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Architecture and Urban Planning - A Memoir \ David Best
IV 1980 - 1990
Arad- Chalamish New Neighborhood
I started to plan the first neighbourhood in Arad in 1966.  The second followed a few years later.  Different architects planned two more neighbourhoods.  When the time came to plan the fifth Quarter called Chalamish, in 1982, the Ministry of Housing again turned to me.  Bieger Shochat, who had been the chief engineer of the Solel Boneh contsruction firm during the planning of the Ye'elim neighbourhood, and the town’s chief engineer when I planned Avishur, was now the Mayor of Arad.  It was always a pleasure to work with such a planning minded person as Bieger Shochat, and I commenced my work with renewed enthusiasm for a town with which I had been involved from its inception.  In the meantime a new policy in the Israeli National Education system had taken place, requiring an increase in the size of neighbourhoods from 800 families to 1500; this was due partly to the change over to the Comprehensive School system.  But apart from this, during the intervening years, since my previous planning work in Arad, I had developed new ideas concerning the structural form of neighborhood design, particularly its urban geometry. The patterns of vehicular and pedestrian movement, the layout of buildings, and the spaces that they enclosed and the implied social implications of these fundamental determenents I believed required a more thougher investigation.  During the years between 1965 and 1980, I had been able to observe the way resident used the different types of settlements that I had planned.

     This new site consisted of two ridges converging at the point where the Chalamish neighbourhood met the adjacent one of Tlalim at a juncture in the Town Centre.  A valley bisected the site from east to west cutting the area in to two roughly triangularly shapes.  The site however consisted geographically of three distinct zones: - The top part of ridges;-, where the slopes were gentle but exposed to winds and generally very sensitive to seasonal changes. - The slopes towards the valley, where the ground was relatively steeper but had some protection from the winds and was warmer in winter. - The lower slopes adjacent to the valley floor itself, which were too steep for regular types of building and although protected from the winds were sensitive to frost in winter.  

    The basic concept of my plan for the neighbourhood assumed the form of a horseshoe shape of housing located on the high land with the spine of public institutions accompanying the main pedestrian route in the valley.  The three residential sub-units were located on the hill to the south, on the ridge to the north and at the point where the two ridges met at the head of the valley on the east.  Each sub-neighbourhood had its own network of service and parking roads and local public services, and was directly connected to the small commercial centre and main pedestrian route.  Each housing group was organized around its own public open spaces whose form derived from the characteristics of each unit's topographical conditions.

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