Shortlisted in Infrastructure Projects 2023:

The Kishon Meander Park (Naftul HaKishon) by

2023 Infrastructure / Israel / Built in 2021 /

The Kishon is a 70 km long river in northern Israel, which serves as a big drainage basin (over an area of 1100, that drains into the Mediterranean Sea at Haifa Bay. In its lower parts, the river is canaled in a technical straitened canal, reducing habitats and unsupportive for the ecosystem.

Since the 1930’s many industry plants were located near the river estuary discharging contaminated wastewater into it, causing a layer of heavy metals, hydrocarbon, ammonia etc. at the rivers bottom, killing the whole ecosystem. For many years this area has been known to be one of the most polluted in Israel.

In addition, as many other major coastal rivers, the Kishon requires regular maintenance to remove sediments in order to prevent floods. These works couldn’t be done due to the polluted toxic ground.

The main concept was that a solution for these two issues must take place where the problems where created, without moving the problem somewhere else, while creating extra air pollution in the process. The solutions found in this project, combined engineering, ecology, hydrology and landscape architecture.

In 2013 the rehabilitation operations started, with full engagement of the landscape architects in charge.

The first stage included gentle digging of 450,000 cubic meter of toxic sludge, with hydraulic dredging, taking it out without letting it flow away, moving it with hermetic floating pipes to a site at the river side, where it was treated biologically. The purified water was returned to the river, the purified ground was pilled to be the base of the topography forms in the park.

At the same time a second canal was excavated from the other side of the working site. This canal allowed water to flow freely while the main river canal was under treatment, designed to be meandering and shallow, maximizing structural complexity for recreating a verity of habitats. The meandering canal borders the park and gave it its name: “The Kishon Meander Park”

The second stage included forming three hills and the second canal banks started in 2016. The hills were seeded with oat seeds to prevent erosion, and later on the first hill was planted with about 1000 trees, to grow, shade the park and clean the air. The canal banks were planted with native endangered species, providing food and shelter to native and migrating birds, fish, amphibians and turtles that started showing up again as soon as the ground and water were improved.

In a slow process, one step at a time a circular hiking trail was paved around the artificial island, shadings were installed allowing educational activities and providing views to Haifa Bay and mt. Carmel.

This artificial landscape form was built to deal with a technical issue. The park with its many ecological and social benefits is a positive “bonus” that shows how things can work together and achieve a “win win” situation.   

The big challenge was working with what there was, even when there wasn’t a lot, and create a thriving welcoming park. Solving problems in the place they were created, can lead to unique solutions.

In this aspect- a word about the pergolas: they were based on the former constructions of the centrifuges, which have been left on site after using them in the purification stages. 

In future years we hope to complete planting the two other hills, develop more trails and picnic areas and open this unique place to the public to enjoy and learn.

Location: . HaAshlag 27, Haifa, Israel

Design year: 2012-2018

Year Completed: 2021 (more development phases in the future)


LILA 2023 Sponsor