The new towns of Israel: Origins, development and implementation

Towler, Kirsty E. (1979) The new towns of Israel: Origins, development and implementation. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Israel is not generally perceived as a highly urbanized country yet 86% of its population now live in urban areas. The dominance of the anti-city Zionist ideology of the pre-1948 pioneers stressing the value of rural society and agricultural labout overshadowed the reality of urban development and growth. Shortly after independence, demographic and defense pressures necessitated a policy for population dispersal and immigrant absorption. The dispersal of population policy utilized two approaches namely the creation of new towns and to a lesser degree the establishment of rural settlements. The new towns have been described as 'planted* or 'administered' communities because of the highly centralized, externally imposed and paternalistic style of planning and administration. They were conceived of as regional, urban service centres in their respective rural areas. Primary emphasis was upon settlement, with economic goals and social planning as secondary considerations. The policy of rapid urbanization led to a very rapid filling-up of the country especially in the first 10 years. Thirty new towns were created. The growth of the Tel Aviv area has been limited and its share of the national population reduced. The urban hierarchy was modified by the creation of intermediate sized settlements and in general, the policy of population dispersal has been a significant accomplishment. But there are problems and failures. Many of the planned new towns are neither economically nor socially viable. Many are too small and too few have acquired urban characteristics or become regional centres as intended. Economic benefits have lagged despite tax benefits, loans, grants, and other fiscal incentives. Too great an emphasis on spatial and physical development, on the rapid settlement of people without providing for economic and social infrastructure has generated an exodus of the younger, more upwardly mobile, able and energetic residents. Those left behind in the towns are the least able to cope with the difficulties. The vast majority of the outmigrants have left the new towns which had been assigned to them, despite their ineligibility for housing and employment assistance in their next community. The volume of the exodus is testimony to the perception by many of the unsuitability of the new towns. In spite of the apparent shortcomings, little remedial action has been taken to rectify the situation. Since the mid-1960's no new towns have been founded and apart from one notable though unfinished study there has been no significant large scale research initiated by the Israeli Government into the present state of the towns. This study suggests that by recognising the deficiencies and by adopting measures to overcome the problems, the new towns programme could be resuscitated. The programme may at present be a political failure which the Government is loath to admit. Further avoidance of the issues can only compound the failure. Detailed research and action are needed immediately.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Urban planning.
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: McCallum, Dr. Doug
Date of Award: 1979
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1979-74119
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2019 15:33
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 10:12
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.74119

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