Hopefully, PT readers are following my exploration of Tel Aviv’s White City on Instagram. As mentioned in the leading post above, this historic neighbourhood shares a lot of characteristics with others of its ilk:
Mid-century modernist beachfront neighbourhoods have an eclectic combo of dense housing, a mix of uses, unique businesses all kinds of restaurants, stirred together with social tolerance. There’s often a gay village embedded within.
They were often the first suburbs of rapidly expanding cities or linear developments strung along beaches, a few blocks deep, served initially by streetcars and transit with limited parking. Like Ipanema in Rio, like Miami Beach in Florida, like Venice in California.
They’ll have their beachfront attractions, of course, but usually a block in or leading perpendicularly from the waterfront will be a commercial street cluttered with restaurants and shops, still served by the transit that shaped them Think Denman and Davie.
They’ve had their up and downs, starting off as attractive middle- and upper-class developments, sometimes as beachfront escapes, sometimes as single-family speculative real estate, sometimes as apartment districts and then gone into decline in the early 20th century until after World War II. Like the West End, some were largely bulldozed and replaced with higher density rental apartments, some were simply passed by – until rediscovered in the late 20th century and then increasingly gentrified in the 21st.
What shall we call these districts?
Despite their variations, they share enough in common to have a generic name. MiCe,Hi-Di-on-the-beach. Okay, not that one. But help us out.
Scot and I have been developing a list. Here’s what we have so far:
- White City – Tel Aviv
- West End and Kitsilano – Vancouver
- Santa Monica and Venice Beach – Los Angeles
Ipanema and Cocacabana – Rio
Miami Beach – Florida
Sea Point – Cape Town
St. Kilda – Melbourne
Potts Point and Bondi – Sydney
- Oriental Bay – Wellington
- Surfers Paradise – near Brisbane
Waikiki – Hawaii
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