This research presents the main results of tendering bus services in Israel from 2000 to 2014. The article discusses the impact of different tender characteristics on reform results in general, and in Israel, in particular. The article also examines the reform’s impact on the quality of government regulation of public bus services. Since many countries are facing issues related to bus service regulation, the issues discussed in this article, combined with the Israeli experience in this field, are likely to be relevant to other countries in which similar reforms have been implemented.
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.
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.
Street patterns of Israeli cities were investigated by comparing three time periods of urban development: (I) the late 19th century until the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948; (II) 1948 until the 1980s; and (III) the late 1980s until the present. These time periods are related respectively to the pre-modern, modern and late-modern urban planning approach. Representative urban street networks were examined in selected cities by means of morphological analysis of typical street pattern properties: curvature, fragmentation, connectivity, continuity and differentiation. The study results reveal significant differences between the street patterns of the three examined periods in the development of cities in Israel. The results show clearly the gradual trends in the intensification of curvature, fragmentation, complexity and hierarchical organization of street networks as well as the weakening of the network’s internal and external connectivity. The implications of these changes on connectivity and spatial integration are discussed with respect to planning approaches.
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.
This study analyzes metropolitan dynamics in a small country with an “island state” context of closed boundaries, using commuting data and mobile phone tracking data. We examine whether the Israeli context encourages the formation of a monocentric “metropolitan state,” characterized by increasing links between localities throughout the country and its principal metropolitan node (Tel Aviv)—rather than with secondary metropolitan areas—and by fuzzy, overlapping metropolitan boundaries. Commuting data from the 1995 and 2008 censuses show that metropolitan expansion processes in Israel are gradual. Mobile phone tracking data for 2013 reveal similar patterns, confirming the urban structure’s stability and the reliability of tracking data as a means of assessing metropolitan processes. The “island state” context supports growing monocentricity, but, when it comes to commuting and travel for other purposes, Israel is not yet a metropolitan state; metropolitan boundaries are not as fuzzy and rapidly changing as expected.
This study examines the role of two urban area types – traditional and contemporary – with regard to pedestrian movement volume and distribution. This study focuses on four dimensions of urban areas which have potential influence on pedestrian movement: (i) a spatial dimension based on road network structure; (ii) a functional dimension of land uses such as retail fronts; (iii) a physical dimension of road sections; and (iv) a demographic dimension of population and employment densities. Four research areas in Tel Aviv are examined and each of these areas is divided to two adjacent sub-areas — a traditional sub-area and a contemporary one. The aim is to clarify: (i) the character of urban areas that were created following different urban design paradigms; (ii) the relative contribution of the spatial, functional, physical and demographic dimensions to pedestrian movement in urban areas of different types. The findings show significant differences between adjacent traditional and contemporary sub-areas. Specifically, traditional sub-areas have higher levels of spatial connectivity and retail fronts distribution as well as higher pedestrian movement volume. The spatial dimension has the strongest overall connection to pedestrian movement, and particularly for traditional sub-areas, while the physical dimension has the strongest connection to pedestrian movement for the contemporary sub-areas.
The association between spatial patterns of retail activity and the spatial configuration of street networks was examined by means of the space syntax methodology in eight Israeli cities that represent two city types, characterized by different planning approaches and urban growth: (i) new towns, which were established according to a comprehensive city plan and modern planning concepts of “tree-like” hierarchical street networks and “neighborhood units”; (ii) older cities, where street networks and the spatial patterns of retail activity were formed incrementally during their growth. Unlike in older cities, retail activity in new towns concentrates in relatively less-accessible and intermediate locations. This is indicated by a weak correlation between retail activity and the street network’s Integration and Choice centrality measures. The comparison between Israeli cities illustrates the influence of urban growth and planning approaches on the formation of retail activity and its interaction with the structure of the street network.
In this paper, I qualitatively examine the rise and possible fall of statutory district plans as a major tool of regional planning in Israel. Rigid statutory regional plans are a top-down means, and the Israeli case demonstrates that their days are not necessarily over in an era of ‘soft spaces’ and complex governance networks. The swing of the pendulum in attitudes toward these plans is not associated with centralization–decentralization trends. Rather, it reflects power relations between two centralized coalitions of stakeholders. The one led by elected politicians favors proactive-developmental goals, aiming at state-led open-ended or non-statutory planning. The other coalition, led by central state bureaucrats, favors strict regulation. NGOs, assumed to form the core of soft horizontal governance networks, paradoxically support top-down ‘hard’ modes of regional planning, in the name of environmental sustainability that is not necessarily best served by bottom-up soft approaches.
