Street patterns of Israeli cities were investigated by comparing three time periods of urban development: (I) the late 19th century until the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948; (II) 1948 until the 1980s; and (III) the late 1980s until the present. These time periods are related respectively to the pre-modern, modern and late-modern urban planning approach. Representative urban street networks were examined in selected cities by means of morphological analysis of typical street pattern properties: curvature, fragmentation, connectivity, continuity and differentiation. The study results reveal significant differences between the street patterns of the three examined periods in the development of cities in Israel. The results show clearly the gradual trends in the intensification of curvature, fragmentation, complexity and hierarchical organization of street networks as well as the weakening of the network’s internal and external connectivity. The implications of these changes on connectivity and spatial integration are discussed with respect to planning approaches.
The association between spatial patterns of retail activity and the spatial configuration of street networks was examined by means of the space syntax methodology in eight Israeli cities that represent two city types, characterized by different planning approaches and urban growth: (i) new towns, which were established according to a comprehensive city plan and modern planning concepts of “tree-like” hierarchical street networks and “neighborhood units”; (ii) older cities, where street networks and the spatial patterns of retail activity were formed incrementally during their growth. Unlike in older cities, retail activity in new towns concentrates in relatively less-accessible and intermediate locations. This is indicated by a weak correlation between retail activity and the street network’s Integration and Choice centrality measures. The comparison between Israeli cities illustrates the influence of urban growth and planning approaches on the formation of retail activity and its interaction with the structure of the street network.