The planning scene in the 21st century is characterized by rapid transformation and upheavals. Countries with a long tradition of multi-tiered planning systems have seen their planning systems overhauled in the past decade. Through the Israeli case, a country with a highly centralized planning system, I examine the dynamics of such a transformation. These dynamics are an outcome of multi-dimensional struggles at several levels: between four advocacy coalitions, between elected officials and planners, between the central government and local governments, and between epistemic communities. In Israel the economic advocacy coalition and elected officials have utilized a policy window opened by the hike in housing prices since 2008 to frame the issue as a supply-side story line whereby planning obstructs the supply of housing thereby causing the price hike. On this basis, a series of actions were undertaken fragmenting the planning system, changing the power structures within the planning system and limiting the purview of planning commissions. To this end, and utilizing the relative advantage of the economic coalition and elected officials at the legislature, ‘emergency’ legislation was pushed through and the composition of planning bodies were altered. The cumulative outcome of these actions is a shift in power toward elected officials at the national level, at the expense of planners, civil society and local government. These actions had implications also for the content of planning - toward silo planning, driven mainly by economic considerations (largely developers’ profitability), at the expense of comprehensive planning and sustainability considerations.
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- Advocacy coalitions
- Planning committees
- Silo planning