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Planning & land use

Yael Dori
Urban planner

A million new homes – where and how?

Our advocacy is grounded in the reality that if Israel is to build a million new homes in the next twenty years – as politicians are now declaring - our children will be living in urbanized 'hardscapes' lacking in green open spaces and basic facilities like schools and public transport.  

Israel isn’t Alaska


"Political, social and economic demands for new housing are leading the current planning reforms. Unfortunately, planning authorities have jumped on the bandwagon and are fast dismantling carefully crafted national, regional and local zoning plans goods in order to deliver the goods," says Yael Dori, head of planning.

"We are dealing with massive legislative reforms every week in the Knesset and working hard to ensure that three ad hoc government committees understand the repercussions of their decisions. Israel isn't Alaska, we don't have a vast supply of untapped open spaces; we need to balance increased building density with community open spaces, infrastructure and municipal service if we are to avoid endless urban sprawl."


Israel land use in numbers:


90% of Israelis reside in the central area (40%) of Israel's total land reserves

Israel needs 1 million homes in the next 20 years

270,000 new homes could be built in central region without destroying urban green belts or rural open spaces

Wasteful emphasis on single unit 'suburban' housing over the last 15 years has depleted open spaces


Eli Ben-Ari, Adv
Senior attorney

Making our mark on the Knesset

Eli Ben-Ari, senior attorney with many years experience in land use and planning, patiently chips away at the most damaging proposals of planning laws now under review by the Knesset.


"A minor victory on our part can, in effect, make a huge impact on how planning decisions are made. We succeeded this month in persuading the Knesset committee that it is essential that local and regional planning committee members, at a minimum, have an opportunity to comprehend what they are voting for. By securing a clause in the law that prevents current practices of urban building plans being approved after a chat and a coffee, we are forcing planners to go through a professional, measured approval process that will avoid some of the planning disasters that we already have to live with."


Case in point: Slum prevention in Ramat Gan


We are all in favor of urban density, but not at any expense”, says Yael Dori, head of urban planning, following our recent victory in court which led to the cancellation of the building plans of the Ramat Gan Municipality.


Ramat Gan, bordering Tel Aviv’s eastern outskirts, already suffers from insufficient infrastructure, poor municipal services and a severe shortage of public open spaces. The quality of life of the city’s 145,000 residents is far below that of their Tel Aviv neighbors. The municipality set out to exploit the Master Plan #38 (earthquakes), which allows for increased housing units, without ensuring parallel public infrastructure, such as health, education and sanitation services, for the growing public.


“Reckless urban development is unacceptable. Urban renewal can only take place if the public’s needs are met, from parks to adequate parking spaces, from schools and community centers to health services and clinics. If we don’t plan responsibly, we will turn our cities into slums.” The court’s ruling, in the petition, filed by us on behalf of local residents, sends a clear message to the planning and building authorities to take into account the city’s capacity to provide fundamental public services.  

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