Workshop 4: The Kibbutz Communal Model and Its Recent Transformations

Israel’s 256 kibbutzim (plural of ‘kibbutz’, housing approx. 2% of the population) are the embodiment of a world-renowned social experiment in communal, egalitarian living. They have created model rural or quasi-rural communities (ranging in size from 200 to 1000 persons) where decision-making is fully participatory, land is nationally owned, local resources are communal, everyone receives the same personal income, the education system is of high quality and totally egalitarian, and public facilities are all shared. With few past precedents to draw on, the pioneering planners of the kibbutz developed a distinctive form of human settlement, where housing is uniform and modest but public space is ample and beautifully landscaped, without any fences or partitions.

However, in recent years, most kibbutzim have had to cope with deep-rooted social change, both inside their communities and in the broader society, as well as some surprising stumbling blocks from Israel’s Supreme Court. Trends of partial privatization and economic transformations are creating an array of new formats of modified communal living. These transformations pose unprecedented challenges to the existing land, housing and community planning systems.

In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to see first-hand how the kibbutz model has developed and what the kibbutz lifestyle looks like today. We will explore the early days of the movement, visit both quasi-privatized and traditional kibbutzim and meet with kibbutz members. Participants will explore, together with local professionals and decision makers, the tough legal and planning dilemmas that the kibbutz movement is currently facing.

Tentative schedule
8:30 am Departure from Haifa hotels
6-7 pm Return to Haifa hotels