Israel's streams including those passing through urban areas have been subjected to many years of abuse. Streambeds in Israeli cities have been disregarded or treated as a nuisance or even as a hazard. When crossing through municipal districts, they have been regarded as a risk to municipal infrastructures because of their flood potential, possible health hazards or other forms of damage. Urban watercourses tended to become contaminated with toxic substances and wastes. Attempts to control such "risks", through regulation has either damaged or altogether eliminated their natural and scenic values. The result has been that Israel's cities lost a central asset, which has instead become a neglected "back alley".
A recent and welcome change of attitude to streambeds by Israeli authorities can now be seen both in planning policies and implementation. However, the attentions of Israeli authorities has mainly focused on the management of streambeds flowing through open landscapes, whereas urban stream issues have largely been ignored.
The present study provides a review of the conflicts that arise around the interface of the stream and the city and presents updated approaches from around the world on the planning of urban watercourses. Additionally, it offers recommendations for formulating a comprehensive policy for the planning of watercourses in urban environments.