Omer, Itzhak, Yodan Rofè, and Yoav Lerman. “The Impact of Planning on Pedestrian Movement: Contrasting Pedestrian Movement Models in Pre-Modern and Modern Neighborhoods in Israel.” International Journal of Geographical Information Science (early view; online first).
Most pedestrian movement volume models were constructed for urban areas that developed on the basis of pre-modern planning. In this paper, we confront neighborhoods that were built upon modern planning doctrines, combining the functional hierarchy of streets with the neighborhood unit concept, with neighborhoods that developed from pre-modem non-hierarchical street-based planning. We use space syntax analysis to investigate how their street network’s structural attributes interact with pedestrian movement distribution. The investigation was conducted in 14 neighborhoods from 4 cities in Israel by examining the correlation of observed pedestrian volume with models using different axial- and segment-based topological, angular, and metric syntactic attributes across different radii (scales). The results indicate that the street network and the distribution of pedestrian movement interact differently in the two neighborhood types. In pre-modern neighborhoods: (i) there is significantly more walking; (ii) the street network’s syntactic attributes tend to be much more consistent in their correlation with pedestrian volume across all scales; (iii) the correlation of pedestrian volume with these attributes and with commerce is relatively high; and (iv) pedestrian movement distribution is more predictable. We relate these differences to the absence of a self-organized circular causality between street network structure, commerce, and movement in modern planned neighborhoods.
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.
This paper develops a more diverse and multi-dimensional agenda for understanding and researching urban verticality. In particular, it argues for vertical geographies that encompass more than issues of security and segregation and are not necessarily framed by the three-dimensional politics of Israel/Palestine identified by some commentators. In opening up a wider world of vertical urbanisms, the paper outlines three key approaches: close attention to where urban verticality is theorised and the relationship between power and height, the importance of ethnographic detail to emphasise more everyday verticalities and disrupt top-down analytical perspectives, and geographical imaginations that carefully attend to the myriad spatial entanglements of the three-dimensional city.
Advocating research of the “ethnographic present,” the article portrays the recent evolvement of two constituencies in Israeli urban society conceived as new socio-economic-cultural and spatial social “banks”: Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia residing in ethnically segregated urban neighborhoods; the gradual concentration in Tel Aviv’s downtown neighborhoods of authorized and undocumented labor migrants from Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan. It reports on the growing protest by local Israeli residents, the government’s efforts to limit the presence of “uninvited strangers,” as well as the active response of the unwelcome aliens. I posit that the emergence of these new ethnic enclaves converges with other critical changes in Israeli institutional life. Major transformations in the texture and tenets of Israeli citizenry, its spatial construction and national identity are steadily progressing.
Weil, Gilad and Noam Levin. “Can Siting Algorithms Assist in Prioritizing for Conservation in a Densely Populated and Land Use Allocated Country? – Israel as a Case Study.” Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution 61.1 (2015): 50-60.
Over the years, Israel’s centralized national planning framework and the intense competition on the limited available land played a crucial factor in designing the spatial distribution of the protected areas in Israel. When examining the spatial properties of the protected areas, it was found that they do not adequately represent the variety of the ecosystems in Israel. According to the systematic conservation planning approach, we aimed to examine how optimization algorithms (e.g., MARXAN) would inform us on high priority areas for conservation. We created proxies for anthropogenic disturbance, and for the susceptibility of designating new protected areas subject to existing national and regional land use master plans. Our conservation targets were defined on the basis of the spatial distribution of 461 endangered vertebrate and plant species (red species), as well as by defining and mapping 21 main ecosystems. The results highlight the limited options of significantly improving the representativeness provided by the existing protected areas, due to the diminishing availability of open areas, which may be available to be designated as protected areas. However, the results also emphasize the conservation potential of agricultural land, as well as the need for preserving small and fragmented rare habitats.
