Jerusalem neighborhood approved on Ramat Rachel land

Jerusalem's Lower Viaduct neighborhood Photo: Ari Cohen Architects

The new south Jerusalem suburb called "The Lower Aqueduct" will have 1,215 housing units and 250 sheltered housing units.

The Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee has approved a plan to construct a residential neighborhood, to be called "The Lower Aqueduct", on the slopes of the hill on which stands the Ramat Rachel Hotel, west of the Tsur Baher neighborhood. Under the plan, 1,215 housing units and 250 sheltered housing units will be built. There will also be public buildings and open areas. The plan will now go to the Jerusalem District Planning Committee.

The plan covers an area of 186 dunams (46.5 acres) owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), private landowners, the Development Authority (absentees’ property), and "persons unknown." The plan, initiated by the Israel Land Authority, includes consolidation and division of land without the owners’ consent. At present, the land is part of the area of Kibbutz Ramat Rachel. Execution of the plan will involve annexing the area to the Jerusalem Municipality. The land is currently forested.

An urban nature survey carried out by Dr. Ron Frumkin found that there were 727 trees in the area covered by the plan, of which only 190 will survive. The area is described in the survey as "an open natural area with pine woods, an olive grove, and agricultural areas on which are cherry and apple orchards and other crops." The survey finds that "development of the neighborhood is in clear conflict with the natural and landscape value of the area."

Be that as it may, the plan is based on principles of conformity with the geomorphology of the area, preservation of the aqueduct, high-rise construction close to the light-rail line along Hebron Road, and connection to the environment.

The aqueduct in the plan’s name dates from the Hasmonean period. It carried water a distance of 23 kilometers from springs close to Bethlehem to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It was dubbed the lower aqueduct to distinguish it from the upper aqueduct that was built later, in the Roman period. That too supplied water to Jerusalem from springs in the Bethlehem area, but traversed a higher contour.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 9, 2022.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.

Jerusalem's Lower Viaduct neighborhood Photo: Ari Cohen Architects
Jerusalem's Lower Viaduct neighborhood Photo: Ari Cohen Architects
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