Dr. Yaakov Sheinin
Photo: Uri Porat
Tel Aviv- the urban center of Israel
Photo: Lowshot

Israel to become a mega-city?

Experts believe Zionist vision of spreading out population to be replaced by megalopolis

Some architects and economists believe that the solution to the country's housing crisis is a new model that would see the Jewish state investing in one mega-city to encompass much of central Israel.


The experts say such model can create housing solutions for up to 10 million people without raising housing prices.


This model, known as  megalopolis, would see Israel turning into an urban city-state, similar to Singapore and Hong Kong. According to proposal, the entire area between Haifa in the north and Beersheba in the south will become a continuum of urban communities, moving agricultural lands to Negev and Galilee frontiers.


Supporters of this approach argue that such urban development will not harm the environment. Large, populated cities can include many wide parks and maintain them more effectively, these experts say. City parks, according to this approach, are more accessible to the public and make better open areas than forests and fields.


The megalopolis idea is also supported by the claim that Israel is too small and centralized to sustain more than one metropolitan center. A country of 21,000 square kilometers and 7.8 million people only needs one large city surrounded by suburbs and circled by agricultural land, argue the supporters.


The only reason this model is not realized is that Israelis still believe in the original Zionist vision of spreading out the population nationwide.


Economist Dr. Yaakov Sheinin, founder and CEO of Economic Models, compares Israel to London when arguing that there is no problem of urban crowdedness in Israel. The area between the shore and the Green Line, Hadera and Ashdod, is 1,400 square kilometers, the same as London and its suburbs, he says.


"Eight million people live in London within this area,"  Sheinin says. "Here only 3.5 million people live in the same area. It's not crowded."


According to Sheinin, the key to creating one large metropolitan is to develop a system of mass transport to allow fast and efficient movement from the suburbs to the center. Sheinin argues that although being a small country has many shortcomings, one important advantage is that everything is close.


"When the Americans speak of New York's suburbs they mean Connecticut. That's an hour train ride," he says. "If the train to Sderot was proper, the city would become a suburb of Tel Aviv."



  • Receive Ynetnews updates  directly to your desktop


פרסום ראשון: 05.12.12, 14:44
 new comment
This will delete your current comment