Balslev, Yaron Jørgen, Oded Potchter, and Andreas Matzarakis. “Climatic and Thermal Comfort Analysis of the Tel-Aviv Geddes Plan: A Historical Perspective.” Building and Environment 93.2 (2015): 302-18.
This paper examines how the first urban plan of Tel-Aviv (the Geddes Plan of 1925)  affected outdoor human thermal comfort in two periods: at the time of its implementation (1920–1930s) and in the present day (2010s). Additionally, this paper questions which of the two – shade or wind velocity – has greater influence on outdoor thermal sensation in the urban areas along the Israeli Mediterranean seashore. In order to examine the thermal sensation at street level during the 1920s and 1930s, a series of summer and winter climatological measurements were taken in the years 2010–2013 and compared to historical climatic data from the 1920s–1930s. The historical city structure was then reconstructed virtually and the climatological measurements for 2010–2013 were fed into the RayMan model to produce thermal comfort information (PET, Physiologically Equivalent Temperature). A main finding of the study is that in summer the duration of “hot” and “very hot” heat stress was double in eastwest oriented streets compared to north–south ones. Furthermore, in the winter, higher H/W ratios can increase cold thermal sensation in streets with the same orientation by up to 10 °C PET, due to shading. Finally, the results show that solar radiation has a greater effect on thermal sensation than wind velocity both in summer and winter seasons. Consequently, the Geddes Plan created improved thermal sensation in the main streets of Tel-Aviv, which are north–south oriented, and provided for greatly improved micro-climate conditions, in spite of the critique that Tel-Aviv “turned its back to the sea”.
The paper deals with the Crete Development Plan, prepared in the mid-1960s by a team of Israeli and Greek planners and funded by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in the context of post-Second World War development. It discusses the export of professional knowledge in the micro-/macro-political contexts of national and international processes. Analysis of controversies within the Israeli team draws attention to incongruities and dissonances between regional concepts and their applications. It emphasizes how professionals interested in democratic and participatory processes used data sources to guide implementation, but also had to rely on mediated information, were removed from actual decision-making and thus were not directly responsible for the implementation of such decisions. The paper highlights the political role of expertise in post-Second World War development, and the ambivalent position of international experts serving both their countries’ and their own professional goals.
In the 1970s, while the rest of the world was undergoing recession, vast economic growth in Iran, leading to fast urbanization, generated a growing international building market in which Israeli construction firms and architects also participated, benefiting from the good bilateral relationships at the time. To examine the experience of Israeli architects working in Iran and how it influenced their professional practice, this paper focuses on two projects planned and built simultaneously by Israeli teams. The Navy project was comprised of three massive housing estates and public amenities for the Iranian Navy’s troops and families on the coast of the Persian Gulf. The Eskan Towers in Tehran was a complex of residential luxury towers and a commercial centre catering for the Iranian elite. Review of these cases indicates that national knowledge was not always the basis for transnational planning, and that the international arena itself became the source of knowledge and flow. In the Navy project, the architect derived his ideas from professional practices acquired back home, while in the Eskan Towers project the team was confronted with the free-market economy and a globalized practice.
The land narrative tells the unique story of Israel’s national land policy. Its historical and ideological roots are in the early 1900s, when the Zionist movement and the Jewish National Fund were founded, but it continues to influence spatial policy and land allocation in Israel today. The land narrative is based on the distinction between the urban sector and the rural-agricultural sector and on the clear preference—at least at the ideological level—for the rural-agricultural sector. However, despite the decision-makers’ clear preference for the members of the cooperative and communal rural sector, over time the urban residents’ have received more land rights de facto. This study provides an explanation of this dissonance by exploring the land narrative, examines its broad implications for Israeli society, and discusses its future implications.
Founded primarily by Jewish-American immigrants after the 1973 Arab–Israeli war, Efrat has emerged as one of the most highly recognizable settlements in the occupied territories. Drawing on archival materials, the periodical press, and interviews never before brought to light, this article both explores the untold history of this ‘city on a hilltop’ as the product of a quadrilateral relationship between American–Israelis, the Israeli government, the native Israeli settler movement, and local Palestinian communities, as well as reconstructing the discourses in the making of Efrat, which combine religio-political imperatives alongside a deeply Americanized vision of building new, utopian, suburbanized communities in the occupied territories, during its formative years between 1973 and 1987.