Workshop 5: National Land Ownership and Israel’s “reverse” housing crisis

Workshop 5: National Land Ownership and Israel’s “reverse” housing crisis
Coordinated by: Professor Rachelle Alterman

A little-known aspect of Israel is that it is the only OECD country where most of the land is nationally owned and used not only for distinct public uses for all development purposes (see alterman 2007). This makes Israel a globally relevant laboratory for the relationship between land ownership and housing policy. At the same time, Israeli households are suffering from skyrocketing prices of housing (the main reason for the huge “occupy Tel Aviv” protests of 2011).

Our workshop events will be held in a medium-size, typical Israeli city. The city will represent a mosaic of Israel’s Jewish population: working-class and middle-income households alongside new-immigrant Ethiopian and Russian communities. The town is located on the outer fringe of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area along the coastline (thus also depicting key environmental issues).

The city has both private land (developed long ago) and some nationally owned land, some already built up and some currently under development. The city is would be a wonderful “observatory” for viewing the evolution of Israel’s once enviable housing policies for new immigrants and young households. How effective is public land ownership today? and what are its positive, and negative impacts? What solutions would you propose for Israel’s “reverse’ housing crisis of skyscraping prices? Is national land ownership a bridge for social disparities?

The workshop offer site visits in neighborhoods with different ethnic and socio-economic profiles and different types of housing tenure. The day-long workshop will include discussions with community housing activists (part of Israel’s vibrant civil society), professionals and local elected officials, representatives of the Israel Ministry of Construction and Housing, and Israel Lands Authority.

Lunch and refreshments will be hosted.

Tentative schedule
8:15am Departure from Haifa hotels
9:00am Tel Aviv pick-up (if there is enough demand)
Local workshop meetings and site visits throughout the day
End: leave 5.30 pm; return to Haifa by 6.30-7.00