Sustainable Urbanism going National

The city of Akko.Photo : Sivan Arbel

The Akko (Acre) Convention on Urbanism, held on17-19 November, was the preliminary response to UN HABITAT – the global agency responsible for Human shelter and habitat - for all its members to develop and implement a national urban policy.

The UN call is doubly relevant for Israel as despite the fact that more than 91% of its residents already live in urban areas it has not formed a national urban policy to address this issue.  Through SPNI’s Community Branches and Urban Nature Department we are actively making Israel’s cities better places to live.

The convention brought together an array of stakeholders from diverse disciplines and sectors in an attempt to develop a public discourse that will result in a profound national policy.

During the convention the Israeli Forum for Urbanism was launched by: representatives from several municipalities, the Ministry of Housing and Construction, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Planning Authority, Universities and leading NGOs such as SPNI. , joining forces towards Habitat III, the UN conference on Sustainable Urban Development that will take place in Ecuador during October 2016.

The forum’s mission is to produce a paper addressing urbanism policy in Israel from the national perspective, for the first time this comprehensive document will include the public’s voice and interests.

SPNI's stand at the convention. Photo: Pazit Shweid

Several discussions at the convention were led by SPNI’s experts such as Pazit Shweid, Head of Urban Communities and Urban Activities who also participated at the convention’s steering committee and Amir Balaban, head of Urban Nature Department.

Along with other SPNI professionals they underlined the importance of incorporating nature in the urban environment as a means to improve the quality of life and cater to a fundamental human need. 

SPNI will be a substantial contributor in the ongoing process sharing our professional knowledge of cultivating urban nature, protecting open spaces and ecological corridors around urban areas, supporting urban sustainability and stressing the importance of keeping the natural landscape at the core of urban planning.