Schipper, Sebastian. “Towards a ‘Post-Neoliberal’ Mode of Housing Regulation? The Israeli Social Protest of Summer 2011.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (early view; online first).
In the summer of 2011, after decades of virtually uncontested neoliberalization, Israel was swept by unprecedented protests against the rising cost of living, social inequality and, most particularly, escalating housing prices. Within two weeks, a small protest camp established on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv had grown into a mass movement involving hundreds of thousands of people across the country. Given an ambivalent sense of the significance of urban movements in bringing about social change, the aim of this article is to analyze whether the Israeli social protest was able to push forward a post-neoliberal mode of housing regulation. Building on a framework developed by Brenner, Peck and Theodore to grasp transformations in the landscape of regulatory restructuring, this article argues that the movement has indeed achieved a far-reaching hegemonic shift in public discourse and also become an important driver in promoting regulatory experiments. Despite its achievements, however, the movement was unable to challenge the Israeli ‘rule regime’ of neoliberalization, on account of two structural constraints that were shielded by the most powerful state apparatuses: the commodity character of housing; and a neoliberalized land regime, where state-owned land is treated as a profit machine for public finance.
This research proposes and examines a new measure for assessing the state of housing affordability inequality. We employ a large micro-level data set by which we estimate and evaluate the time-varying housing affordability inequality in Israel over the period 1992–2011. Results show that our developed housing affordability inequality Gini coefficient has considerably increased in the past decade. Moreover, controlling for changes in net income inequality and macroeconomic conditions, housing affordability inequality is found to positively correlate with average housing prices (computed in net income terms). Outcomes are robust to the alternative Atkinson inequality index. Furthermore, our method allows for an examination of segmentation in housing affordability. We find that segmentation particularly prevails across household head’s gender, family status, working status, the number of income providers in the household and household geographical residence. Research outcomes may direct policymakers in designing policies aiming to reduce inequality and segmentation in housing affordability.
Tamari, Shlomit, Rachel Katoshevski, Yuval Karplus, and Steven C. Dinero. “Urban Tribalism: Negotiating Form, Function and Social Milieu in Bedouin Towns, Israel.” City, Territory and Architecture 3.2 (2016): 14pp.
Historically, the tribe was a central pillar of Bedouin society. Recently, the forcibly resettled-Bedouin of Israel’s Negev Desert have experienced profound socio-economic transition and change in addition to spatial relocation. This paper offers a critical examination of the manner in which the tribe has served to inform top-down State-led urban planning, resettlement and housing policies while remaining a vital aspect of Bedouin life. We suggest that in an ironic twist, these policies have generated a new form of urban tribalism that challenges the development of a “modern,” “western” social fabric and practices of citizenship as initially envisioned by State officials.
Gonen, Amiram. “Widespread and Diverse Forms of Gentrification in Israel.” In Global Gentrifications: Uneven Development and Displacement (ed. Loretta Lees,Hyun Bang Shin,and Ernesto Lopez-Morales; Bristol, UK and Chicago, IL: Policy Press, 2015): 143-63.
My ongoing observations over the last three decades on patterns of gentrification in Israeli inner cities, suburban towns and rural communities have led me to view gentrification from a different geographical perspective to the one shared by many Western researchers writing on gentrification. Research on gentrification originated in the heart of some Western cities and, therefore, gentrification was often characterised as primarily an inner-urban phenomenon. It was first observed and defined in an academic fashion in inner London and subsequently studied in the 1980s and early 1990s in the inner city of some North American and British cities. Indeed, the settling of middle class households in lower-social class neighbourhoods of the inner city has achieved sizeable proportions in Western cities since the 1970s.
The Israeli experience raises the issue of the need to widen the scope of the term ‘gentrification’ beyond lower-class neighbourhoods. This definitional widening is especially relevant to middle-class neighbourhoods in the inner city that have undergone some social downscaling, later reversed due to the return of middle-class households. I suggest that this return of such neighbourhoods to being again solidly middle-class areas should be included within the definition of gentrification as a special category of ‘regentrification’, added to the one proposed as ‘supergentrification’ for the further gentrification of already-gentrified neighbourhoods by the very rich global elites.
Sayag, Doron, and Noam Zussman. “The Distribution of Rental Assistance Between Tenants and Landlords: The Case of Students in Central Jerusalem.” Discussion Paper No. 2015.1 (February 2015), Bank of Israel Research Department(41 pp).
Students living in rental apartments in central Jerusalem were provided grants in 2006–11, in order to encourage urban renewal. This led to a marked increase in the number of students in the area. This study examined the distribution of the benefit between the tenants and the landlords. It relied predominantly on rental advertisements as well as actual rents from 2000–2012, and on administrative data of the rent paid by grant recipients. The research method was based on hedonic estimations of the rent using a difference-in-differences method—the rent in the center of the city during the grants period compared with the periods before and after, vis-à-vis that difference in similar neighborhoods (including adjacent to the city center) during those periods. The research indicates—subject to the assumption that actual rents and prices quoted in rental notices moved together—that in the periods around the start of the grant program and around its cancellation, the share of the grants reaching the recipients’ landlords ranged from one-fifth to two-fifths. The grants led to an increase in rents in the center of the city for nonrecipients as well, so that the overall additional rent is equivalent to four-fifths of the grant amounts. These rates are within the broad range of findings worldwide.
Doron, Guy. Is Empowerment of Disadvantaged Populations Achievable through Housing Policies? A Study of the Impact of Social Housing on the Empowerment of the Poor in Israel, PhD Thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science, 2015.
This research project investigates whether the empowerment of Israel’s population — and in particular those who suffer multiple disadvantages — is achievable through housing policies and whether successive Israeli administrations have helped or hindered this process. The research focuses on communities in publicly-subsidised areas during social housing programmes. The housing programmes analysed in this research were: The Demolish and Rebuild Programme, which represents a top-down process, implemented with little residents’ involvement. Neighbourhood Renewal, which was a programme that formally offered partnership, giving residents partial share in decision-making. Finally, Right to Buy represented a resident-led partnership, in which residents felt empowered to overcome their own disadvantaged conditions by taking a leading role in transforming housing policy. The database complementing this research was compiled, in part, from 91 in-depth interviews with residents, policy makers and officials representing these three programmes. It is a unique aspect of this research, as it draws on perspectives about participation from those who have not necessarily had an opportunity to express an opinion before, and communicates a variety of views regarding the projects and residents’ participation in them. This study focuses on how it actually affects people and can even create behavioural change among those who are normally considered dependent. Another exceptional and distinctive factor provided by this research is its analysis of empowerment in the social and political context of Israel. By analysing the Israeli case, this research will contribute both to international knowledge and academic scholarship, highlight the conditions of an individual state and generate an original and provocative narrative. The issue of participation and empowerment in a society so riven with political, social, religious and ethnic tensions is particularly important. Learning from the Israeli experience has the potential to promote understanding of empowerment under pressure. Empowerment related to social housing policy is distinctive in Israel because housing is synonymous with security. Housing is more than a cultural issue, since in Israel owning a property is a matter of security. Another key feature is the focal role of central government which determines almost every aspect in the shaping of social and housing policy. Also critical is the influence of national politics on local decision-making. In Israel the political agenda is based upon bilateralism and the demographic dispersal of population across the state’s formal and informal borders. Empowerment is a complex term. This research, however, explores examined and evidenced empowerment using just two main features: examination of residents’ participation; and evaluation of public policy towards resident participation. This research offers a unique view on empowerment within social housing policies that are subject to multiple pressures, and offers interpretations that could be usefully applied to issues of empowerment in other pressure scenarios.
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