The Gazelle Valley Park is an urban wilderness, an open space at the heart of Jerusalem, Israel, on the edge of the Givat Mordechai neighbourhood, opposite the busy Pat Intersection. It is named after a herd of seventeen gazelles that lived in this area, bounded by urban development and major transport routes. The population of gazelles was in danger due to this massive urban development.
In the early 1990s, real estate developers applied for building permits in the area. Local activists supported by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) fought to preserve the site as a natural oasis and turn it into an urban nature park.
After lengthy court battles that ended in the activists’ victory, the building plans were rejected. An alternative plan for the nature park was created by the local activists, as part of a unique public planning process. The plan was presented to the municipal authorities, who then decided to accept the idea and turn it into an operative planning process.
Our firm and the landscape architecture firm Rachelle Wiener Landscape & Architecture were appointed as designers and leaders of the planning team.
In January 2013 work began on the park, which is described as Israel’s first urban wild nature reserve.The highlights of the park will be a herd of about thirty wild gazelles, which roam freely throughout the grounds in a natural setting. The design is orientated towards ecology, seeking to enhance and improve the existing ecological system. It includes five natural and man-made ponds, based on the existing drainage water system that flows through the park.
To accommodate visitors, the design offers a series of viewing points for observing the variety of natural wildlife that inhabits the park, an entrance building, a parking lot and a plaza, a new visitor and research centre, and a manmade island.
Design | Weinstein Vaadia Architects in collaboration with Rachelle Wiener – Architecture & Landscape Design
Architect incharge | Dahan Noam
Area | 260 dunams
Completion | Phase 1:2015 Phase 2: 2017
Photographs | Amit Geron, Amir Balaban & Rachelle Wiener