Spatial Planning and Policy in Israel

The Cases of Netanya and Umm al-Fahm

image of Spatial Planning and Policy in Israel

This report examines spatial planning and policies in Israel. It describes the laws, policies and practices in the country as a whole, and provides a detailed assessment of arrangements and practices in two cities: Netanya, a fast-growing city on the Mediterranean coast; and Umm al-Fahm, the country’s third-largest city with a predominantly Arab population. Israel recently carried out a major reform of its land-use planning system, largely to address a housing shortage that has become critical. Detailed case studies highlight the trends and challenges faced in both cities and describe how policies designed at the national level affect local land-use issues. The report offers recommendations on how to strengthen the effectiveness of the spatial planning system and related policies to ensure that land is used in an effective and sustainable way.



Executive summary

In 2011, hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the streets to protest the rising cost of living. Real house prices and rental prices had been increasing steadily and rapidly: 80% and almost 40%, respectively, between 2008 and 2016. In comparison, real average wages rose by less than 4% over the same period. The surge in housing prices had been driven in part by slow and rigid regulatory procedures that had not allowed the housing supply to keep up with the strong demand. The accumulated housing shortfall was estimated at 100 000 residential units with the expectation of a further increase as the population grew.


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