatens the habitat.

The residents made time to answer questions and expressed an overall appreciation for the aesthetics of the space; they did however admit that their relations with their neighbors and overall community were limited. Efforts by the residents to preserve homogeneity and unified society can be seen in a local disagreement over education and the direct link between school location, society and quality. In addition attempts to establish synagogues were blocked by residents, keeping with their overall secular tradition.

Citizens of greater Or Yehuda expressed a feeling of alienation and separation from the neighborhood. The differences between Neve Savyon and the city may be summarized elegantly, in the words of one of the residents, “Were all growing and growing fat, and that’s just fine.”

How to cite:
‘The Israeli Habitat: Neve Savyon Neighborhood, Or Yehuda’, Laboratory for Contemporary Urban Design,
Tel Aviv University, Israel, February 2011