KIRYAT GAT | ISRAEL
Photo Courtesy Kiryat Gat Municipality
PROTOTYPE : ADJACENT
Overall area: 16.3 km2
Area: Approx. 6 km2
Program: High-tech and heavy industry
Urban form: Residential and industrial fabrics, separated by railroad tracks
Industrial typologies: Diversity of industries and sizes, ranging from small manufacturing facilities to large enclosed campuses
Largest employers: Intel (3,500 employees), HP Indigo (600 employees), Sugat Sugar (300 employees)
Kiryat Gat is home to one of the largest manufacturing plants for Intel, one of many high-tech firms fueling an industrial revival in the city. Production has played a vital role in the economy of this city since its beginnings as an Israeli New Town in the 1950s. Threat of economic decline in the 1980s prompted government incentives to encourage foreign investment shifting Kiryat Gat’s manufacturing portfolio from sugar and textiles to advanced production, including companies besides Intel, as Hitachi, Zenith Solar, and HP-Indigo.
Despite its influence on the overall economy, industrial manufacturing remains spatially removed from the rest of the city. A pattern of single-purpose zoning reflects a distinct separation between residential neighborhoods to the west and industrial development to the east.
Kiryat Gat’s development pattern is bifurcated, with relatively dense, mostly-residential neighborhoods juxtaposed with a distinctly-industrial zone. This divide is also reflected in the city’s socio-economic landscape: to the west, a variety of neighborhoods are home to diverse communities which reflect a broad range of socio-economic conditions, but these communities have benefited little from the amenities in the industrial zone.
Many neighborhoods face high unemployment and a high proportion of residents receiving public assistance. In the eastern half of the city, industrial employees lack a connection to Kiryat Gat’s city center and companies have relied on enclosed campuses to service employees; the majority of these workers live outside of Kiryat Gat and commute to the city by car.
Located 50 kilometers south of Tel Aviv and 40 kilometers north of Be’er Sheva, Kiryat Gat is surrounded by open, arid land devoted to agriculture production and wildlife preserves. Despite these natural surroundings, the Lachish Stream, which traverses the town, and the highways to the north and west, act as buffers, barring residents and workers from the immediate assets of the region.
Currently, there is a single direct connection, the Israel Polak Boulevard, between downtown Kiryat Gat and the industrial zone with scant pedestrian activity between the two.