Photo: EPA
Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat
Photo: EPA

Jerusalem 2020: A vision for the future

Op-ed: Imagine a city that is not just the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and a holy place for billions of Muslims and Christians, but a thriving industrial and artistic hub.

Imagine that you have arrived in Jerusalem of 2020. You set out from the train station after a 28 minute journey from the center of Israel to the heart of a new industrial complex at the entrance to Jerusalem. This complex is five times the size of Tel Aviv's Azrieli towers, and employs thousands of workers. From there, you hop onto a train on the new light rail line, the most advanced in the country, which stretches across the city.



You head for the international sports complex at Malha - complete with a renovated Teddy stadium, Israel's most developed arena, an impressive Olympic swimming pool and a tennis center for international competitions. En route, you pass through the center of the bustling city, which has become the most accessible in the country.


The OId City of Jerusalem, a cultural hotspot (Photo: Israel Bardugo)
The OId City of Jerusalem, a cultural hotspot (Photo: Israel Bardugo)


You can enjoy an afternoon siesta on the lake at Gazelle Valley, an enormous nature reserve in the heart of the city, or in one of the huge parks around the city.


The parks are accessible along the bike paths, running through the Mesila Park and onto seven different neighborhoods. If the sun is strong, you can hop over to "the Sea of Jerusalem "- the Middle East's largest aquarium, located at the Biblical Zoo - and stroll among the turtles and the sharks.


And in the evening? You can watch a movie in one of the city's popular movie complexes, which was obviously filmed at one of the giant studios we have built in the city, or eat at one of the restaurants that gave Jerusalem its world-famous culinary reputation.


You can also visit the international cultural festival in the Old City, which welcomes millions of visitors from all over the world, or watch an excellent performance by Jerusalem's artists, which we support through a special fund.


More and more young families, industrialists, artists, academics and government officials are making their home in Jerusalem. Jerusalem has already seen a rise the number of pupils in public education, and opened dozens of new kindergartens and schools every year.


But the trend does not end there. Many high-tech and biomed companies have already made their home in the capital, and the number is expected to rise further. Hundreds of entrepreneurs and start-ups are arriving in the city every year, creating hundreds of high quality jobs in the city. This is no dream, this is reality!


Michael Bloomberg. Working for Jerusalem's future (Photo: GPO)
Michael Bloomberg. Working for Jerusalem's future (Photo: GPO)


To realize this vision, we brought in some of the leading experts in their fields: Professor Michael Porter, Professor Richard Florida and my friend Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York. Together we formulated a strategic plan for the city's next five years, which laid out the direction for Jerusalem and its character by 2020.


In five years' time, Jerusalem will be an urban gem, a magnet for the world's greatest minds and most productive intellectuals, and a pilgrimage site for millions in Israel and around the world.


Academic institutions in Jerusalem, which even today are the leaders in Israel and around the world, providing generations of engineers, researchers, developers and entrepreneurs, who will lead the technology world in the coming years.


This winning combination will transform Jerusalem into an academic, scientific and technological hub within five years. Jerusalem, with its diversity of people, is more than any other city a fertile ground for creativity and entrepreneurship.


In the coming years we will provide the foundation to develop a creative economy and allow innovation to thrive in every corner of Jerusalem.


Billions of people around the world will strive to visit, and experience 3,000 years of history combined with an innovative city that has reinvented itself. For Jerusalem is not just a city - is the heart and soul of the Jewish people. Its success is a source of pride for all Israelis.


Nir Barkat is the mayor of Jerusalem.


פרסום ראשון: 05.17.15, 19:09
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