In the western part of Haifa, there are many ephemeral streams. Every winter season, with great intensity and impressive volume, the streams fill with water and provide a rare glimpse into a wilder nature. The beneficiaries of the flow of these streams on colder days and the beauty of the wadis on warmer days are the residents of the neighborhoods situated higher up the mountain – “The Carmel Neighborhood”. However, when the streams reach neighborhoods on the lower part of the mountain, they are led into underground pipes and the water is then directed straight into the sea. The regulation and concealment of streams represent one of many phenomena that demonstrate the escalating environmental and social injustice in this area.
The project aims to rehabilitate the natural system of the ephemeral streams on Haifa’s western slopes, as a basis for a stable society and community, and as a solution to decades of environmental injustices. The stream, a linear form that links the mountain to the sea, provides the residents of nearby neighborhoods with an opportunity to revive “the extinct natural experience” deeply embedded in the soil – far from the eye and the heart. The stream environment would serve as a blue-green infrastructure that provides “ecosystem services” – regulating services (flood protection, decreased urban heat island effects, and reduced air pollution), provisioning services (fruit to eat), and cultural services (recreation, leisure, and vacation areas). The project proposes a new view of the areas on the lower part of the mountain and its stream estuaries in relation to society and the community. It posits the possibility that they become significant urban generators.
The project takes three nearby streams as case studies. These streams mark the entrance to the city of Haifa and the coastal neighborhoods – Nahal Ezov, Nahal Siach, and Nahal Amik. By exposing the natural water processes of these streams and integrating them into one system, the project suggests a new way of looking at the area, as an interface of stream-sea-people, and encourages planners to find the highs of the lows.